I have been a Clinical Social Worker for over 15 years now and a mother for the last 14 years. I was also a child that struggled in school and life with ADD but was not diagnosed until I was in my 40’s. My diagnosis came on the heels of my son’s diagnosis when he was in the 3rd grade.
I am currently a clinical psychotherapist working in private practice in Austin, Texas and my mission is to assist other adults that are struggling with symptoms of ADD/ADHD. My hope is to assist them in creating systems to successfully manage their ADD/ADHD instead of it managing them. I hope you find the information I share here to be helpful in your journey of managing ADD/ADHD.
How to Function Successfully With an Executive Function Disorder
The goal of this article is to shed some light on what Executive Function is and how it affects people with ADD/ADHD. Another goal is to identify the areas that are affected and to provide strategies and systems that will aide in successfully managing these deficits.
What is Executive Function?
Executive Function is a group of interrelated mental skills, performed in the frontal cortex of our brain, that help us analyze, organize, plan, develop, adjust, and complete a task. Basically, the frontal cortex is the organizing center of the brain and this function allows us to focus on multiple streams of information at one time. Guess what? This is the area in which we are challenged and leads us to feel overwhelmed and stressed. No wonder we can’t function “normally” no matter how hard we try. We are smart and determined after-all but the problem is our executive function is not functioning.
Dysfunction in Executive Function
A diagnosis of ADD/ADHD most often includes a dysfunction in this area of the brain. In his book “Taking Charge of Adult ADHD”, Russell Barkley, PhD. highlights an important point that deficits in these mental skills are much more obvious in children with ADHD than they are in adults with ADHD. Many undiagnosed adults just accept these dysfunctions as the norm because struggling to
complete tasks is a part of daily life that has not been questioned before. Going through school and life, in general, adults may have been categorized as being “lazy”, “forgetful”, “sloppy”, or “living in la la land”. Unfortunately, the last comment being an actual comment a teacher used to describe my son in 4th grade.