At Connections in Mind, one of the struggles we have come across is the lack of awareness about executive functions, the science behind them and how they impact on learning and mental health. To recap – executive functions are the group of complex mental processes and cognitive abilities (such as working memory, impulse inhibition, and reasoning) that control the skills (such as organising tasks, remembering details, managing time, and solving problems) required for goal-directed behaviour.
These are skills we need to flourish in life and poor executive functions can negatively impact on academic achievement, emotional functioning, and job outcomes (Alloway & Alloway, 2010 ; Miller, Nevado‐Montenegro, & Hinshaw, 2012; Snyder, 2013.
We want to dedicate time and effort to: raising awareness with parents and schools; evaluating approaches to strengthen children and young people’s executive function skills; and initiating innovative projects with children and young people from all backgrounds. We think that launching a charity is the best vehicle for us to be able to achieve these aims
What We Will Focus On
Children’s relationships and interactions with their parents and caregivers can impact on the development of these skills and the home environment of children can be viewed as a mediator of the relations between the socio-economic conditions of families and children’s executive function development (Finegood & Blair, 2017).
We are acutely aware of the connections between poor executive function development and low socio-economic status (Fernald, Weber, Galasso, & Ratsifandrihamanana, 2011) ; (Hackman, Gallop, Evans, & Farah, 2015); (Haft S. L. & Hoeft F.2017)
When the home environment is negatively impacted by poverty, this can affect the levels of stress in the home and quality of interactions between parents and children. Therefore working with schools, families, children and young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to improve their executive function skills will be an area of priority for us.