Executive Functions are the cogs behind cognition

Victoria Bagnall at the Dyslexia Show 2022
Victoria Bagnall

Last weekend I was fortunate enough to attend Victoria Bagnall‘s Executive Functions are the cogs behind cognition: Neuroplasticity, Dyslexia and Neurodiversity live talk at The Dyslexia Show at the NEC Birmingham. It was such a pleasure to hear her speak live on a subject that she is so passionate and vocal about and one that means so much to my pupils and me personally. 

If you aren’t aware of the phrase Executive Functioning, it has little to do with being a corporate executive and all to do with how our brains can self regulate all that we need to do in our lives, such as: 
– Pay attention
– Remember things
– Organise tasks
– Manage time
– Think creatively
– Regulate our emotions
– Manage our impulses

Being Neurodiverse means that, in effect, the control dials in our brains aren’t calibrated in quite the same way. This means that we tend to either under or overreact with our actions, and each of the eleven Executive Function Skills can cause us varying difficulties at any one time. 

The eleven Executive Functions
The eleven Executive Functions

It is interesting to recognise that the same person can experience different issues with each of the EFs, given what else is going on in their lives. Stress, exercise, sleep and nutrition all play a part in messing with EFs. 

For me, my working memory, emotional control, and response inhibition cause me issues. Whereas my hyperfocus and therefore sustained attention, goal-directed persistence, and creative ideas are most definitely my strengths. Being Neurodiverse does make me different, but it also gives me the edge in certain areas. As long as I am aware of my Executive Function issues and can put strategies to support me in place, I can still thrive. 

Executive Functions are at the root of Neurodiversity, and the more you can learn about them, the better you can support yourself or others who are Neurodiverse. Do look at Victoria’s organisation Connections in Mind or https://connectionsinmind.com/ for more information for yourself, as a parent or as an educator.

#executivefunction #neurdiversity #dyslexia #dyscalculia #adhd #autism

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