How Scaffolding Helps Build Executive Function Skills

Do you talk to parents about executive function? Many parents are not familiar with this term. The executive function (EF) skill set acts as a coordination center in the brain and depends on three main functions: working memory, mental flexibility, and inhibition control. 1 These crucial skills are needed to perform daily tasks, such as prioritizing, controlling impulses, filtering distractions, and accomplishing goals. Issues with executive function in children may look like:

  • Trouble with organization
  • Struggling with time management
  • Difficulty with open-ended assignments or tasks and trouble starting tasks by themselves
  • Inability to complete assignments efficiently
  • Difficulty with memorizing or remembering rules2
  • Impulsivity1

Executive function involves goal-directed behavior that not only influences success in academic achievement and daily activities, but it influences success later in life through job skills, social skills, and independent living skills.3 If a child is having issues with executive function, it is important to intervene early in order to give this child every opportunity for success.

It is important to understand that children are not born with these skills, but they’re born with the potential to develop them.1 Adults aid in the development of a child’s executive function skills in various ways including: establishing routines, demonstrating social behavior, guiding children through modeling the use of executive function skills, and maintaining supportive, stable relationships.1 If parents notice executive function issues, they should begin intervention by making adaptations at home. Using charts, checklists, and schedules on a daily basis helps children build a routine and accomplish goals. Examples of home interventions include but are not limited to the following:

  • For homework time: Set a specific time each day after school when the child will begin homework and designate a distraction-free area. This will help establish a routine and allow the child to focus on the tasks each day.
  • For managing the day: Teach the child to use a daily agenda planner to promote organization.
  • For getting ready for school: Create a morning routine with visual cues and reminders for each step of the process, such as brushing teeth, combing hair, putting on each layer of clothing, tying shoes, etc.
  • For remembering instructions: Create a mnemonic to help with recalling multi-step instructions.4

Along with adaptations to daily activities, parents should also use scaffolding as a method to teach their children and guide them through tasks. Scaffolding is a learning technique in which the adult relinquishes control of a task to the child over time. The effectiveness of scaffolding hinges on the contingency rule: when the child struggles, the adult should increase the level of support provided, and when the child succeeds, the adult should gradually decrease the level of support.5 Scaffolding allows parents to adjust their support based on the child’s needs. For example, when teaching a child to brush their teeth independently, parents can use scaffolding to help their child achieve this daily skill. The parent may first start by brushing the child’s teeth for them and then slowly decrease their amount of help over time, from being prompted with cues to complete independence.

While scaffolding and daily home adaptations are effective beginning steps for early intervention at home, clinical intervention may be necessary if improvements are not seen. For a diagnosis, refer your patients to a neuropsychologist or a child psychologist. For ongoing treatment, you should refer patients to occupational therapists or speech therapists. Occupational therapists and speech therapists will work on the underlying issues with the child that are preventing the child from developing healthy executive function skills, as well as, work with the child and family to develop specific strategies that will most benefit the child.

 

1 Executive Function & Self-Regulation. Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University.
https://developingchild.harvard.edu/science/key-concepts/executive-function/. Accessed October 26, 2017.

2 Morin A. 9 Terms to Know If Your Child struggles With Executive Functioning Issues. National Center for Learning Disabilities. www.ncld.org. Accessed November 6, 2017.

3 Anderson M, Brydges CR, Fox AM, Reid CL. A unitary executive function predicts intelligence in children. Intelligence. 2012; 40(5):458-469. doi: 10.1016/j.intell.2012.05.006

4 Executive Function Interventions. Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. http://www.chop.edu/centers-programs/executive-function-consultation-education-and-skills-excel-clinic/interventions. Accessed November 8, 2017.

5 Mermelshtine R. Parent-child learning interactions: A review of the literature on scaffolding. British Journal of Educational Psychology. 2017; 87(2):241-254. doi:10.1111/bjep.12147

Shop to Help Pathways.org

Help Pathways.org by shopping on Amazon Smile.

Do you shop on Amazon? What about Amazon Smile? In 2013, Amazon Smile launched and it is the same great website, but adds a charitable twist. Amazon will donate .5% of all purchases made on Amazon Smile to a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit at no additional cost to the shopper.

Now you can shop and help Pathways.org at the same time! Next time you shop at Amazon Smile, select Pathways Foundation as your preferred charity and we will receive a gift!

  1. Go to “Your Account”
  2. Click “Change Your Charity”
  3. Then use the search feature to find Pathways Foundation

Visit Amazon Smile today and your purchases will help impact the life of a child.
Don’t worry– Amazon Smile works with Prime too!

Shop to help Pathways.org

New Baby Milestone Videos

Want to See an Example of Baby’s Developmental Milestones?

Watch examples of baby’s developmental milestones here! Pathways.org has created milestone videos showing what milestones should look like. Baby milestone videos are separated by age and topics of development. They begin at birth and continue to 6 months old, and illustrate some of the early motor, sensory and communication milestones. Check out the video clips and compare your baby’s movements and actions to the baby in the video.  You can also find these educational and informative videos on related age pages.

First Year Baby Milestones playlist

Or find individual ages and topics below!

Watch Baby Milestone Videos: 

0-3 Month
Motor Milestones
0-3 Month
Sensory Milestones
0-3 Month
Communication Milestones

0-3 Month
Feeding Milestones
4-6 Month
Motor Milestones
4-6 Month
Sensory Milestones

 

4-6 Month Communication Milestones
4-6 Month
Feeding Milestones

 

 

Or see all our videos on our Video Page

Pathways.org is a 501(c)(3) Not For Profit that relies on donors like you to help us create new FREE material.  This material helps parents and health professionals around the world!
Donate Today to help us create more great info like these milestone videos

 

Mindfulness to Improve Children’s Wellbeing

As more children adopt demanding schedules with increased academic work loads and an abundance of extracurricular activities, some react by showing signs of increased stress and anxiety.1 Our academic system has accelerated so children are now expected to complete school work previously given to children in higher grade levels. Early education has become less play focused and children receive a more academically rigorous curriculum. This change is evident by the amount of time children spend preparing for 3rd grade exams that measure performance in math and reading.  On average, 77% kindergarteners received 90 minutes of daily reading instruction in 2010 whereas only 32% received daily reading instruction in 1998.2 With increased academic demands and busy schedules, children may need to take an intentional break in the day to relax and recharge. The practice of mindfulness is quickly gaining recognition as an activity to help children manage feelings of stress and anxiety. Continue reading

Feeding Difficulties in Infants with Tongue Tie and Lip Tie

Ankyloglossia, also known as tongue tie, is a congenital condition that can affect infants and children due to having a short lingual frenulum that restricts tongue movement and impacts the function of the tongue. The incidence of tongue tie affects at least 4% of infants and is most commonly diagnosed in males by a 2-3:1 predominance.1 Around 50% of infants with ankyloglossia experience feeding difficulties because of the condition.2Continue reading

Helping Families Choose Age-Appropriate Extracurricular Activities

Many parents encourage their children to become involved in extracurricular activities as a way to promote their development. Extracurricular activities help children develop motor skills and improve physical fitness, while also building their cognitive and social skills, all of which can enhance children’s sense of wellbeing.1 To help children receive the most benefits from extracurricular activity involvement physically, emotionally, and socially, they should participate in the right amount of activity for their age level and abilities. Adults facilitating children’s extracurricular activities can learn how to make the activity more developmentally friendly and recognize when it may not be appropriate for a child. Continue reading

Bulletin Items for Inclusion Awareness Day

An Inclusion Awareness Day event is one way to focus on welcoming worshippers of all abilities. Please consider hosting an Inclusion Awareness Sunday celebration on the second weekend in October or another week in the year.

Celebrating the unique gifts of all members helps create a stronger and more inclusive faith community.

The following series of items can be used in bulletins, on websites or in newsletters to help spread awareness about how to help to create a more inclusive environment.

Click on the bulletin item to enlarge, then right-click and select Save image as… to save the file to your computer.

Bulletin Item 1

Inclusion Awareness Day
Inclusion Awareness Day

IADay_bulletin

Bulletin Item 2

Welcoming Worshippers
of All Abilities

final_all_abilities_bulletin

Bulletin Item 3

Prayer for Awareness
Prayer for Awareness

final_prayer Bulletin

Bulletin Item 4

People First Language
People First Language

PFL_bulletin

Bulletin Item 5

Welcoming Worshippers
with Hearing Challenges

final_hearing_differences_bulletin

Bulletin Item 6

Welcoming Worshippers
with Visual Challenges

final_visual differences_bulletin

Bulletin Item 7

Welcoming Worshippers
with Mental Health Challenges

final_intellectual_differences_bulletin

Bulletin Item 8

Welcoming Worshippers
with Mobility Challenges

final_mobility_differences_bulletin

 

If you require a full size file (8×10), please request at: friends@pathways.org.

To return to the Inclusion In Worship website click here.

Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago Announces Record Gift for New Research Hospital

Hospital to be named the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab; to integrate with Pathways

CHICAGO — (June 22, 2016) — The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC) today announced that Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan have pledged a record gift to advance its revolutionary work. The gift — the amount of which is confidential — is the largest charitable investment in the organization’s 63-year history and will support AbilityLab, RIC’s state-of-the-art research hospital. When the new hospital opens in March 2017, it will be named the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab in recognition of this transformative gift.

As a result of this extraordinary gift and the significant boost it creates in RIC’s capital campaign, the organization will raise its goal to $350 million. The campaign is expected to close in December 2017.

With this gift, Pathways, the entrepreneurial organization founded by the Ryans more than 30 years ago, will join the RIC family immediately and the AbilityLab upon its opening. Pathways, with its clinic and web organization, is the leading resource in early detection and intervention tools that maximize children’s motor, sensory, and communication development.

“The integration between Pathways, RIC and the AbilityLab is historic — it makes possible a truly better future for children and adults from around the globe who need our support and services,” said Joanne C. Smith, M.D., RIC president and CEO. “We treasure Shirley and Pat’s trust, and we honor their innovative spirit, boundless compassion and determination to make a difference in the lives of so many people around the world. Through this transformational gift and the growth of the Pathways and AbilityLab family, we will build upon our collective strengths to advance the science, medical care and outcomes for patients everywhere.”

As part of the integration, Pathways will retain its leading brand, clinic and website. The organization’s awareness, messaging and reach will be expanded in coalition with AbilityLab.

“Both RIC and Pathways are so excited about this powerful union which joins two organizations with common values, purpose, vision and dreams,” said Shirley Ryan. We share a long-standing commitment to the advancement of abilities and, with this integration, AbilityLab and Pathways are poised to deepen knowledge, expand therapy and training, and spread global influence further and faster.”

A radical shift

The $550 million, 1.2-million-square-foot Shirley Ryan AbilityLab will be the first-ever “translational” research hospital in which clinicians, scientists, innovators and technologists will work together in the same space, applying (or “translating”) research real time. The AbilityLab will introduce its revolutionary model of care through five Innovation Centers focused on areas of biomedical science with extraordinary promise:

  • Brain Innovation Center
  • Spinal Cord Innovation Center
  • Nerve, Muscle & Bone Innovation Center
  • Pediatric Innovation Center
  • Cancer Rehabilitation Innovation Center

Central to applying research during care will be working human labs where interdisciplinary teams develop new research and insights to help patients gain more function, achieve better outcomes and enjoy greater ability and independence. Each lab will have a unique configuration based on the type of experimentation and functional purpose:

  • Think + Speak Lab
  • Legs + Walking Lab
  • Arms + Hands Lab
  • Strength + Endurance Lab
  • Pediatric Lab

An integration united by common values and vision

Pathways, a leader in raising awareness and spreading knowledge about early detection and intervention for pediatric motor, sensory and communication delays, will be integrated with the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab. The organization consists of both a state-of-the-art outpatient pediatric therapy clinic as well as an expansive educational website.

Shirley Ryan will join RIC’s Governing Board and continue as Chairwoman of Pathways.

A profile in ability

In addition to her work as Chair of Pathways, Shirley Ryan has been appointed by two presidents to the National Council on Disability, which advises Congress on disability issues. She serves on the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors of the Lyric Opera of Chicago, and on the Board of Directors of the University of Notre Dame, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Alain Locke Charter Academy, and the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. She has also received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Notre Dame.

Pat Ryan founded and served for 41 years as CEO of Aon Corporation, the leading global provider of risk management, insurance and reinsurance brokerage, and human resources solutions and outsourcing services. At the time of his retirement, Aon had in excess of $7 billion in annual revenue with more than 500 offices in 120 countries. In 2010, Mr. Ryan founded Ryan Specialty Group, a global holding company which includes wholesale brokerage (the third largest in the country), highly specialized underwriting companies and specialty services designed specifically for agents, brokers and insurers; Mr. Ryan currently serves as Chairman and CEO. He is a member of the International Insurance Hall of Fame, the American Academy of Arts and Science and the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans. He has been a member of Northwestern University’s Board of Trustees for the last 38 years and presided for 14 years as its Chairman.

The Ryans have three adult sons, Pat, Rob and Corbett, a daughter-in-law, Lydia, and three grandchildren.

An unprecedented campaign

Given the monumental nature of the Ryans’ gift, RIC’s Board of Directors has taken action to increase the capital campaign from $300 million to $350 million. The campaign launched in July 2013 and extends through December 2017.

“We always felt confident in our ability to achieve significant philanthropic support for our new vision and campaign,” said Dr. Smith. “Now, we’re humbled and motivated by the opportunity to take the campaign even further and generate additional funds for the novel programs and research that will be pioneered in the new facility. The Ryans’ gift is not just a testament to the RIC vision; it’s a sign of great momentum as RIC is now poised to meet, and even potentially exceed, our new $350 million goal. This will have a profound impact on patients, on science and on the future of our field.”

Differences between Maternal and Paternal Book Reading to Children

Reading aloud helps children expand their vocabularies while also building their ability to think, analyze and ask questions. It can also inspire a love of reading and learning for life. A 2014 study published in the Journal of Fathering suggests fathers and mothers may have different styles of reading to their children and both can be beneficial for development. In the study, researchers observed mothers and fathers while reading to their children. The study showed mothers asked their children more factual questions while labeling and categorizing objects, whereas fathers used language to talk about concepts extending beyond the images and wording in the book.1 When parents use different styles of reading aloud to their child, they are providing a variety of learning experiences that foster language and cognitive development and can support literacy achievement in later years.2 To promote these positive outcomes, healthcare professionals can provide caregivers tips to make reading time an enjoyable and educational experience for children. Continue reading

4-6 Month Motor Milestone Video!

NEW! Our 4-6 month old baby motor milestones video has been posted!

4-6 Month Motor Milestones

The video above demonstrates 6 different motor milestones baby should be reaching by 6 months old.

  • Uses hands to support self while sitting
  • Rolls from back to tummy and tummy to back
  • While standing with support, accepts entire weight with legs
  • Reaches for nearby toys while on tummy
  • While lying on back, reaches both hands to play with feet
  • While lying on back, transfers a toy from one hand to the other

Use this video to see examples of what milestones look like and compare to your own baby’s progress.  To see more of our milestone videos visit our age pages or video page.

0-3 Month Motor Milestones
[one_half_last padding=”0 5px 0 5px”]0-3 Month Sensory Milestones [/one_half_last]

  4-6 Month Motor Milestones
[one_half_last padding=”0 5px 0 5px”]4-6 Month Sensory Milestones [/one_half_last]

If you notice your baby is not meeting their 4-6 months motor milestones, contact their health care provider.