Executive Functioning – The Basics

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Boulder Creek Academy
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A therapeutic boarding school, Boulder Creek Academy supports adolescents with complex academic, social, and emotional needs. Boulder Creek Academy welcomes students with executive function challenges, which it addresses via skill building and behavioral health treatment as well as instructional support.

The term “executive functioning” refers to the set of cognitive skills that let an individual organize, plan, and attend to tasks. These skills allow an individual to organize his or her thoughts and use available information to solve problems effectively. When someone has deficits in executive functioning, he or she can find it extremely difficult to start or complete a task, handle interruptions, or change focus. The person also may find it challenging to allocate time according to the needs of a task, or to change plans to adapt to a changing situation.

Executive function also can relate to deficits in control of emotions or impulses. Children with executive function issues may speak without thinking, abandon an assignment in the middle, or overreact to criticism. They may find it particularly difficult to concentrate when they are upset and may be extremely adherent to an original plan of action, even if that plan is not working. Both regulation and organization challenges related to executive function issues may make it difficult for an individual to succeed at school or work, though targeted interventions such as checklists, planners, and even verbal strategy sessions can help with symptom management.

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An Introduction to Nonverbal Learning Disability

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Boulder Creek Academy
Image: bouldercreekacademy.com

Boulder Creek Academy, a therapeutic boarding school, provides individualized academic, emotional, and social interventions for clinically complex adolescents. For students with nonverbal learning disabilities, Boulder Creek Academy offers the structure and support needed to rebuild confidence and build success experiences.

A nonverbal learning disability, or NVLD, affects a child’s social skills. It often resembles Asperger’s syndrome, now diagnosed as part of autism spectrum disorder, in that it leads to difficulties in understanding such nonverbal cues as facial expressions, tone of voice, and body language. Because a person with NVLD does not respond to social interactions in a typical manner, he or she may find making and maintaining friendships very difficult.

Academically, a student with NVLD is likely to have a highly accurate memory but may not be able to interpret it correctly in context. He or she thinks in extremely literal terms and may indiscriminately share knowledge with others, thus appearing awkward or unusual to peers. In addition, the child may be physically awkward and present with coordination difficulties, which can manifest in messy handwriting.

Although a student with NVLD may struggle interpersonally more than academically, this same child may also have difficulty comprehending main ideas and accurately identifying important information. This sometimes causes trouble with exercises like reading comprehension and word problems, though these academic deficits are not necessarily present in all children with the diagnosis. Significantly more universal are anxiety, self-esteem issues, and trouble with transitions, which adults can begin to mediate by offering clear expectations and a predictable environment.

Link Discovered between ADHD Medication and Bullying

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Boulder Creek Academy
Image: bouldercreekacademy.com

As a therapeutic boarding school, Boulder Creek Academy addresses the needs of adolescents with a variety of cognitive, emotional, and social challenges. Boulder Creek Academy has welcomed numerous students with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), as well as many who present with low self-esteem and interpersonal immaturity issues.

According to recent research, adolescents who take medication for ADHD are twice as likely to experience bullying as compared to peers who do not need such medication. Trading, selling, or giving medication to others also makes a teen 4.5 times as likely to attract bullies than a peer without an ADHD diagnosis. Furthermore, a teen with ADHD who shares or sells medication is five times as likely to be bullied than a peer with the same diagnosis but no recent prescription.

Researchers are not sure of the connection between ADHD medication and bullying. Some suspect that the link goes beyond the prescription itself to the teen’s social skills, which are often underdeveloped regardless of pharmaceutical intervention. One psychologist has posited that a low social position may cause these teens to use their medications as leverage, which in turn attracts the attention of bullies. Experts note that there is no identified causal link between the medication itself and a child’s status as a bullying target, but that parents should consult with the child’s doctor regarding any medication concerns.

Boulder Creek Academy Offers Lake Pend Orielle Getaway for Families

Boulder Creek Academy pic

Boulder Creek Academy
Image: bouldercreekacademy.com

Established in 1993 and located in Bonners Ferry, Idaho, Boulder Creek Academy serves adolescent boys and girls with social and cognitive deficits through a therapeutic educational curriculum. Boulder Creek Academy also provides its students with an assortment of opportunities to bond with their families, such as parent-child trips. Parent-child trips include the Lake Pend Orielle Getaway in June 2016. The Lake Pend Orielle trip treats students and their parents to a weekend getaway at a rented lakeside home in Sandpoint, Idaho.

The home rests on the banks of Lake Pend Orielle, Idaho’s largest lake and one of deepest inland bodies of water in North America. Encircled by the Selkirks, Coeur d’Alenes, and the Cabinets mountain ranges, Lake Pend Orielle offers an exceptional setting for a weekend trip. Activities of the trip focus on taking advantage of all the lake has to offer and include kayaking, canoeing, and biking. Participants will also share meals together while connecting with other students and parents. Additionally, experiences highlight opportunities to reform family bonds and create new, positive memories together. Participating staff members will also be available for support and guidance.

The Lake Pend Orielle Weekend Getaway will take place on June 17 through June 19, 2016. For more information about it and other parent-child trips, visit bouldercreekacademy.com/adventure/parent-child-trips.