Honors Program Theses


Honors Program Thesis (UNI Access Only)

First Advisor

Kenneth Bleile


This thesis was undertaken to explore the idea that treatment to develop a child’s executive functions should begin with early intervention in children from birth to 3 years. The following questions were addressed: how does the infant brain develop? How can brain development be impacted? How does early intervention impact brain development and functioning? How could early intervention impact executive functions? Why do these executive functions matter to us? How can we identify children in need of early intervention for executive functioning? How might caretaker-infant relationships impact executive functioning in infants?

Results of this systematic review of the literature strongly support the position that brain development and, specifically, the development of executive functions can be impacted, and that early intervention can be effective in improving executive functions, perhaps because of the brain’s high neuroplasticity during early childhood. The effects of low executive functioning are grave. Lastly, in the research compiled it was found that caregiver-infant interactions and executive functioning skills are correlated, suggesting that early intervention involving families and caretakers can have a positive influence on child executive functioning.

Year of Submission



Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders

University Honors Designation

A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the designation University Honors

Date Original


Object Description

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