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I was asked about what the difference was between Executive functioning, Laziness, and Obstinance.
As a parent these are things that we are constantly questioning and learning about. As a mom of a child who has special needs and who can't communicate like you and I, this is something that I have to be extremely in tune with.
Does it mean I get it right all the time? Of course not. But, I thought this would be a good thing to discuss as every parent is faced with trying to figure out what is what, throughout the younger part of their child's life.
There will be a few different parts/blogs to cover these subjects as we go through them. So let's start with executive functioning.
The mind and body connection. This is a powerful thing that we sometimes take for granted. We usually use it without much thought because most of what we do has been learned and becomes muscle memory. You could also call it a brain pathway that was formed long ago. When we become more aware of the mind body connection is when we feel out of touch, down, disconnected somehow or we are learning something completely new.
Taking Action, from what was first a thought, is more complicated than you think. Amazingly our brains calculate this so fast that we don't even realize that it is happening. Have you ever seen someone who has had a stroke, brain injury or even someone who has special needs, try to relearn or learn something for the first time? This is when the mind body connection becomes so clear, especially when it comes to executive functions.
What is Executive Function?
- Executive function describes a set of cognitive processes and mental skills that help an individual plan, monitor, and successfully execute their goals. The "executive functions," as they're known, include attentional control, working memory, inhibition, and problem-solving, many of which are thought to originate in the brain's prefrontal cortex.
An example of some simple steps are:
- You are presented with something (i.e. you see a toy on the floor that doesn't belong there). Usually an action that needs to be acted upon.
- Your brain then calculates what your body needs to do to meet the needs of that action. (i.e. pick up the toy = bend down -> extend arm -> extend fingers -> grasp fingers around toy -> etc.)
- Your brain then sends the message to your body.
- Your body can then act the way it needs to, to fulfill the action/need.
Sometimes the executive function can be inhibited. Here are some things that can inhibit executive functions:
- Traumas (physical, emotional, mental)
- Mental blocks
- Mind body disconnection
- Emotional blocks
- Lack of nutrition
Executive function ties into being able to motor plan. If you have a child who has special needs this is a term you are very familiar with.
Keeping the elasticity of your brain so that the executive functions of your brain can better serve you is key. Creating neuro pathways can take at the least 21 days to years depending on the severity of the brain injury, mental blocks or the disconnect between mind and body that can hold someone back.
Priming the brain emotionally and physically can help with improving the executive function. Kinesthetic Learning, Tactile Learning, Emotional/Mental Transposing Learning all go hand in hand.
Kinesthetic learning is what you do physically to oxygenate your blood and brain. Getting your body moving is the best. Going on a 10 minute brisk walk or practicing your balance. For children, doing the animal walks is a great way to connect the mind and body and prime it for learning.
Tactile learning is the next step after oxygenating the blood and brain. Activating the brain through your sense of touch. Playing with playdough, silly putty, hand strengthening putty or something along those lines will activate the brain to start receiving information.
Emotional/mental learning is having the correct affirmation and emotional/mental supporting essential oil on hand. Some of my favorites are lavender to keep me calm, cedarwood applied to left thumb (Helps with traumas/blocks to learning certain subjects), a blended oil called valor and another blended oil called Brain Power (kids version is called Geneyus).
To Be Continued... (next up: Laziness)
HERE is the link to the essential oils I mentioned above if you are interested in trying them out yourself. -Yohanna
Get your copy of our emotional booklet designed to support communication and understanding between parents and their children: