Eight Brain Functions

  • 1. Attention Controls

     

    A key player in most aspects of learning and behaviour. Governs the flow and use of energy in the mind, regulates how deeply information is processed, helps us focus for desirable lengths of time and on what is important. Aids with thoughtful, considered responses so that impulsive responding is kept to a minimum.

    When working well, a child will : appear alert, be able to exert the proper effort to do work, be able to tune out visual and auditory distractions, show even concentration, think ahead before acting, self-monitor actions and behavior, and learn from his/her mistakes.

    When not working well, a child might : lose focus unless very interested, focus on unimportant details, not focus long enough, be overactive or fidgety, not see errors in his/her work, and not seem to learn from experiences.

  • 2. Language

     

    The understanding and use of the sounds of a given language, words, sentences, and lengthy passages.

    When working well, a child will : be able to rhyme, speak fluently, understand and use sophisticated vocabulary, formulate complex sentences, understand verbal directions, glean meaning from stories, tell stories effectively, and be able to elaborate on ideas.

    When not working well, a child might : hesitate when speaking, have a limited vocabulary for understanding and speaking, struggle to follow directions, fail to understand stories, comprehend on a literal level but fail to appreciate symbolism or idiomatic speech, and rarely participate in class discussions.

  • 3. Memory

     

    There are several different aspects of memory which vary by duration and type. For example, remembering your home phone number is different than recalling significant dates during the Mughal Empire.

    When working well, a child will : remember recent instructions and basic skills and facts automatically and be able to hold several different things in mind while working.

    When not working well, a child might : have difficulty recalling information for tests, struggle to answer questions with only one right answer, forget what he/she is doing while doing it, forget to take things home from school, or how to do things in the right order.

  • 4. Temporal-Sequential Ordering

     

    All information is either structured in a step-by-step format or simultaneously taken in and given out as a visual whole. Temporal- sequential ordering is the mind’s ability to interpret, remember, and create information that needs to be in a specific order or sequence.

    When working well, a child will : be able to keep track of time, perform procedures in a methodical (i.e., one step at a time) fashion, tell stories in proper serial order, follow multi-step directions.

    When not working well, a child might : be able to recall the digits of a telephone number but not in the proper order, struggle to remember common sequences such as the alphabet, days of the week, and months of the year, have trouble performing mathematical procedures or learning cursive/joined writing.

  • 5. Spatial Ordering

     

    The processing, coordination, and application of information that is visual or in a spatial array.

    When working well, a child will : have good facial recognition, be able to differentiate individual letters, numbers, and words as well as geometric shapes, create mental picture in mind while reading, properly arrange material in a notebook.

    When not working well, a child might : have difficulty keeping track of belongings, get lost unless in familiar surroundings, struggle with spatial concepts such as in geometry, be poor at building and fixing things or in developing technical skills in art.

  • 6. Neuromotor Functions

     

    The network of connections and interactions between the nervous system and the movement of large muscles.

    When working well, a child will : be able to catch and throw a ball, cut straight lines using scissors, and have legible handwriting.

    When not working well, a child might : struggle to keep up with peers in sports, have difficulty with handicrafts (e.g., sewing or beading), have trouble writing quickly enough to keep pace with the flow of ideas.

  • 7. Social Cognition

     

    The ability to function well on an interpersonal level. Includes verbal abilities, such as making appropriate conversation, and nonverbal abilities, such as reading body language to understand how someone might be feeling.

    When working well, a child will : be able to make and keep friends, relate well to people of all ages, read people’s facial expressions to know what effect their words are having, and modify their speech according to the demands of different social settings and their audience at the time.

    When not working well, a child might : have few or limited friends, be able to make friends but not keep them, have difficulty with the give-and-take of conversation, misinterpret social situations (e.g., assume a person who bumps into them in the hallway wants to pick a fight as opposed to is clumsy or awkward).

  • 8. Higher Order Cognition

     

    Complex and sophisticated thinking which can include concept formation, creativity, reasoning and logical thinking, problem solving, and critical thinking.

    When working well, a child will : be able to think independently and generate novel ideas, understand and use rules (e.g., spelling and grammar rules, scientific formulas), and compare and contrast points of view.

    When not working well, a child might : memorise information in a rote fashion without understanding, maintain rigid, inflexible ideas, have difficulty grasping abstract ideas (e.g., democracy, good sportsmanship), and be prone to accepting explanations at face value without looking deeper, beneath the surface.