Executive function

A number of research studies have linked executive function difficulties with epilepsy, particularly frontal and temporal lobe epilepsy*.

Executive functioning issues are difficulties with a set of important mental skills that are key to learning. Kids who have trouble with executive function often struggle with working memory, flexible thinking, and self-control.

A neuropsychologist may help you to understand if your child has difficulty with executive function using an assessment such as the Behaviour Rating Inventory of Executive Function (BRIEF). The

Australian Psychological Society has a list of psychologists and your GP will be able to assist with a referral.

Three areas of executive function

*Parrish, J. et al (2007) Executive functioning in childhood epilepsy: parent report and cognitive assessment. Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology 49(6), 412-416.

Riva, D. et al (2005). Unilateral frontal lobe epilepsy affects executive functions in children. Neurological Sciences 22(4), 203-270.
Slick, D. et al (2006) Frequency of Scale Elevations and Factor Structure of the Behaviour Rating Inventory of executive Function (BRIEF) in children and adolescents with intractable epilepsy. Child Neuropsychology 12(3).

Keller, S. et al (2009) Quantitative MRI of the prefrontal cortex and executive function in patients with temporal lobe epilepsy. Epilepsy and Behaviour 15(2), 186-196.

Culhane-Shelburn, K. et al (2002) Executive Functions in children with frontal and temporal lobe epilepsy. Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society 8(5), 623-632.

Hoie, B et al (2008) The combined burden of cognitive, executive function and psychosocial problems in children with epilepsy: a population based study. Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology 50(7), 530-536.