I joined the MindSpark team in November 2021 as a Research Assistant.

I hadn’t previously been introduced to executive function skills but was drawn to the role on the basis that I could see my work would be helping to support those with neurodiverse conditions.

Having earned a Distinction from a MA in Social Research, my desire was to work in a position where I could put my research skills to use in a way that would directly benefit others who faced challenges in their lives. With lived experience of mental illness, and a dissertation that focused on mental health, much of my research experience was in the field of mental health. I was seeking out a role where I could use my ability to understand human emotions and empathise with people, as well as my strong qualitative research skills, to better the lives of others.

Having researched them prior to being offered the role, I saw the emotional and behavioural impact that supporting the development of executive function skills could have on a young person. Particularly those with neurodiverse conditions. It was something I really wanted to be a part of.

From my first day working with MindSpark, I have immersed myself in executive functions and have seen the positive impact that embedding a focus on them into education and coaching can have.

In fact, discovering executive function skills has supported me in my day-to-day life. I have identified improvements in my response inhibition, emotion control, and planning and prioritisation. That reflects how an understanding of executive function skills can benefit anyone, irrespective of their neurological state.

It has consistently been a joy to speak to those in settings where executive function support is offered to young people. Whether that be in education or elsewhere, to gather their reflections on the impact that embedding executive function language into their classroom or delivering executive function coaching to those individuals with the greatest challenges has had. The responses are almost always positive, both for the facilitators and for the young people they are supporting. Contributing to research that will strengthen the benefits of utilising executive function skill development is something I’m very proud of.

Regularly I have interacted with facilitators who have developed a passion for executive functions, creating cultures in their schools, youth centres or other environments that are shaped around executive functions. There are no doubt many others out there who, if they were to see the success of MindSpark’s work through our research and participate in executive function training, would experience a similar passion after being introduced to executive function skills. The more individuals, schools, and clubs who take part in the training, the more young people who will gain the beneficial outcomes from executive function teaching or coaching that is so often reported in our research.

So too is it a pleasure to work with a fantastic team at MindSpark who share a similar commitment to supporting others and passion for executive function skills.

We are all committed to providing the best possible support to young people, whether that be through the delivery of executive function coach training or researching the outcomes.