When people here the term Executive Functioning (EFD), it can trigger several different responses. The light bulb can go off in some people’s heads while other are skeptical about its diagnosis. I hear things like you just need to work harder or this is just another made-up disorder/disease. Well I wouldn’t quite categorize this as a disease, but it definitely has an impact personally, professionally, and educationally.
So what is EFD? It can specifically be diagnosed as one’s ability to plan, initiate, sequence, monitor and inhibit goal directed behavior. In other words, on a specific task, can an individual lay out a plan of action, execute the plan and finish what was started.
Asking someone with EFD to finish even the easiest tasks can be like pulling teeth. It is like asking the individual to eat a whole steak without cutting into small and more manageable pieces (and for fun, let’s throw in there’s no plate, fork or knife). Additionally, adverse coping strategies may develop. This leads to avoidance. It becomes the ultimate goal instead of completing whats at hand.
Treatment for EFD is not easy. There is no one-size-fits-all diagnosis. Identification of how it impacts the individual is a starting point. To put this in perspective, some individuals can start a task but not finish while some cannot start a task but will do great once he/she gets going. The impact is still the same; tasks are not getting done. The best place to start improving EFD is to work with a qualified professional who will demonstrate and educate one about good strategies and techniques. I would avoid hiring someone who will do the work, but one who will help the individual develop his/her own skills and strategies.
For more helpful tips an suggestions, please check out my ADHD Guru podcast on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher or TuneIn Radio. You can also find me on Twitter (@adhdguru) and Instagram (@adhdguru). Feel free to email me at [email protected] or call 877.398.ADHD (2343) with any additional questions.