In their first 24 hours at Cornerstones a new resident receives a daily planner and thus begins their executive functioning training that will continue over the course of their time at the Cornerstones residence. Executive functioning impairments are a core problem that we confront at Cornerstones and an almost universal struggle that our residents suffer. For this reason we have to incorporate executive functioning development into every area of our programming and utilize insights from research on executive functioning to inform the support we provide our residents. 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.
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 contribute significantly to success in life. Luckily, research has consistently shown that executive functioning can be improved throughout a person's lifetime. Our residents executive functioning limitations have led to academic and occupational difficulties, interpersonal challenges, and overall feelings of inadequacy. This is why 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 all of our residents.