Patti Blasco, Ph.D., lead author of "The Little Brain That Could: Understanding Executive Function in Early Childhood"
September 12, 2014
The Little Brain That Could: Understanding Executive Function in Early Childhood
Published in Young Exceptional Children - the Official Journal of the Division for Early Childhood of the Council for Exceptional Children, Patricia M. Blasco Ph.D., Sage Saxton Psy.D., and Mary Gerrie, MA, MS
Retrospective research studies have shown that a young child’s developmental trajectory will be impacted when Executive Function (EF) skills are not strengthened and deficits are not addressed. Improving outcomes by targeting EF skills in the preschool years has the potential of buffering or ameliorating EF deficits before school-age. Professionals and families would benefit from an understanding of EF for children with known disabilities as well as for children who may have areas of concern. Although much more research and evidenced-based practices are needed across developmental disabilities in young children, it is hoped that with early practice and experience EF skills can be improved in young children as these abilities are an essential component of school readiness.
"As in the story of the 'Little Engine That Could' (Piper, 1954), with scaffolding and resources, young children can attempt difficult tasks through planning and setting goals. Professionals and parents can be the team reminding the child 'I think I can, I think I can,' until he or she reaches 'I know I can!' This story parallels the important journey during the preschool years as the child develops and integrates [Executive Function] capacity.
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