Welcome to the second edition of The PAR Quarterly. This newsletter is designed to highlight topics of interest to you, our Customers. In each issue, we will focus on a topic relevant to psychology and assessment, and we'll provide some useful links for those who want more in-depth information. We also want to be sure that you have the most up-to-date information about PAR's assessment instruments, including what's new—or recently revised—in our catalog. Please feel free to pass along this newsletter to any members of your staff who may be interested, as well. In this second issue, we consider the topic of Executive Function.
Executive Function (EF) is a broad term for the processes that are responsible for managing cognitive, emotional, and behavioral functions. EF affects planning, decision making, abstract thinking, cognitive flexibility, rule acquisition, initiating appropriate actions, and inhibiting inappropriate actions. It is particularly important during active, novel problem solving. The development of Executive Function is quite prolonged in comparison with other cognitive functions. Research has shown that although it begins in infancy, EF continues to be refined as the individual ages—through childhood, adolescence, and even into adulthood.
Executive Function has become a hot topic in recent years. The number of scholarly articles on EF in children has grown dramatically over the past ten years. From this growing body of evidence, it has become clear that EF is an important component of how all individuals function in a variety of settings including home, school, and work. There is a strong link between EF and how students perform in the classroom; only recently, however, have assessments become available that are appropriate for use in schools.
EF difficulties are a contributor to many (if not most) exceptionalities, including Learning Disabilities, Attention Deficit disorder, Traumatic Brain Injury, Tourette's disorder, Obsessive Compulsive disorder, and others. The good news, however, is that Executive Functioning in the individual is responsive to targeted intervention.
There are many excellent resources for families, school personnel, and others who work with young people who have Executive Function problems. For parents, an good choice is Late, Lost and Unprepared: A Parent's Guide to Helping Children with Executive Functioning by Joyce Cooper-Kahn, PhD and Laurie Dietzel, PhD. School personnel should consider Executive Skills in Children and Adolescents: A Practical Guide to Assessment and Intervention by Peg Dawson, ED and Richard Guare, PhD. LDOnline, a website about learning disabilities and ADHD, includes a series of articles about helping children with EF problems tackle everyday challenges such as managing homework and curbing inappropriate behavior (http://www.ldonline.org).
For an overview of the research, PAR has compiled a select bibliography on Executive Function; click on http://www4.parinc.com/webuploads/productinfo/brief_bib.pdf to learn more about EF and EF assessment.
PAR's Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function (BRIEF) products were designed to assess EF in both home and school environments. The BRIEF family of products includes assessments at the preschool, school-age, adolescent, and adult levels. These assessments are invaluable tools for focused treatment and educational planning. The BRIEF Software Portfolio can be used to score the BRIEF and generate useful reports with intervention recommendations. To learn more, click on http://www4.parinc.com/Products/Product.aspx?ProductID=BRIEF; choose the "related products" tab to see all of the available options in the BRIEF family.
PAR's Test of Executive Control (TEC) is a recent addition to the EF toolkit. The TEC uses a novel approach to EF assessment that looks at two fundamental components of EF: working memory and inhibitory control. To learn more, click on http://www4.parinc.com/Products/Product.aspx?ProductID=TEC.
PAR has now taken the lead as the first in the test publishing industry to provide some of your favorite products in digital versions. Eleven of our most popular manuals—including manuals for the BRIEF family of products—are now available to download online. No need to carry heavy hard copies; now you can access the information you need from your computer or laptop, at the click of a mouse! To order your digital copies, visit their individual product pages on this Web site.
PAR is also delighted to announce a useful new app that will soon be available for your iPhone or other mobile device. Developed by concussion experts Gerard A. Gioia, PhD, and Jason Mihalik, PhD, the app quickly guides you through a list of possible symptoms and directs your next steps. Look for more about this app in upcoming issues of the PAR Quarterly or online on this Web site.
Finally, come talk to us in person to discuss your assessment needs. A PAR representative will be attending these upcoming conferences. We encourage all of our Customers to stop by and say hello!
From its modest beginnings in Bob and Cathy Smith's home 40 years ago, PAR has grown into a leading publisher of psychological assessment materials designed to help our Customers better serve their clients.