Symptom Tests

[Self-Test] Could Your Child Have an Executive Function Deficit?

Up to 90% of kids with ADHD have executive function deficits. Take this symptom self-test to find out whether your child might be struggling with executive dysfunction.

The Executive Function Symptom Test for Children

The seven executive functions (self-awareness, inhibition, non-verbal working memory, verbal working memory, emotional self-regulation, self-motivation, and planning and problem solving) develop consecutively over time. Self-awareness starts to develop around age 2; by age 30, planning and problem solving are fully developed in a neurotypical brain. Individuals with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD or ADD), however, generally lag 30 to 40 percent behind their peers in developing one executive function, and then the next.

Executive Function Disorder is often difficult to ignore during the transitions to 6th or 9th grade, when school structure and schedules change dramatically, and academic expectations increase. Parents and teachers often don’t get why kids can’t work independently on an assignment, and assume they'll "pick up" the necessary skills. It's important to start helping kids with ADHD / EFD early, and acknowledge the problems those disorders cause so that kids don't feel stupid or lazy.

If your child has trouble getting started, can only remember two or three things at a time, struggles with problem solving, or feels overwhelmed at school, he or she might have an executive function deficit. Complete this test for a clearer picture.

This screening test is designed to determine whether your child shows symptoms similar to those of an executive function disorder. Only a trained healthcare professional can make a diagnosis through clinical evaluation. This screener is for personal use only.

My child forgets to bring home materials for homework, or completes his homework and then forgets to hand it in.
My child starts homework assignments, chores, or working on a hobby with gusto, but loses steam before the task is completed.
My child gets in trouble for talking during class and/or being disruptive when the teacher is talking.
My child avoids tasks that require multiple steps or sustained attention.
My child has trouble prioritizing homework assignments or has trouble organizing and planning long-term assignments.
My child is disorganized and messy. His personal work area, school folders, and backpack are jammed with papers.
My child blurts out answers and interrupts others when they are talking.
My child puts off doing homework, school projects, studying for tests, or completing chores until the last minute.
When faced with a problem, my child gets stuck on one possible solution. If that doesn’t work out, he has trouble coming up with alternative solutions.
I have to remind my child to do homework or complete chores around the house.
My child is easily distracted.
My child has difficulty when given instructions that have two or more steps.
My child gets upset when things don’t go his way.

(Optional) Would you like to receive your executive function symptom test results — plus more helpful resources — via email from ADDitude?

Can’t see the self-test questions above? Click here to open this test in a new window.


Executive Function Disorder in Children: Next Steps

1. Take This Test: Does My Child Have ADHD?
2. Take This TestGeneralized Anxiety Disorder in Children
3. Take This Test: Sensory Processing Disorder in Children 
4. Download Is It Executive Function Disorder?
5. Research Treatments for Executive Function Disorder
6. Listen to “How ADHD Affects Executive Function in Adults and Kids” – an Expert Webinar with Russell Barkley, Ph.D.
7. Read Executive Function Disorder, Explained!

Updated on November 27, 2019

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