Speaker: Dr. Adele Diamond, University of British Columbia
Title: Research Insights into Promoting the Well-Being of Children and their Families
Date & Time: Friday April 17, 2015 from 7:00pm - 8:30pm
Location: Bell Harbor International Conference Center, Bay Auditorium
Adele Diamond is the Tier 1 Canada Research Chair Professor of Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, BC, Canada. One of the pioneers in the field of Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, Adele is at the forefront of research on executive functions. Executive functions include 'thinking outside the box' (cognitive flexibility), mentally relating ideas and facts (working memory), and giving considered responses rather than impulsive ones, resisting temptations and staying focused (inhibitory control, including selective attention). These abilities are crucial for problem-solving, creativity, reasoning, and success in all life’s aspects. Adele studies how executive functions are affected by biological factors (e.g., genes and neurochemistry) and by environmental ones (e.g., impaired by stress or improved by interventions) especially in children. She has made discoveries that have improved treatment for medical disorders (PKU and ADHD) and impacted early education, improving the lives of thousands of children. Her work has shown that executive functions can be improved at any age, even in the very young. Recently Adele has turned her attention to the possible roles of traditional activities, such as music and dance, in improving executive functions, academic outcomes, and mental health. See Dr. Diamond's recent TEDx talk: Turning some Ideas on their Head
The most important predictor of the success of an early childhood program, psychotherapy, or a parent-child relationship is that the child feel that his/her teacher, therapist, or parent really, truly cares about him or her. Your love -- your openness to truly listen; being there for a child when he or she needs you -- is more important than your knowledge or skill or doing the textbook-perfect thing. So relax; you don’t need to have read all the books or have the perfect methodology. And, you can do the textbook-perfect thing, but if it doesn’t come from the right place, it will not have the desired result.
There is a bi-directional relationship between the prefrontal cortex of the brain and stress. Stress impairs the functioning of prefrontal cortex but prefrontal cortex can help us handle stress. When you feel stressed, putting feelings into words produces therapeutic effects on the brain – it gets prefrontal cortex more involved.
Evidence shows the fundamental interrelatedness of the different parts of ourselves, and of each of us to one another. Physical, social, emotional, and cognitive health are all fundamentally interconnected. Prefrontal cortex and executive functions are the first to suffer, and suffer disproportionately, if we are sad, stressed, lonely, sleep-deprived, or not physically fit. (You may have noticed that when you are stressed or ill you cannot think as clearly or exercise as good self-control.) Conversely, we show better executive functions when we are happy, feel socially supported, and are physically fit. We need to nurture the whole child; our children need to do things that they are passionately interested in and which bring them joy, they need to feel they are in supportive community they can count on, and their bodies need to be strong and healthy.
Click here for Dr. Diamond's full biography and abstract
Full Conference Details
Please visit http://depts.washington.edu/ccfwb/content/2015-mindfulness-research-conference for full details.
Click here for conference agenda.
*Note: Registration here is for the keynote address only. This lecture is included with full conference registration. If you have already registered for the full conference, you will not need to register for this lecture separately.