Executive Functioning and the Teenage Brain

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Overview

Teenagers are both incredibly delightful and “occasionally” frustrating.  At some point, in fact, we were once teenagers too. While that news may not be new to you, why teenagers behave they way they do is, indeed, news to many of us.  Recent research has helped create a significant body of study and literature that explains the developmental phases our teens go through.  This course brings those new understandings to you and helps you to navigate the labyrinth of emotions, developmental differences and entertainment we often call “the teenage brain.”

Reasons for signing up for this class will vary, but one of these might fit you:

  • You have a teenager yourself,
  • You are a middle school or high school teacher,
  • Have heard this term “executive functioning” over and over again and are interested to know what it actually is
  • Are curious about why teenagers act the way they do.

Learning Outcomes

  1. The teenage brain and how it is not actually fully developed yet.
  2. Understanding the frontal lobe or “The CEO of the brain.”
  3. The role executive functioning and how the frontal lobe controls it.
  4. Moving from theory to practice and employing strategies to help students improve their executive functioning skills

Readings

flipboard

Keep up with the latest readings for the course.  Updated on a regular basis with new articles.

Course FlipBoard (Free)

 

 

Executive Function 101

Executive Function 101 is a free e-book from founding partner the National Center for Learning Disabilities. Download the e-book to find out what executive function is and how it impacts kids with learning and attention issues. This e-book also includes an illustration of a day in the life of a child with executive functioning issues.

Download Executive Function 101 (Free)

Pick One

smartbutscattered

If you’re the parent of a “smart but scattered” teen, trying to help him or her grow into a self-sufficient, responsible adult may feel like a never-ending battle. Now you have an alternative to micromanaging, cajoling, or ineffective punishments. This positive guide provides a science-based program for promoting teens’ independence by building their executive skills–the fundamental brain-based abilities needed to get organized, stay focused, and control impulses and emotions. Executive skills experts Drs. Richard Guare and Peg Dawson are joined by Colin Guare, a young adult who has successfully faced these issues himself. Learn step-by-step strategies to help your teen live up to his or her potential now and in the future–while making your relationship stronger. Helpful worksheets and forms can be downloaded and printed in a convenient 8 1/2″ x 11″ size.    This book is aimed at teenagers.

Link to Amazon

smart-but-scattered-guide-to-success

Are you smart, scattered, and struggling? You’re not alone. Cutting-edge research shows that today’s 24/7 wired world and the growing demands of work and family life may simply max out the part of the brain that manages complex tasks. That’s especially true for those lacking strong executive skills/m-/the core brain-based abilities needed to maintain focus, meet deadlines, and stay cool under pressure. In this essential guide, leading experts Peg Dawson and Richard Guare help you map your own executive skills profile and take effective steps to boost your organizational skills, time management, emotional control, and nine other essential capacities. The book is packed with science-based strategies and concrete examples, plus downloadable practical tools for creating your own personalized action plan. Whether on the job or at home, you can get more done with less stress. This book is aimed at adults.

Link to Amazon

ExecutiveskillsConcise and practitioner friendly, this bestselling guide has helped put executive skills on the map for school-based clinicians and educators. The book explains how these critical cognitive processes develop and why they play such a key role in children’s behavior and school performance. Provided are step-by-step guidelines and many practical tools to promote executive skill development by implementing environmental modifications, individualized instruction, coaching, and whole-class interventions. In a large-size format with convenient lay-flat binding, the book includes more than two dozen reproducible assessment tools, checklists, and planning sheets. Purchasers get access to a Web page where they can download and print the reproducible materials. This book is aimed at a variety of ages.

Link to Amazon

SmartbutscatteredoverviewThere’s nothing more frustrating than watching your bright, talented son or daughter struggle with everyday tasks like finishing homework, putting away toys, or following instructions at school. Your “smart but scattered” 4- to 13-year-old might also have trouble coping with disappointment or managing anger. Drs. Peg Dawson and Richard Guare have great news: there’s a lot you can do to help. The latest research in child development shows that many kids who have the brain and heart to succeed lack or lag behind in crucial “executive skills”–the fundamental habits of mind required for getting organized, staying focused, and controlling impulses and emotions. Learn easy-to-follow steps to identify your child’s strengths and weaknesses, use activities and techniques proven to boost specific skills, and problem-solve daily routines. Helpful worksheets and forms can be downloaded and printed in a convenient 8 1/2″ x 11″ size. Small changes can add up to big improvements–this empowering book shows how. This book is aimed at a variety of ages.

Link to Amazon

 

roundtheclock

 

Lessons

Lesson One: Introduce Yourself

Author: Lori Boll

Who Are You? Please take a few minutes to leave a comment below. Introduce yourself to the instructor (me) and other students who are, or will be, taking this course.

Who Are You?

Please take a few minutes to leave a comment below. Introduce yourself to the instructor (me) and other students who are, or will be, taking this course.

Lesson Two: The Teenage Brain (Free Preview)

Author: Lori Boll

Why is this happening? How can students have skills and then suddenly seem to lose them? Why is your daughter happy one minute and crying hysterically the next? Or, why does your son lock himself in his room for hours at a time playing video games?

Why is this happening? How can students have skills and then suddenly seem to lose them? Why is your daughter happy one minute and crying hysterically the next? Or, why does your son lock himself in his room for hours at a time playing video games?

Lesson Four: Difficulties with Executive Functioning Skills (Free Preview)

Author: Lori Boll

We all have our strengths and challenges when it comes to our executive skills, but what happens when there are difficulties beyond the normal challenges? Remember when children were diagnosed with ADHD before?

We all have our strengths and challenges when it comes to our executive skills, but what happens when there are difficulties beyond the normal challenges? Remember when children were diagnosed with ADHD before?

Lesson Five: School-wide support (Free Preview)

Author: Lori Boll

So far we have learned that everyone has some challenges with executive skills and that teenagers, in particular, can struggle due to the enormous surge of growth of neurons and synapses that happen during this time

So far we have learned that everyone has some challenges with executive skills and that teenagers, in particular, can struggle due to the enormous surge of growth of neurons and synapses that happen during this time

Lesson Six: Book Reflection (Free Preview)

Author: Lori Boll

At this point you chosen one of the books from the Smart But Scattered series and have fully or partially read it. Right? ;-) If not, take some time to finish up the book before jumping into the assignment below.

At this point you chosen one of the books from the Smart But Scattered series and have fully or partially read it. Right? ;-) If not, take some time to finish up the book before jumping into the assignment below.

Lesson Seven: Integration Paper and Course Survey (Free Preview)

Author: Lori Boll

The final task is a reflection assignment. This is required for university graduate credit. In addition, there is a short survey about the course. Your views really help us to improve our work here and we are thankful for your time.

The final task is a reflection assignment. This is required for university graduate credit. In addition, there is a short survey about the course. Your views really help us to improve our work here and we are thankful for your time.