A subset of cognitive skills, called executive functions, which are impaired by an accident or condition (e.g., ADHD). If an accident occurs causing injury to the frontal lobe, the area of the brain responsible for executive functions is damaged. This injury can directly affect attention, memory, problem-solving, organization, time-management, and emotional regulation. With ADHD, the frontal lobe is underdeveloped. In both cases, a practical treatment program for the executive function skills is recommended.
What are Executive Functions?
Executive functions are cognitive processes that are governed in the frontal lobe of the brain. The skills themselves can be divided into two broad categories:
- Regulation: initiation of action, self-control, impulsivity, emotional regulation, self-monitoring, moral reasoning, decision-making
- Organization: attention, planning, sequencing, problem-solving, working memory, time-management, cognitive flexibility, abstract thinking
Symptoms of executive functions difficulty
- Difficulty paying attention when necessary
- Difficulty planning your schedule or your day
- Difficulty sequencing the steps required to complete a task
- Difficulty in finding a solution to a common problem
- Misplacing your belongings
- Disorganized or cluttered living environment
- Being chronically late or excessive procrastination
- Having trouble thinking of a different perspective, solution or side to a story
- Difficulty thinking about concepts that are not concrete
- Difficulty starting tasks and in transitions
- Difficulty with emotional outbursts and anger
- Difficulty executing a plan
- Difficulty in self-evaluating
- Difficulty knowing what is ethically right or wrong
- Difficulty making decisions
For more information on executive functions or cognitive remediation for adult ADHD, see here.