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The BEST definition of EF ever?

Updated: Oct 31, 2021



Award-winning Speech and Language Pathologist Sucheta Kamath calls this the PFC the brain's "future simulation machine." And one way we can help kids develop lifelong executive function (EF) skills is to help them "see" themselves in the future so that they can put their intentions into action.


In fact, this is the task of the pre-frontal cortex (PFC). This human part of our brain allows us to imagine ourselves through time and space - to travel to the past and the future. To connect our current actions with our future intentions.


As adults (and as the outside observers), it's easy for us to see a child or adolescent's blind spots. We can observe their impulsivity, inexperience, or inability to predict the consequences of their actions.


So the best way adults can support the development of a child's EF is by collaborating with their child to guide them in practicing their own self-awareness and ability to envision their future.


I share my notes from Sucheta Kamath's talk at this year's Executive Function Online Summit, including my absolute favorite take-away from this conference, her definition of EF. I love it not only beautifully summarizes an incredibly complex concept but also sets a foundation for how to practice it.


In service, Yulia Rafailova

PS. Here are the Six Principles for Parenting & Executive Function from the image above


  1. If it's your idea, then YOUR EF went into it. Instead, say, "That sounds like a real problem. Do you have any thoughts?"

  2. Model how to pause, think, and respond. Gaze down, pause, show you are taking time to contemplate with your posture. Convert your reaction to a response.

  3. Teach kids to cooperate, conform, and comply so your child can have humility. EX: "I don't like what you're asking me to do, but I'll do it because it's important."

  4. All emotional management is pain management. We feel pain when goals are not attained, when something is unfair, or when we are treated poorly.

  5. The best outcome for children is to discover their own awareness. Don't worry about talking about your child's weaknesses. Deliver negative feedback bravely. Playfully. Share your own weaknesses freely.

  6. Have fun! Play! Enjoy your time together.

PPS. Get the TEFOS All Access Pass here so you can come back to it anytime. It's 50% off until 12pm PST, on Tuesday August 24th.