June 12th, 2020

Episode 30 - Victoria Bagnell

Executive Functioning

Do you have a child for whom there is a disconnect between level of intelligence and academic performance? Do you have a teen who has issues with time management, who can’t get up in the morning? Maybe you’ve even got a young adult who is struggling now that the scaffolding of school has been taken away and they’re trying to manage on their own at university. Do you have a child with a diagnosis of ADD or ADHD or any other neurodiverse condition? Chances are he has executive function challenges. 

To function in the 21st century with everything we’re juggling we need to have finely tuned executive functions; we need to be able to manage our time, to control our emotions and we have to keep track of our belongings. Just now when everyone has been having to adapt to lockdown and deal with anxiety we’ve had to call on cognitive flexibility and we’ve had to really reign in our limbic systems. We need to slow down and give ourselves a break and let our executive functions help us out.

Victoria Bagnall is an education professional passionate about improving opportunities for people with executive function challenges. She is the Co-Founder and Managing Director of Connections in Mind. She has recently launched an online learning platform www.cimlearning.com as part of her EVOLVING MINDS, EVOLVING TIMES initiative. 

As a dyslexic Victoria was challenged with her executive functions and so her mission to help with this is a personal one. She trained as a teacher and then in SEN teaching. Victoria is also a mum of 3.

Listen to this episode with Victoria if you want to learn:

  • What executive functioning is and how it operates like an air traffic control system for our brains, being responsible for executing tasks all day and controlling our instinctual responses to the world
  • What is grit or goal directed persistence or resilience
  • How executive functioning can help with organising thoughts on paper and writing essays
  • How before neuroscience had really developed in this area deficiencies in output were attributed to character flaws like laziness or not being willing to try
  • What are the signs of challenges with executive functioning – eg differences between verbal abilities and what the child can get down on paper
  • How academic challenges can really affect a child’s identity
  • Where executive function challenges come from and what role environmental factors like sleep, nutrition and stress levels have
  • What parents can do to help children with EF challenges like initiating a task and sustaining attention
    • Task initiation difficulty can be to do with fear of exposing a lack of ability so parents can help a child feel more relaxed about failures
    • What role routines and expectations play
    • Being able to sustain attention is to do with motivation and parents can help to motivate their children through breaking tasks down and using rewards and acknowledgments and using praise effectively (see TPP’s module on DP in our positive parenting courses)
  • How important it is to give children autonomy in developing EF. 

Victoria really recommends Smart but Scattered Teens by Richard Guare PhDPeg Dawson EdD, and Colin Guare

Victoria finishes with a very profound tip for parents in raising happy and successful children, whether they’ve got EF issues or not. She also shares a Surprising Uplifting Moment with us as she has turned to gardening to cope with the stresses of lockdown and what she has learnt from that.

 Links: 

www.connectionsinmind.co.uk

New online learning platform www.cimlearning.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/connectionsinmind/

Linked in:  www.linkedin.com/company/connections-in-mind-ltd. 

Have a look at Victoria’s free questionnaire about executive functioning together with some suggestions for what to do about it.

Parents https://su.vc/executivefunction
Children https://s.surveyanyplace.com/dczybljg

Posted in: ADHD , Time management

 

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