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Executive Function & Cognitive Skills

 

Our Executive Functions represent a plethora of mental functions which control our logical reasoning, strategy, planning/organization, problem-solving, and hypothetical-deductive reasoning skills. These functions are often impaired in ADHD children and adults. For example, planning helps us formulate an action plan and define and organize our priorities to solve a problem or complete an activity. The control of these functions is critical to our everyday lives, school, work, and home. Here’s a simple example; the teacher assigns homework and your child cannot formulate a plan to start, complete, and then turn it in.
 
Strong Executive Functions are supported by underlying cognitive skill. What Are Cognitive Skills?
 
Cognitive skills are:
  • Paying attention
  • Visual processing
  • Pattern recognition
  • Working memory
  • Auditory processing
  • Short-term memory
  • Spatial memory
  • Time on-task
  • Processing speed
  • Discriminatory processing
  • Social Skills
  • Impulse control
  • Mindfulness

Attention Is a Skill and We Can Increase this Skill

We are all born with the ability to pay attention. Some of us better than others. People with ADHD don't have a lack or 'deficit' of attention; they have an inability to sustain and direct their attention at will.
 
Attention is a skill that can be practiced and improved, given the right tools to teach you to sustain and direct your attention at will.
 

Visual Processing Is A Skill and We Can Increase this Skill

Visual Processing is the brain's ability to see, analyze, and think with mental images. People with ADHD frequently have a very difficult time with visual processing as they only take in bits and pieces of data that they view. We teach visual processing by specifically teaching pattern recognition governed by attention. 
 

Memory Is A Skill and We Can Increase this Skill

Memory is the ability to store, retrieve, and recall information. Many different types of attention have been identified.
*Long-term memory is memory that we keep for our lifetime or for a very long time. A good example may be your multiplication tables. While you may be rusty, you likely remember 2 x 2 or 4 x 1 even though you learned this many years ago. We use long-term memory at school and work when we try to spell words, comprehend reading material, or recall facts on tests. Forget an answer on a test? Forget a phone number? Your homework assignment? Your long-term memory has failed you.
*Short-term memory or working memory is the ability to hold information in your mind while you simultaneously perform a mental operation or calculation. Students with short-term memory or working memory problems may need to have directions repeated or have problems following multi-step instructions, and quickly lose track of immediately pressing tasks.
*Spatial memory is also quite difficult for ADHD persons. Spatial memory allows us to remember where we leave things (like our checkbook, homework, or car keys), how to navigate our way through a building, and is fundamental to being organized.
 
We have programs to work on all of these areas. We have exercises for short-term memory, working memory, and spatial memory. These all significantly bolster long-term memory!
 

Auditory Processing Is A Skill and We Can Increase this Skill

Auditory processing refers to the brain's ability to process, analyze, and comprehend incoming sounds, and information. This is a critical skill when working at the office or in the classroom. We can work on Auditory Processing to enable you to follow multiple step instructions, follow a conversation with your spouse, and perform well in the classroom or workplace.
 
Current research clearly demonstrates that the brain is always changing (adjusting our neural networks) due to learning and our environment. This process is termed neuroplasticity. Simply put, the brain constantly changes when we learn something new. The brain is an amazing instrument that also has the ability to compensate when it's not fully functioning.
The brain will change if we instruct it to. This is the foundation of all teaching and learning from pre-school to post graduate. SIRRI has programs for students to see their attention in real-time by controlling the computer screen with their attention alone.

Practice Makes Perfect

The only way to fully learn the skill of attention is to practice it over and over again just as is done with an athletic endeavor. If we play soccer, we practice our free kick many times to perfect it. We practice our golf swings the same way.
We allow students to practice attention until they master it. We also teach them skills they don't have because of attention difficulties: Problems with organization, finishing tasks, filtering out distractions, watching the teacher, and memory are  addressed.
 
The brain can learn the skill of attention even if it has severe attention challenges. And it learns the skill of attention just like learning any other skill. But, it takes time, practice, and consistency. We are the experts in this field. We know the cognitive science behind attention. We know how to master the skill.
_____________________
Upcoming Session Dates for
The Sensory Learning Program:
   
 
Monday, March 30
through
Friday, April 10
 
Monday, May 11
through
Friday, May 22

Maternal Obesity linked to ADHD and behavioral problems in children, study suggests

 NIH/Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute
of Child Health and Human Development
FEBRUARY 19, 2020
Maternal obesity may increase a child's risk for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to an analysis by researchers from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), part of the National Institutes of Health. The researchers found that mothers—but not fathers—who were overweight or obese before pregnancy were more likely to report that their children had been diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or to have symptoms of hyperactivity, inattentiveness or impulsiveness at ages 7 to 8 years old. Their study appears in The Journal of Pediatrics.
 
The study team analyzed the NICHD Upstate KIDS Study, which recruited mothers of young infants and followed the children through age 8 years. In this analysis of nearly 2,000 children, the study team found that women who were obese before pregnancy were approximately twice as likely to report that their child had ADHD or symptoms of hyperactivity, inattention or impulsiveness, compared to children of women of normal weight before pregnancy.
 
The authors suggest that, if their findings are confirmed by additional studies, healthcare providers may want to screen children of obese mothers for ADHD so that they could be offered earlier interventions. The authors also note that healthcare providers could use evidence-based strategies to counsel women considering pregnancy on diet and lifestyle. Resources for plus-size pregnant women and their healthcare providers are available as part of NICHD's Pregnancy for Every Body initiative.
Gluten Free Recipe:
 
Healthy Shepherd's Pie with Cauliflower Mash  
 
Servings: 12
 
"This shepherd's pie with cauliflower mash is a low-carb, healthier version of a great cold-weather dish. Enjoy this satisfying meal with a little less guilt."
 
Ingredients
 
Filling:
1 tablespoon avocado oil
5 cups diced celery
5 cups finely chopped mushrooms 1/2 medium onion, diced 3 pounds lean ground turkey
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 tablespoon dried thyme
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
 
Directions:
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup almond flour
1 (8 ounce) can low-sodium tomato sauce
2 medium zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch slices
 
Topping:
4 (10 ounce) packages frozen cauliflower rice (such as Green Giant(R))
1/3 cup cashew milk
2 tablespoons butter, divided
1/2 teaspoon paprika
 
1 Heat avocado oil in a very large skillet over medium-high heat. Add celery, mushrooms, and onion; saute until onion is translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Crumble turkey into the skillet. Add parsley, thyme, garlic powder, pepper, red pepper flakes, and salt. Cook until turkey is no longer pink and has absorbed most of the liquid in the skillet, about 15 minutes.
 
2 Sprinkle almond flour over the turkey mixture and cook for 1 minute. Stir in tomato sauce until combined; cook until thickened, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a 9x13-inch baking dish and top with sliced zucchini.
 
3 Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
 
4 Cook cauliflower rice in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until hot, about 5 minutes.
Set 1 cup aside in a large bowl. Transfer remaining cauliflower rice to a food processor with milk and 1 tablespoon
butter; blend until smooth. Mix with reserved rice for added texture.
 
5 Spread cauliflower mixture over the meat and zucchini. Cut remaining 1 tablespoon butter into small pieces and
dot over the cauliflower. Sprinkle with paprika.
 
6 Bake in the preheated oven until the cauliflower topping has a golden hue, 30 to 35 minutes.
 
Empowerment Scholarship Accounts (ESA)
 
We are a Pre-Approved Facility
 
What can ESA funds be spent on?
 
According to the Arizona Department of Education, "Additional eligible expenses for children with special needs include:
 
Educational therapies or services from a licensed or accredited practitioner or provider"
  
 
Please contact us or azed.gov 
for details on using your ESA.
 
 
 Did You Know?
 
SIRRI offers these services
for both children & adults:
  • Neurofeedback & Biofeedback
  • QEEG / Brain Mapping
  • Cognitive Retraining: memory, processing & problem solving skills
  • Attention, Concentration & Focus Training
  • Auditory & Visual Processing
  • Reading Development: fluency & comprehension
  • Balance, Coordination & Motor Planning Development
  • Stress & Anxiety Management
  • Peak/Optimal Performance
  • FREE Health Assessments
  • Health Coaching 
SIRRI Arizona • 4515 S. McClintock Drive, Suite 208 • Tempe, AZ 85282
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