Basics first. Children’s brain functions are still developing. There is a wide margin for what is normal and healthy. There could be distinct variations between individual children. Let’s begin to understand a variety of brain functions across several domains or dimensions. You can develop an eye for what they are, from basic description of each of these functions. I think it is important to grasp these concepts as children do not voluntarily act up and may not have perfected the function. They may even be strong in one area, yet weak in another. Just like how coins can be stacked differently if every one has a dollar amount, children can have normal intelligence with variations across these brain functions. They are also called neurocognitive functions by scientists.
- Executive Function: Organization, Planning, Flexibility, Problem Solving
- Working Memory: Ability to hold on line, information for a very short time to accomplish the work at hand (Math, shopping lists)
- Impulse Control or Response Inhibition
- Verbal Memory: Remembering things that were heard
- Emotion Recognition
- Emotion Processing
- Emotion Regulation
- Perspective Taking and Empathy
There is more than what meets the eye in each of the above functions. I will describe each of these, how to recognize them, and find ways to help children in future posts.