Earlier in this special issue I outlined four themes that contribute to the growing research interest in studies of executive function in childhood populations. These were: (1) the importance of executive dysfunction in accounts of developmental disorders such as Autism and ADHD; (2) methodological insights arising from the development of new techniques for assessing children's emerging executive functions; (3) evidence for a fractionated or componential view of executive control; and (4) the relation between individual differences in young children's performance on tests of executive function and ‘theory of mind’. In this paper, these four themes are used to integrate the findings from all the papers in this special issue on executive functions and development. Copyright © 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.