Dr. Adle Diamond, PhD, FRSC
Canada Research Chair Professor of Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience
Insights from Neuroscience and Developmental Science To Help Every Child Succeed
Power point slides from Adele Diamonds lecture
"Executive functions" (EFs) are core skills critical for cognitive, social, and psychological development, mental and physical health, and success in school and in life. Key qualities for success include creativity, flexibility, self-control, and discipline. All of those are EFs or are made possible by EFs. EF skills are amenable to improvement through training and practice. Indeed, diverse activities have been shown to improve children’s executive functions (EFs), including computerized training with or without other types of games, aerobics, martial arts, yoga, mindfulness, and certain school curricula. Regardless of the intervention, a couple of principles seem to hold: (1) EFs can be improved even in very young children. (2) EFs need to be continually challenged; if EF demands do not keep increasing as children improve, few gains are seen. (3) Whether EF gains are seen depends on the way an activity is done and the amount of time spent doing it, practicing and pushing oneself to do better. It’s the discipline, the practice, that produces the benefits. Even the best activity for improving EFs if done rarely produces little benefit. We are not just intellects; we have social needs, emotions, and bodies. The importance of social, emotional, and physical health for cognitive health is nowhere more evident than with EFs. EFs are the first to suffer, and suffer disproportionately, if we are lonely, sad, sleep-deprived, or not physically fit. Therefore, if we want the best EF performance and the best academic outcomes for our children, we need to nurture the whole child; we need our children to feel they have a supportive community they can count on, we need them to feel joyful, and we need their bodies to be strong and healthy. What nourishes the human spirit, it turns out, also appears to be best for executive functions. Traditional activities that have been part of every culture throughout time, such as dance, music-making, martial arts and sports, can be immensely helpful. They challenge our EFs, make us happy and proud, provide a sense of belonging, and help our bodies develop. A school curriculum that ignores children’s physical, social, or emotional needs will find that those unmet needs will work against the achievement of academic goals.
Dr. Dan Flannery
Professor and Director of the Center for Violence Prevention Research and Education Case Western Reserve University
Podcast of Dr. Dan Flannery
"Violence and mental health in everyday life"
Everyone experiences violence in their lives to varying degrees every day, as a witness or as a victim, based on where they live, what they see in the media, who they know, or in the community that surrounds them. Violence exposure significantly increases one’s chance of becoming a perpetrator of aggression and violence against others. The effects of daily exposure to violence are evident in brain development, mental health symptoms like depression, anxiety, and anger, behaviors such as substance use and academic achievement, and in risk for perpetration, from bullying to inflicting intentional injury and domestic violence. In this presentation, Dr. Flannery will discuss violence exposure as witness and victim as well as its relationship to mental health and behaviors, illustrated through a variety of studies conducted with youth and families, law enforcement agencies, treatment providers, and juvenile and adult offenders.
Dr. Dan Flannery is the Semi J. and Ruth Begun Professor and Director of the Begun Center for Violence Prevention Research and Education at the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences (MSASS) at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU). From 1998 through 20010, he served as founding Director of the Institute for the Study and Prevention of Violence at Kent State University. He is also a licensed clinical-child psychologist , a member of the graduate faculty of the University of Notre Dame, and an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Case Western Reserve University / University Hospitals of Cleveland. He is senior editor of Youth Violence: Prevention, Intervention and Social Policy (1999) for American Psychiatric Press and of the Cambridge Handbook of Violent Behavior and Aggression (2007) by Cambridge University Press. He is also author of Violence and mental health in everyday life: Prevention and intervention for children and adolescents (2006) for Rowman & Littlefield.
His primary areas of research are in youth violence prevention, the link between violence and mental health, and program evaluation. He received his PhD in 1991 in Clinical-Child Psychology from The Ohio State University. His previous appointments were as Assistant Professor of Family Studies at the University of Arizona, Associate Professor of Child Psychiatry at CWRU, and Professor of Criminal Justice Studies and Public Health at Kent State University. He was named a University Distinguished Scholar at Kent State in 2006 and appointed in 2008 by the U.S. Secretary of Education to the U.S. Department of Education’s Safe and Drug Free Schools Community Advisory Committee. Dr. Flannery has generated as Principal or Co-principal investigator over 20 million dollars in externally funded research. He has served as advisor to various local and national organizations including the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Crime Prevention Council and the National Resource Center for Safe Schools.
Dr. Jan McCulloch
Professor & Department Head Univerisity of Minnesota
Podcast of Dr. Jan McCulloch
"Elder Rural Women's Health Decision Making: Do Concerns for Family Matter?"
Prior research has focused largely on the interactions of older women with healthcare providers and the interaction styles that physicians use with older women. The relational interactions that occur prior to the point-of-entry into a healthcare setting remain largely unexplored. Older women’s interactions with socially important others, such as family and friends, in times of health needs and concerns, are missing from the literature. There is little research to date focusing on how older women interact with significant others and how these interactions influence older women as they make personal decisions about their health.
The purpose of Dr. McCulloch’s current qualitative study was to add an understanding of the ways older women display and articulate care for others and how this relational dynamic with socially important others influenced their own health decision-making and self-care. In particular, Dr. McCulloch explored the process of older women’s caring for others by protecting them from worry, bother, and burden, even when the older women’s health may suffer.
Dr. Stephen T. Russell
Professor & Fitch Nesbitt Endowed Chair, University of Arizona
"Being Out And Gay In High School: Victimization And Young Adult Adjustment"
Contemporary lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth are among the first to “come out” during adolescence. Many come out at school, a crucial peer environment at this age. For adolescents, coming out is associated with greater risk for peer victimization and harassment. At the same time, studies of LGBT adults indicate that coming out is associated with positive social and emotional adjustment. If coming out has developmental benefits, do such benefits out-weigh the risks of victimization that may result from coming out as LGBT in adolescence?
Drawing from theories of stigma, identity development, and research on contemporary LGBT youth, competing hypotheses are tested using data from a study of 245 LGBT young adults (the Family Acceptance Project). Results show that school victimization is a strong mediator of the link between being out at school and young adult adjustment. Further, once school victimization is taken into account, there is a strong positive association between being out in high school and young adult adjustment. Implications for education practice and policy are discussed.
Dr. Martha Rueter
Associate Professor, University of Minnesota
"When Children Are Not Genetically Related to Their Parents: What Do We Really Know About Parent-Child Communication?"