Thursday, July 9, 2009

What is Executive Function?

Many times people don't understand why kids or adults with ADHD act they way they do... and many times it is related to executive function. What is Executive Function anyways? Why are they so impulsive? Why can't they think before they act? Why do they do the same things over and over, eventhough they know it will get them in trouble?

"Executive Function (EF) refers to brain functions that activate, organize, integrate and manage other functions. It enables individuals to account for short and long term consequences of their actions and to plan for those results. It also allows individuals to make real time evaluations of their actions, and make necessary adjustments if those actions are not achieving the desired result."

According to Russell Barkley, PhD, it is the inability to "self-regulate lie at the root of many challenges faced by individuals with AD/HD. He puts forth that they are unable to delay responses, thus acting impulsively, and without adequate consideration of future consequences -- beneficial or negative."

As a parent of a child with ADHD, it is important for me to remember this. Many times I feel like I am punishing my child for something that he does not necessarily have control over. I need to be teaching him strategies to cope with and overcome these challenges. I have been looking for some good techniques on helping my child with executive functions and will definitely share if I find something. Likewise if you have any suggestions or things you have tried, I welcome any suggestions.

Quotes above were taken from the following FAQ on ADHD and Executive Function:

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