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Gap Analysis/Executive Function
Theoretical construct to help researchers think about how the brain actually works.
Background information - Theoretical Models, etc. (Wikipedia - Executive Function)
Loosely group into the following areas: goal formation, planning, goal-directed action, self-monitoring, attention, response inhibition, and coordination of complex cognition and motor control for effective performance. Difficulties in these areas are implicated in various disorders/disabilites.(Wikipedia - Executive Dysfunction)
- Inhibition - The ability to stop one's own behavior at the appropriate time, including stopping actions and thoughts. The flip side of inhibition is impulsivity; if you have weak ability to stop yourself from acting on your impulses, then you are "impulsive."
- Shift - The ability to move freely from one situation to another and to think flexibly in order to respond appropriately to the situation (
- Emotional Control - The ability to modulate emotional responses by bringing rational thought to bear on feelings. (tolerate frustration)
- Initiation - The ability to begin a task or activity and to independently generate ideas, responses, or problem-solving strategies (also, ability to finish)
- Working memory - The capacity to hold information in mind for the purpose of completing(/performing) a task
- Planning/Organization - The ability to manage current and future- oriented task demands.
- Organization of Materials - The ability to impose order on work, play, and storage spaces.
- Self-Monitoring - The ability to monitor one's own performance and to measure it against some standard of what is needed or expected.
Functional implications of executive function disorder
Trouble with the following:
- Estimating and visualizing outcomes;
- Analyzing sights, sounds, and physical sensory information;
- Perceiving and estimating time, distance, and force;
- Anticipating consequences;
- Mentally evaluating possible outcomes of different problem-solving strategies;
- Ability to choose actions based on the likelihood of positive outcomes;
- Choosing the most appropriate action based on social expectations and norms; and
- Performing tasks necessary to carry out decisions.
- difficulty planning and completing projects;
- problems understanding how long a project will take to complete; (jim-author task - estimated time to complete form, application, etc.)
- struggling with telling a story in the right sequence with important details and minimal irrelevant details;
- trouble communicating details in an organized, sequential manner;
- problems initiating activities or tasks, or generating ideas independently; and
- difficulty retaining information while doing something with it such as remembering a phone number while dialing.
Strategies to over-come or manage deficits:
- Give clear step-by-step instructions with visual organizational aids. (jim-author task)
- Be as explicit as possible with instructions. (jim-author task)
- Use visual models and hands-on activities when possible. (jim -perhaps videos or audio)
- Take step-by-step approaches to work; rely on visual organizational aids.
- Use tools like time organizers, computers or watches with alarms.
- Prepare visual schedules and review them several times a day.
- Ask for written directions with oral instructions whenever possible.
- Plan and structure transition times and shifts in activities.
- Create checklists and “to do” lists, estimating how long tasks will take.
- Break long assignments into chunks and assign time frames for completing each chunk.
- Use visual calendars at to keep track of long term assignments, due dates, chores and activities.
- Use management software such as the Franklin Day Planner, Palm Pilot or Lotus Organizer.
- Be sure to write the due date on top of each assignment.
Managing Space and Materials
- Organize work space.
- Minimize clutter.
- Consider having separate work areas with complete sets of supplies for different activities.
- Schedule a weekly time to clean and organize the work space.
- Make a checklist for getting through assignments. For example, a student’s checklist could include such items as: get out pencil and paper; put name on paper; put due date on paper; read directions; etc.
- Meet with a teacher or supervisor on a regular basis to review work; troubleshoot problems.
- Executive Function Dysfunction: The Newest “Learning Disability”
- What Is Executive Function?
- Wikipedia - Executive Functions
- Executive Function Fact Sheet
- Wikipedia - Executive Dysfunction
- What Is Executive Functioning?
- [http://trace.wisc.edu/docs/comp_screen_interfaces_96/comp_screen_interfaces.htm Computer & screen-based interfaces: Universal design filter (Ellen Francik - 1996)
- Telecommunications Problems and Design Strategies for People with Cognitive Disabilities (PDF) - (Francik, et al 1999)
- Designing for Cognitive Disabilities
- Developing sites for users with Cognitive disabilities and learning difficulties