Great Homeschool Convention 2017 Executive Function Session PPT

A big thank you to all who attended our session on Executive Function: Skills for Life at the Fort Worth Convention Center on February 25, 2017. As promised, I have attached a link to the presentation Powerpoint, and we will continue to post resources on the area of Executive Function. We look forward to providing resources (books, videos, blogs, activities) that will be helpful to you and your family in learning more about how executive function skills impact our everyday lives.

Click on the Source link below to access the Executive Function: Skills for Life session Powerpoint.

Dr. Nikosi Darnell, Ph.D., M.S., CCC-SLP and Mrs. Jan Bieniosek, M.S., CCC-SLP

 

 

Live Binder Apps for Texas GHC 2017

Take a look at the interactive communication applications on our Live Binder link at the Source link below. Glad for everyone who could attend our session on Let's Talk: Technology Tools for Students with Speech Delays

Dr. Nikosi Darnell and Dr. Rebekah McPherson

Please click on the Source link below to review the tech tools used in our presentation.

Nutrition's Impact on Brain Health

Did you know that there are steps we can take to actively protect our brain health? With cognitive deficits impacting individuals across the lifespan, it is important for us to consider practices we can implement into our daily routines that will have a positive influence on our cognition for years to come.

Now when I talk about cognition, I am referring to our ability to use mental processes to acquire and understand information presented in a variety of methods. These mental processes consist of our skills in thinking, knowing, remembering, judging, and problem-solving. These are higher level functions of the brain and encompass language, imagination, perception, and planning.

When we think of protecting these mental processes we may immediately generate a list of mental exercises we can implement into our daily routine to maintain and improve our brain health. Additionally, organizations, such as Lumosity, AARP, and ProProfs, provide excellent resources and online brain training activities for improving brain health! However, today I would like to talk about how nutrition plays a powerful role in the health of our brain.

Nutrition really does matter! Our brains are comprised of highly metabolic, active tissue. We need a constant stable supply of glucose, which is a simple sugar that is an important energy source. Now you might ask, "Where do I find this thing called glucose?". Well, I'm so glad you asked! 

Our primary source of glucose can be found in carbohydrates, but we have to be careful of not causing glucose levels to rise too quickly. Specifically, food items containing refined sugar can cause this to happen as the body tries to rid itself of a sudden excess of glucose. And we all know what happens when we overload on refined sugars - we have a sugar overload and crash of course! 

How does this impact the brain? Well, the brain reacts to excessive food (sugar) as if it were a pathogen or microscopic organism attacking our body. Scientists believe that this physical response may cause cognitive deficits such as those related to Alzheimer's disease. Similarly, high blood sugar, is associated with elevated cortisol (hormone), which is known to negatively impact memory function. 

In considering this information, it is important for us to know what carbohydrates (carbs) are best to eat. Instead of eating high glycemic (sugar) carbs we want to consume those carbs that are low in sugar. In differentiating between high and low glycemic carbs, we will utilize the Glycemic Index, which is a measurement of the effect of carb-containing foods on the level of the blood sugar.

The Glycemic Index (GI) has a range from 0 to 100 with a lower number indicating carbohydrates with a lower effect on the level of sugar in the blood stream; whereas, a higher glycemic number indicates a higher effect on blood sugar levels.

High GI Foods (70 or higher): white rice, white bread, pretzels, white bagels, white baked potatoes, crackers, sugar-sweetened beverages.                                           Medium GI Foods (56 - 69): bananas, grapes, spaghetti, ice cream, raisins, corn on the cob.                                                                                                                      Low GI Foods (55 and under): oatmeal, peanuts, peas, carrots, kidney beans, hummus, skim milk, most fruits (except those listed above and watermelon), agave nectar.

Decreasing or eliminating high glycemic carbohydrates from our diet may have a positive impact on the brain health of individuals across the lifespan as we reduce our risk for deleterious disease processes (hypertension, hyperglycemia, inflammation, insulin insensitivity, glucose intolerance) that negatively impact our cognitive skills.

Dr. Nikosi Darnell, Ph.D., M.S., CCC-SLP                                                                                                                                                                       contact@clearviewspeech.com                                                                                                                                                                                       www.clearviewspeech.com 

Executive Function Skills

You might be asking yourself "what are executive function skills and why are they so important for me to know about?". Well, I'm so glad you asked! Executive functions are higher-level cognitive skills that control and coordinate your thinking and behavior. Executive function is a business metaphor, "where the chief executive monitors all of the different departments so that the company can move forward as efficiently and effectively as possible. Who we are, how we organize our lives, how we plan and how we then execute those plans is largely guided by our executive system"(UCSF, 2016). 

Executive functions consist of working memory, planning and prioritization, organization, time management, metacognition (thinking about how you think), response inhibition, emotional control, sustained attention, task initiation, goal directed persistence, and flexibility.

Impairments in any of these domains may be characterized by an inability to attend to tasks for a sustained period of time, complete assignments or homework in a timely manner, follow multi-step directions, demonstrate appropriate social behavior in various settings, avoid anti-social behavior(s), foresee consequences of given behavior(s), remember a telephone number, tell a story in verbal or written form, or get started on a task. This list is by no means comprehensive, but meant to provide you with examples of key behaviors associated with an impairment of executive function skills.  

As you can see, executive function skills are essential to our everyday lives as we navigate through our daily routines. To learn more about executive function skills read the Harvard University Brief on executive function and how it impacts our educational achievement, relationships, health, economy, and policies. 

Augmented Reality for Kids

Augmented reality (AR) is a type of virtual reality that aims to duplicate the world's environment on a digital device, such as an iPad or mobile device. AR applications allow users enhanced interactions with their environments by transforming real-life objects into computer-generated 3-D images.

This is a fun and interactive way for children to learn new speech and language concepts as they explore apps such as AR flashcards, Zoo AR, LEGO connect, Earth AR, Our Discovery Island: Phonic Tricksters, and so much more!

Click on this link to see how you can incorporate AR Flashcards into your child's routine. 

A Bird's Eye View of Dementia

Dementia is a collection of symptoms affecting memory and cognition in individuals across the lifespan. Dementia is most prominent in older individuals, however, it is known to affect children and young adults diagnosed with rare diseases and conditions.

Disease processes that may cause dementia include, but are not limited to, Alzheimer’s disease, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, Huntington’s disease, Lewy body dementia, multiple small strokes, Parkinson’s disease, and traumatic brain injury.

Dementia may be characterized by confusion, becoming easily lost in familiar areas, difficulty managing personal affairs (finances, housekeeping, grooming), personality changes, depression, memory loss, problems following directions, declining communication skills, as well as difficulty swallowing, walking, and speaking clearly.

Individuals with a diagnosis of dementia have access to a myriad of professionals who specialize in addressing impairments stemming from dementia. A professional team may include physicians, speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, neuropsychologists, and social workers. These team members are responsible for assisting individuals with dementia, as well as their caregivers, in navigating through the effects of dementia.

To learn more on how you, as a caregiver, can assist your loved-one as he or she experiences the impact of dementia please read the suggestions provided by the Mayo Clinic on Self-Management by clicking on the Source link below.

The Right Hemispheres' Connection to ADHD

The connection of the right hemisphere to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has been well-documented in literature over the past few decades. Research has indicated individuals with a diagnosis of ADHD as demonstrating notable weaknesses in functions of the right hemisphere. In children, a right hemisphere deficit may be evidenced in poor gross motor skills, atypical social behaviors, reduced non-verbal and verbal skills, poor reading comprehension abilities, anxiety, impulsiveness, and poor attention. Thankfully, there are many supports and interventions for parents to choose from when deciding how to best help their child navigate through the challenges associated with ADHD. Reference the Source Link below to learn more about the link between the right hemisphere and ADHD in children.   

Tips for Effective Use of Technology for Learning

Over the past few decades we have seen significant advancements in technological devices and applications available to children and their families.

The introduction of the Apple iPad and Android Tablet has provided a means of engaging children’s learning in a fun and engaging manner.

Considerably, many technological applications are advertised as being an excellent means for promoting various learning concepts for children.

Particular apps or online activities can be very effective in enhancing the learning processes of children, and many have the option to choose from varying developmental levels.

However, parents need to be informed consumers when selecting learning tools that are suitable for addressing their child’s learning needs.

As a parent, are you interested in effectively using technology to help your child learn? If so, then I have some suggestions on just how to do this.

Here are some tips to help you incorporate technology into your child’s routine and stimulate learning:

· Determine if your child learns best when information is presented visually (seeing), auditorily (hearing), kinesthetically (doing), or a combination of the three. This will help you decide what type of online activity may best meet the needs of your child.

· Help your child transfer the experiences or skills learned online by practicing them in the real world. For instance, you may use an online game, such as Turtle Diary, to help your child produce grammatically correct sentence structures. However, this concept may be further developed as you encourage him or her to use the same sentence structures when interacting with others.

· Ensure you are available to provide guidance to your child as they use the device. Although, children may be capable of independently using technological devices, such as the iPad, they are not necessarily competent users.

· Collaborate with your child’s therapist to assist in selecting developmentally appropriate technological applications to use during and outside of therapy.

· Limit your child’s screen time (including TV, computer, iPad) to less than two hours per day.

 

 

 

 

Digital Storytelling

Digital storytelling is such a fun way to engage clients in the storytelling process. Clients can tell their story in a digital manner the same as they would orally or on paper. Digital storytelling is simply applying one's creative ideas in a manner that allows him or her to add multimedia (video, images, and audio) to their voice. Learn more about digital storytelling by clicking on the Source link below.