Understanding and Addressing Executive Dysfunction in ADHD: Insights from the EEC Test

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.

Visualizing and Verbalizing is a helpful process for strengthening nonverbal and verbal working memory skills.

Build Metacognitive skills by engaging children in the problem solving process. 

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

A graphic animation on how to do box breathing.

Frequently Asked Questions

Have questions? Get in touch or look at the FAQ section.

Learn more about your personal journey with our Executive Dysfunction Test in the FAQ section.

Have more question in mind? Get In Touch with me.

  • What is an Executive Dysfunction Test?

    Executive dysfunction tests are therapeutic assessments that can be used to measure executive functioning, which refers to cognitive processes in the brain that impact goal-directed behavior and higher mental activity. They are designed to measure executive control issues, such as organization, planning, self-monitoring, problem solving and time management skills. Through executive dysfunction tests, our coaches can gain an understanding of one’s level of executive functioning and then apply various behavioral interventions to improve executive control functions in individuals. The results of executive functioning tests are often used in combination with other assessments to best determine a patient’s individualized needs and create tailored treatment plans accordingly.

  • How do I take the Executive Dysfunction Test?

    Taking an executive dysfunction test is an important part of diagnosing executive functioning issues. In general, executive function tests assess cognitive skills and abilities like working memory, problem solving, planning, and attention. An executive dysfunction test typically includes activities that require a person to use executive cognitive abilities. These may include tests such as making detailed plans to complete a task in a certain amount of time, or tasks that require sustained attention with increasing levels of difficulty. Our coaches will then review the results to identify any areas where executive dysfunction may be present. Taking executive dysfunction tests can help shed light on personal challenges with executive functioning and lead individuals to the resources they need to succeed.

  • How do I interpret my Executive Dysfunction Test results?

    Interpreting executive dysfunction test results can be tricky as executive function is characterized by a variety of complex behaviors. Depending on the executive functions being assessed, the results may be gathered using task performance or self-report measures. Our experienced EEC coaches will interpret the data to identify any executive functioning deficits which could impact daily functioning and communication. Results from executive dysfunction tests are important to provide targeted support for the individual to improve their executive functioning skills. With a better understanding of executive dysfunction, aimed interventions can be created to address impairments and help individuals reach their highest potential.