Ninety percent of those diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder struggle with executive functioning. Just like ADHD, executive dysfunction is different for each person. The first step towards addressing it is building awareness of your executive function strengths and weaknesses.
Executive Dysfunction Test - Self Assessments
When someone exhibits a pattern of chronic difficulties in executing daily duties, staying on task or organizing their world, this may be the result of an Executive Function Disorder (EFD). Take one of these executive dysfunction questionnaires to see if you or your child might have an executive dysfunction disorder.
If you want to analyze specific executive functioning strengths and weaknesses, download this executive dysfunction test developed by Peg Dawson and Richard Guare. It will summarize each executive function category addressed in this questionnaire. Please note that this executive dysfunction test is not intended to provide a diagnosis - rather, it should be used as a tool for developing self-awareness of strengths and weaknesses, highlighting the things we are naturally good at and the areas we may need to improve. This reflective process of analyzing strengths and weaknesses is empowering, as it allows students and adults to take an honest inventory of why certain things about life are harder, while others are easier. It also empowers us to take action, with a stronger sense of agency, in developing the skills to improve the outcomes in life.
Tool and Interventions for Improving Executive Dysfunction and Supporting Working Memory, Future Planning, and Metacognition.
A planner is essential for the management of life. An agenda is used daily to manage the learning process—a vital building block for future planning skills.
Visualizing and Verbalizing is a helpful process for strengthening nonverbal and verbal working memory skills.
EF Skills. Visualize and Verbalize. Presentation clip with Dr. Murphy.
Build Metacognitive skills by engaging children in the problem solving process.
Parent coaching. Building executive function skills in the home.
Interventions to address self-regulation skills
Self-regulation skills are essential for the effective use of executive functions. Through executive function coaching, clients develop intentional self-regulation strategies to directly improve executive dysfunction, focus, decision making and problem solving skills.
For those with executive dysfunction, shifting attention and initiating goal-directed action towards non preferred tasks like homework, chores, projects, or papers is a consistent challenge. For many children and young adults with ADHD, engaging in non preferred tasks feels overwhelming. Momentary procrastination may feel easier - until the pressure of time becomes too great. This decision-making process is stressful and leaves clients feeling defeated and exhausted. There are interventions to improve self-regulation and focus. These are a few suggestions:
- Meditation and refocus training: 3 - 5 minutes a day can have significant impacts on mood and attention
- Self-talk strategies: automatic negative thoughts and positive self-talk
- Journaling: writing things down anchors attention and decision making
- Deep breathing: reset through square breathing
- Exercise: decreases anxiety and improves working memory
Metacognitive strategies: analyzing barriers and their accompanying strategies