What’s the Link Between Executive Functions and ADHD?
“Can you explain how executive functions relate to ADHD? I’ve read a lot about them, but I don’t understand what they do.”
An executive function (EF) is a self-directed action, a kind of self-control, that is used to improve a person’s future welfare – to accomplish a goal. I think there are at least six such actions: inhibition and resistance of distraction, self-awareness, working memory, planning and problem-solving, emotional self-control, and self-motivation. In my experience with ADHD, those with the condition have great difficulty using EFs (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.
Those with ADHD must either be helped to correct these delays/deficits, or at least compensate for them (through accommodations), in order to be more effective or successful in managing themselves.