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The Relationship Between Preschool Executive Function Skills and Oral Narrative Skills By: Kathleen Trainor.

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Presentation on theme: "The Relationship Between Preschool Executive Function Skills and Oral Narrative Skills By: Kathleen Trainor."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Relationship Between Preschool Executive Function Skills and Oral Narrative Skills By: Kathleen Trainor

2 What are Executive Functions?  High-Order Cognitive Operations  Cognitive Processes Attention Attention Inhibition Inhibition Working Memory Working Memory  Components Goal Selection Goal Selection Planning/Organizing Planning/Organizing Initiation/Persistence Initiation/Persistence Flexibility Flexibility Execution/Goal Attainment Execution/Goal Attainment Self-Regulation Self-Regulation

3 Development of Executive Functions  Birth to mid-20s  Preschool Executive Function Development Attentional Control Attentional Control Cognitive Flexibility Cognitive Flexibility Information Processing Information Processing Goal Setting Goal Setting

4 Executive Function Development In Preschoolers Senn, Espy, and Kaufmann (2004)  117 children: ages 2;8 – 6;0  4 executive function tasks measuring underlying cognitive processes and early EF components: Working memory (Delayed alternation task) Working memory (Delayed alternation task) Inhibition (Shape School) Inhibition (Shape School) Flexibility (Spatial Reversal) Flexibility (Spatial Reversal) Problem solving/planning (Tower of Hanoi) Problem solving/planning (Tower of Hanoi)  Path analysis used to identify correlation between these skills  Results: Correlation between working memory and inhibition Correlation between working memory and inhibition Working memory and inhibition were interpreted as key skills necessary for early problem solving Working memory and inhibition were interpreted as key skills necessary for early problem solving NO correlation was found between early flexibility and early problem- solving/planning skills NO correlation was found between early flexibility and early problem- solving/planning skills

5 Executive Function Development in Preschoolers Isquith, Gioia, and Espy (2004)  Authors previously developed the BRIEF, a rating scale of observable EF behaviors in children ages  Within BRIEF, EF behaviors converged onto 5 components:  Inhibition, Shifting, Emotional Control, Working Memory, & Planning/ Organizing  Development of preschool EF rating:  201 children, ages 2-5 years  Ratings of preschool children’s EF behavior by parents and teachers  Results: 5 EF components found in the BRIEF, converged into only 3 within the BRIEF-Preschool: 5 EF components found in the BRIEF, converged into only 3 within the BRIEF-Preschool: Inhibition/Inhibitory self control index, Flexibility Index, and Emergent Metacognition Index Inhibition/Inhibitory self control index, Flexibility Index, and Emergent Metacognition Index  Metacognitive abilities were poorly differentiated

6 Executive Functions (& Language) Carlson, Davis, and Leach (2005)  101 typically developing children ages 3- and 4-years old  PPVT-3  “Less is More” task Ability to inhibit initial response while holding rules in mind Ability to inhibit initial response while holding rules in mind Altered pictures in order to establish importance of symbolic representation on inhibitory skills Altered pictures in order to establish importance of symbolic representation on inhibitory skills  Results: Significant correlation between Less is More task and PPVT-3 Significant correlation between Less is More task and PPVT-3 3-year-olds were significantly less accurate in inhibiting initial response, in comparison to 4-year olds 3-year-olds were significantly less accurate in inhibiting initial response, in comparison to 4-year olds

7 Executive Functions (& Language) Carlson (2005)  602 children, ages: 1;10 – 6;11  24 executive function tasks Primarily inhibition and working memory Primarily inhibition and working memory  PPVT-3  Examined developmental progression inhibition and working memory Associated with expected language development Associated with expected language development  Results: Significant relationship between scores on the PPVT-3 and number of EF tasks the children passed. Significant relationship between scores on the PPVT-3 and number of EF tasks the children passed. Performance on majority of tasks showed significant age-related improvement on inhibitory and working memory skills Performance on majority of tasks showed significant age-related improvement on inhibitory and working memory skills Most difficult tasks for all age groups were those which combined inhibitory and working memory demands Most difficult tasks for all age groups were those which combined inhibitory and working memory demands

8 Research Questions  What is the relationship between receptive vocabulary skills as measured by the PPVT and executive functions as measured by the parental report on the BRIEF–P ?  What is the relationship between language skills in narrative form obtained from the Renfrew Bus Story and executive functions as measured by the parental report on the BRIEF–P?

9 Subjects  19 preschool children: 12 male; 7 female  Ages 4;3 to 5;3. Mean=4;10  Not previously diagnosed with a language disorder  Attending a private preschool in Central Illinois

10 Assessment Tools  Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test-4 Receptive language Receptive language  Renfrew Bus Story Story retelling task: oral narrative Story retelling task: oral narrative Informational ContentInformational Content Sentence LengthSentence Length  Behavioral Rating Inventory of Executive Functions – Preschool edition Parents’ rating of executive function ability Parents’ rating of executive function ability Inhibitory Self-control Index – ISCIInhibitory Self-control Index – ISCI Flexibility Index – FIFlexibility Index – FI Emergent Metacognition Index – EMIEmergent Metacognition Index – EMI Global Executive Composite – GECGlobal Executive Composite – GEC T-scores of 65 and above indicate clinical significance/area of concern T-scores of 65 and above indicate clinical significance/area of concern

11 Results PPVTRenfrew Bus Information Content Renfrew Bus Sentence Length Renfrew Bus # of errors M=112 Range: SD=19 M=99 Range: SD=18 M=106 Range: SD=17 M=5 Range: 2-10 SD=2 BRIEF- GEC BRIEF- Inhibit BRIEF- Flexibility BRIEF- Metacognition M=49 Range= SD=13 M=51 Range=36-91 SD=13 M=50 Range=35-83 SD=13 M=50 Range=36-75 SD=12 T Score >65= clinical significance SS<85= clinical significance

12 Relationship between PPVT and Renfrew Bus Story Renfrew Bus Informational Content Renfrew Bus Sentence Length PPVT.49*.34 * Significant correlation at.05 level

13 Relationship between PPVT and BRIEF-P Parent BRIEF- GEC BRIEF- Inhibition BRIEF- Flexibility BRIEF- Metacognition PPVT No significant correlations

14 Relationship between Renfrew Bus Story and BRIEF-P Parent BRIEF- GEC BRIEF- Inhibition BRIEF- Flexibility BRIEF- Metacognition Renfrew Bus Informational Content -.58** * -.63** Renfrew Bus Sentence Length -.66**-.55*-.59**-.77** *significant correlation at.05 level **significant correlation at.01 level

15 Discussion  Compared to past studies: Did not find significant correlations w/PPVT and EF, as Carlson and Carlson et. al did in the past. Did not find significant correlations w/PPVT and EF, as Carlson and Carlson et. al did in the past. However did find correlations between oral narrative language skills and executive function behavior, particularly for the EF components of working memory and planning. However did find correlations between oral narrative language skills and executive function behavior, particularly for the EF components of working memory and planning.  Interpretations/Implications Functional language tasks, such as story telling and discourse, require not only basic language skills, but also executive function skills such as inhibitory control, working memory, flexibility, and planning. Functional language tasks, such as story telling and discourse, require not only basic language skills, but also executive function skills such as inhibitory control, working memory, flexibility, and planning.  Limitations Small sample size Small sample size  Future Research Extend to larger sample size of preschool and school-aged children. Extend to larger sample size of preschool and school-aged children. Extend analysis to encompass children with various types of language disorders Extend analysis to encompass children with various types of language disorders Consider means of identifying profiles of emerging EF skills relative to developing language skills. Consider means of identifying profiles of emerging EF skills relative to developing language skills.

16 References  Anderson, P. (2002). Assessment and development of executive function (EF) during childhood. Child Neuropsychology, 8,  Anderson, V. A., Anderson, P., Northam, E., Jacobs, R., & Catroppa, C. (2001). Development of executive functions through late childhood and adolescence in and australian sample. Developmental Neuropsychology, 20,  Carlson, S. (2005). Developmentally sensitive measures of executive function in preschool children. Developmental Neuropsychology, 28(2),  Carlson, S., Davis, A., & Leach, J. (2005). Less is more: executive function and symbolic representation in preschool children. Psychological Science, 16(8),  Dawson, P., & Guare, R. (2004). Executive skills in children and adolescents. New York: The Guilford Press.  Dunn, L., & Dunn, D. (Ed.). (2007). Peabody picture vocabulary test, fourth edition. Minneapolis, MN: Pearson Assessments.

17 References  Gioia, G., Espy, K., & Isquith, P. (Ed.). (2003). Behavior rating inventory of executive function - preschool version. Lutz, FL: Psychological Assessment Resources, Inc..  Glasgow, C., & Cowley, J. (1994). Renfrew Bus Story test - North American Edition. Centreville, DE: Centreville School.  Isquith, P., Gioia, G., & Espy, K. (2004). Executive function in preschool children: Examination through everyday behavior. Developmental Neuropsychology, 26(1),  Jurado, M. B., & Rosselli, M. (2007). The elusive nature of executive functions: A review of our current understanding. Neuropsychology Review, 17, doi: /s z  Richard, G. J., & Fahy, J. K. (2005). The source for development of executive functions. East Moline, Illinois: Linguisystems.  Senn, T., Espy, K., & Kaufmann, P. (2004). Using path analysis to understand executive function organization in preschool children. Developmental Neuropsychology, 26(1),  Stuss, D. T., & Alexander, M. P. (2000). Executive functions and the frontal lobes: A conceptual view. Psychological Research, 63,


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