What is Executive Function Disorder and how can I tell if my child suffers from this?
Are you frustrated because your child never knows where he has put his things? Does he insist he handed his paper to the teacher, but nobody has seen this paper? Does he tell you his notebook is at school and tell the teacher that it is at home? Can your teenager manage his day without your help? Does he set his alarm and get up on his own? Is he disorganized and unable to prioritize the things that are important?
What about self- regulation? Are his emotions all over the place and is he unable to self regulate? Can he ignore distractions and stay focused on the task at hand? Does he remember what he reads and is he able to use that information to answer questions or retell a story? Does he have trouble dealing with challenging social situations?
Your child may have Executive Function Disorder
Executive function and self-regulation skills are the mental processes that enable us to plan, focus attention, remember instructions, and juggle multiple tasks successfully. Just as an air traffic control system at a busy airport safely manages the arrivals and departures of many aircraft on multiple runways, the brain needs this skill set to filter distractions, prioritize tasks, set and achieve goals, and control impulses (Harvard University Center for the Developing Child)
The Three Areas Effected by Executive Function Disorder Are:
- Working Memory (being able to keep information in mind for future reference, such as reading a passage and then answering questions about that passage).
- Cognitive Flexibility (also known as Flexible Thinking. Being able to come up and think of multiple ways of doing something).
- Inhibitory Control (or self-control, being able to ignore distractions and resist temptations).
The Three Categories Above Involve:
- Working Memory
- Flexible Thinking
- Task Initiation
- Impulse Control
- Emotional Control
- Planning and Prioritization
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