Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD is a brain-based condition that makes it difficult for children to concentrate. It also makes it hard for kids to organize and manage themselves as well as use working memory.
ADHD affects children and teenagers and can prolong to adulthood. Children with ADHD find it challenging to control their impulses and are hyperactive. They may also have problems with paying attention, hence, interfering with their home and school lives.
There is a correlation between executive function and ADHD. Let us explore more about executive function and ADHD.
About Executive function
Executive function is the brain process that organizes activities and thoughts. It is the cognitive function that manages time efficiently, prioritizes tasks as well as making decisions. Executive function skills help you develop structures and strategies for completing projects.
The skills enable an individual to establish the actions needed to move each project forward. People and children with ADHD have executive function problems and usually struggle to examine, plan, manage, schedule, and complete tasks. They end up losing stuff, prioritizing the wrong things and become overwhelmed by massive projects.
What are the prime executive function skills?
It would be helpful to understand the specific parts of the brain that control executive function. Executive function can also mean how you behave toward your future objectives. Additionally, the mental capabilities you require to accomplish your goals are the executive function skills.
The term can also mean self-regulation to some extent. Executive function skills include;
- Non-verbal working memory
- Verbal working memory
- Emotional self-regulation
- Planning and problem solving
Anyone who has symptoms of ADHD will have challenges with most or all of the seven executive functions. For example, someone with ADHD will have issues with inhibition or self-restraint. This can lead to impulsive actions.
On the other hand, they might have trouble with emotional regulation leading to inappropriate outbursts. It is important to note that ADHD is EFDD or an executive function deficit disorder. The seven skills develop over time.
Self-awareness begins to develop at age 2. Planning, organizing, and problem-solving should be entirely developed by age 30. People with ADHD are usually approximately 30 to 40 percent behind in the transitioning process.
Children and adults with ADHD have challenges when dealing with age-appropriate situations. Understanding these executive functions can help parents detect ADHD early. This will ensure the child is professionally evaluated and accommodated before they start to struggle in school.
Who are the professionals who can help with ADHD and executive functioning issues?
Neurologists, psychiatrists, pediatricians, nurse practitioners, and developmental-behavioral pediatricians
All these professionals can diagnose ADHD as well as prescribe medication. However, regarding executive functioning issues, they can only refer the child to specialists. The specialists can then evaluate for the impairment of executive functioning issues and other learning difficulties.
The doctor can evaluate for ADHD, learning differences, and common mental health problems that may co-occur. Evaluation entails tests that examine executive function.
Clinical child psychologists
These specialists can diagnose ADHD as well as mental health issues that might co-occur, such as anxiety. They can also evaluate executive functioning problems when testing for learning differences. The doctors can offer behavior therapy aimed to help kids manage their interactions and actions.
The good news is, there are accommodations to support children and people who have ADHD executive function issues. It will also help to get in touch with an ADHD coach, for example, from Honestly ADHD. Getting all the support can help adults with ADHD, and parents whose children have ADHD, cope well.