The Executive Director’s Pulse
As an avid reader and researcher, I recently came across the term “executive function”. The study I read stated many deaf individuals do not possess this trait due to a lack of access to language and the world around us during our developing years. Executive function refers to behaviors “that coordinate and control internal and external behaviors such as learning, social interaction, and other goal-oriented behavior” (Marschark, M., Kronenberger, W. G., Rosica, M., Borgna, G., Convertino, C., Durkin, A., Machmer, E., & Schmitz, K. L., 2017). Studies such as the one quoted above have found this trait to be missing in many deaf children and adults, resulting in missed opportunities for career promotion, working memory issues, and weak planning skills. This has led me to examine not only how I parent my own children but how I lead my staff and work to improve myself. My aim at DAC is to not only improve the living and working conditions of our deaf and hard of hearing clients, but to build up my staff, including myself, as we live and work in a world that is not built for us.
The work of any Executive Director, while rewarding, is tough. This is compounded as a disabled Director leading a group of historically marginalized staff. We take on additional labor as deaf folks to teach ourselves what has been systemically denied to or stolen from us. I write this not to say we can’t hold positions that require executive function or manifest its traits in our lives; it just means we are working harder to attain what many have innately. We do the hard work, not just for ourselves, but for the generations of deaf and hard-of-hearing children behind us.
Read more about executive function and the role it plays in deaf and hard of hearing individuals’ lives.