The importance of executive functioning and self-regulatory abilities to children’s school readiness is a topic of growing interest among researchers and educators. For children who have experienced early adversity, these abilities may be particularly likely to be compromised and to contribute to poor school functioning. In this presentation, the Kids in Transition to School Program, a brief, intensive intervention designed to improve the school readiness skills, including executive functioning, of children in foster care was explained. Results from a randomized, controlled trial of the intervention with 192 children in foster care suggest that the intervention leads to improvements in executive functioning, specifically inhibitory control, as well as more general self-regulatory abilities. Results are supported by both behavioral and electrophysiological data. Implications for the design of interventions to improve executive functioning in children at risk will be discussed.
Pears Presentation Slides (PDF - 281 KB)
Dr. Katherine C. Pears is a Research Scientist at the Oregon Social Learning Center. She has examined intraindividual, interpersonal, and contextual factors that contribute to the school readiness and early school adjustment of high risk children including maltreated children in foster care. Dr. Pears is interested in the early experiences that shape self-regulatory and executive functioning abilities and how these abilities subsequently affect school readiness and school adjustment. Currently, she is the principal investigator on two randomized efficacy trials of a school readiness intervention for high-risk children: maltreated children in foster care and children with developmental disabilities and co-occurring behavioral problems.
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