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Importance of Executive Functions

A lot of parents will ask me, Why am I hearing so much about these executive functions now. I explain to them that delays in executive functioning have been around forever. The part of the brain where these functions from which they come is evolutionarily the newest part of the brain. So it's very vulnerable to anything that doesn't go well, developmentally, very perinatally at birth. But largely it's a genetic thing.

So why is it such a big issue now? Well, the first thing is, never in human history, I believe, has there been so many goodies are dopamine, dopamine availability from our environment. So if I go back to my childhood, I played baseball, I played some football, went outside and played with my friends, and that's where I mostly got my dopamine shots from, but now with everyone having a cell phone, the internet, we're just completely surrounded by things that are distracting us through these dopamine heads. Never in human history has it been so hard for kids to stay focused, to stay planful and to manage time when they were being distracted by everything around us.

And the second thing is, I believe never in human history have we ask so much of our kids The kids here in the high school read The Odyssey in ninth grade. That's a college level text. So we're asking kids to do more with their minds than we've ever asked them to do in the past.

There's this confluence between these two things that are kind of coming together is making it very challenging for our kids to keep up in school. This is one of the reasons why I developed HeadWorks. These kids are being required to have these skills in school, but no one's directly teaching them how to do it. The kids at the upper quartile, they don't need any support in this regard. The kids at the bottom quartile, they've definitely been identified and they're being supported. It's those 50% of kids in the middle the who don't have a diagnosis that are really slipping through the cracks, and they're very much struggling with these two issues.

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