Executive functioning is a term used to describe the cognitive skills responsible for initiating, planning, and organizing behavior. This involves strategizing, focusing, maintaining attention, self-regulating, and problem solving. Deficits in executive functioning can result in global disorganization, decreased motivation, rigid thinking, limited self-awareness, and difficulty regulating emotions and impulses. At Cornerstones we structure our program to improve and develop all of the above skills. Recent research by James Heckman and others shows how these skills are learned and emphasizes the need for them to be developed in children from a young age. Executive functioning and associated character traits such as leadership skills, resourcefulness, conscientiousness, and self-control, are now seen as parts of a learned process that contributes significantly to success in life
Residents enter our program with varying degrees of executive functioning skills. Many of our residents arrive with limitations in executive functioning skills that may have led to academic or occupational difficulties, interpersonal challenges, and overall feelings of inadequacy. Addressing, improving, and developing executive functioning is a core part of the Cornerstones program. Underlying our independent living skills development, and our academic and vocational program is the work of teaching and growing the executive functioning of our residents.