Executive Dysfunction
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Executive Dysfunction, Explained!

Executive dysfunction is a brain-based impairment that impacts a person's ability to analyze, organize, decide, and execute things on time. It causes assignments to be lost, deadlines to be missed, and projects to overwhelm. Learn how to recognize the signs of executive dysfunction, and how to differentiate them from ADHD and/or learning disabilities.

7 Comments: Executive Dysfunction, Explained!

  1. Great article. How do I find the right professional to help my child to train his brain to work within his abilities of having EFD, LD and Add? Is ithis kind of help found in an educator, tutor or life coach. It’s making me nuts that I can’t seem to help my child to organize himself , this is something he will need to be able to do throughout his life!

    1. Search for an Executive Function Coach.

      ADDitude Community Moderator, Parenting ADHD Trainer & Author, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism

  2. So my 26 yr old daughter was diagnosed ADD at 4. We are always learning more about it. Back then many didn’t believe it was a real thing, just poor parenting. It was an eye opener when Dr Amen started showing brain scans of ADD patients. The lack of frontal lobe activity was heartbreaking to see. But we all have our strengths, the type of work an ADD person should look for should avoid the type with unflexible deadlines and quick change overs. The at home self care is a learned skill. Time blocked out for laundry and cleaning, printed lists for daily and weekly tasks and their times is helpful for all brain types. I grew up with the luxury of a stay at home mom, sadly my child had a mom who work 40+ in an unairconditioned factory. I may have a bit of ADD, but mostly exhaustion. Getting some organizing books helped me with at least a few good techniques. A designated place for each kind of item, and a designated time for each activity. One organizer simply says “put like with like” all books together, all clothes together, jewelry, bills, etc., even if piled in a cardboard box or on the floor. Then at least you only have one place to look for an item. I would say that some close friends or family might be willing to come over and pitch in for the pleasure of seeing you a little less frazzled. With ADD it may never be perfect, but it can be doable.

  3. “He might know the material but be unable to write an answer or start a paper because he cannot organize his thoughts.”
    Oh my god I do that all the time!!! I think I’m gonna cry; I’ve been diagnosed with ADHD since I was like 6 (so like a decade now), and I’d never realized that this is part of the Executive Dysfunction part of it,,
    I actually think I might cry – I can’t believe it… I’d always just thought I was broken, or dumb, or something along those lines… I don’t think I’ve ever felt relief like this in my entire life
    I’m so relieved right now, thank you so much for putting this info out there; I can’t even put into words how grateful I am

  4. sometimes I wish that these articles would relate on a home and self care aspect rather education. My son does fairly well educationally but falls short on self care and at home basics. Maybe my son is fine academically because of all the pressure put on for success in education, there are unjust punishments for kids struggling with meeting standards, look at all the testing, add more work, and more work, fall short get held back, missed days tardy and warnings and fines. So focus gets put on the schooling being as successful as possible, focus even by way of this article from an education view, and the self care, survival things go on a back burner. Eventually they are out of school, then what? I just wish it were more relatable to the home self care and survival aspect, so I could relate when it comes to my sons. Why are the articles so education focused?

    1. I agree. There are lots of ways in which school helps my son. It’s at home where we have the most trouble. Simply doing things on his own and understanding time in general is very difficult for him. And he’s 10 years old.

    2. I get where you’re coming from. All the way through undergrad, I did great at school. I’ve always been very intelligent (not bragging I promise), and school gave me the structure I needed to fly under the radar. I think that’s why everyone, myself included, completely missed my issues. I’ve always had issues with time management, organization, planning, etc. in my personal life…my self care has its highs and lows, and I’ve never been consistently on time for school or work. I didn’t really hit a wall until grad school, but I managed to make it through with help from my more organized classmates. I always assumed I was just burnt out from undergrad, so I never comsidered it. Now that I’m advanced in employment, I’ve finally crashed big time…its taken this failure for me to finally put the dots of of my life together. Procrastination/time management plus, as you put it, issues with self-care and survival, were the main clues to the issues I’m experiencing now. I just wish people recognized them as signs earlier.

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