The ADHD-Executive Dysfunction Link
“The most practical way to view ADHD, from my point of view, is as a developmental delay in executive function,” says Mark Bertin, M.D. In this video, learn what happens when the “brain manager” fails for people with attention deficit disorder.
“ADHD is a cognitive disorder,” says Thomas Brown, Ph.D., “a developmental impairment of executive functions — the self-management system of the brain.”
This is a sentiment echoed by more and more experts in the ADHD community, including Mark Bertin, M.D., who says, “The most practical way to view ADHD, from my point of view, is as a developmental delay in executive function.”
Generally, executive functions are the cognitive or mental abilities that people need to actively pursue goals. They direct actions, control behavior, and motivate us to achieve our goals and prepare for future events. Executive functions help us plan projects, chart timelines, prioritize tasks, and hit deadlines.
Russell Barkley, Ph.D., who has been at the forefront of exploring the relationship between ADHD and executive dysfunction, says,”In my experience with ADHD, those with the condition have great difficulty using executive functions (self-directed actions) for self-regulation and attaining their goals. This is due to a delay in the development of, or an injury to, those brain networks that create EFs and self-regulation.”
“It is not that the individual does not know what to do. It is that somehow it does not get done.”
When executive functions fail, people have difficulty with:
- Non-verbal working memory
- Verbal working memory
- Emotional self-regulation
- Planning and problem solving
In this video, from his ADDitude webinar titled “ADHD Plus: Diagnosing and Treating Comorbid Conditions in Children,” Dr. Mark Bertin explains what executive dysfunction means for people with ADHD:
Learn More About Executive Dysfunction:
1. Take This Test: Could You Have an Executive Function Deficit?
2. Take This Test: Could Your Child Have an Executive Function Deficit?
3. Take This Test: Do You Have a Working Memory Deficit?
4. Take This Test: Does Your Child Have a Working Memory Deficit?
5. Quiz: Do You REALLY Know the Signs of an Executive Dysfunction?
6. Download Is It Executive Function Disorder?
7. Research Treatments for Executive Dysfunction
8. Read Executive Function Disorder, Explained!
9. Listen to “How ADHD Affects Executive Function in Adults and Kids” — an Expert Webinar with Russell Barkley, Ph.D.
Updated on February 8, 2019