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Executive Function & Child Development

15 February 2013

Marcie Yeager (Author), Daniel Yeager (Author)


A brain-based approach to helping kids stay focused and achieve.

Poor executive function (EF) in the brain can mean behavioral and attentional problems in school. This book explains to professionals and parents how EF develops in kids, what EF difficulties look like, and what creative and effective interventions can meet their needs.

Executive functions involve mental processes such as:

  • Working memory–holding several pieces of information in mind while we try to do something with them–for example, understand and solve a problem or carry out a task.
  • Response inhibition–inhibiting actions that interfere with our intentions or goals.
  • Shifting focus–interrupting an ongoing response in order to direct attention to other aspects of a situation that are important for goal attainment.
  • Cognitive flexibility–generating alternative methods of solving a problem or reaching a goal.
  • Self-monitoring–checking on one's own cognitions and actions to assure that they are in line with one's intentions.
  • Goal Orientation–creating and carrying out a multi-step plan for achieving a goal in a timely fashion, keeping the "big picture" in mind.


"[A] significant contribution to the field! [The authors] have done an exceptional job explaining complex concepts and summarizing existing research in a comprehensive yet light and magnificently written book. This book is undoubtedly a valuable and practical guide not only for clinicians but also for parents, teachers, and anyone who works with children. Perhaps, more importantly, it offers hope for children and families who struggle with the challenging difficulties associated with delayed self-regulation." — Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease

"[A] user-friendly and practical help for parents struggling with over-active children. . . . [P]rovides a planned and systemic approach to encouraging children to intentionally begin to regulate their thoughts, emotions and behaviour. The book is suitable for parents and professionals, with helpful case studies to illustrate the methods discussed." — Journal of Analytical Psychology (UK)

"[I]f one desires to learn more about executive functions, this is certainly the book to read. . . . The writers have written this book ideally to serve as an informational guide to other mental health professionals, but also hope it can serve a purpose in the lives of concerned parents, teachers, and pediatricians." — International Journal of Psychotherapy

"[F]or any child-focused professionals interested in centering their psychological formulations, assessments and interventions around executive function, this book fits the bill." — Child and Adolescent Mental Health

"Marcie Yeager and Daniel Yeager provide a framework for teachers, parents, pediatricians, and therapists to help children with developmental and other issues become more independent. The authors explain concepts clearly and provide concrete tips to help kids get through everyday activities." — PsychCentral

"[V]ery easy to read. . . . It gives many great take away tips that you can use with your child’s team. It details effective treatment practices for children with executive function difficulties. . . . I think this is a fantastic and useful book for the milder cases of ASD or ADHD." — A Day in Our Shoes Blog

"This user-friendly guide takes the most current understandings of executive function and translates them into practical application, providing change strategies that are parent and child friendly. The case examples present clinicians with snapshots of how treatment integrates playful interventions across sessions while bringing hope to parents that growth is achievable. This volume is a must-have for both clinicians who treat these children and the parents who live with them." — Paris Goodyear-Brown, LCSW, RPT-S, author, Handbook of Child Sexual Abuse and Play Therapy with Traumatized Children

"A practical and innovative handbook for parents, teachers, and therapists who seek to foster better self-regulation in children with executive functioning weaknesses. Highly recommended!" — Charles E. Schaefer, PhD, Professor Emeritus of Psychology, Fairleigh Dickinson University



147 x 218 mm • 268 pages


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