What are these crazy processes
we call Executive Functions?
We all use them everyday….we just may not call them that. I am sure you or your children organize (I know, that’s questionable by looking at their rooms!), plan, try to manage time, self-manage and just plain “GET THINGS DONE!”
What sometimes happens is these executive functions may not work well together or work at all, depending on the topic, environment, time of day and so on. Why not, you ask? Well, there are numerous reasons for this (that involves another chat) including, but not limited to, specific brain wiring (ADHD/ADD), not being taught the skill sets needed for these, and no motivation.
Here are some of these functions in a listing compiled by psychologists: Drs. Gerard A. Gioia, Peter K. Isquith, Steven C. Guy, and Lauren Kenworthy. You may find them listed in so many other resources and they may vary slightly. Included is a brief illustration of each.
- Inhibition – The ability to stop one’s own behavior at the appropriate time, including stopping actions and thoughts. The flip side of inhibition is impulsivity; if you have weak ability to stop yourself from acting on your impulses, then you are “impulsive.”
- Shift – The ability to move freely from one situation to another and to think flexibly in order to respond appropriately to the situation.
- Emotional Control – The ability to modulate emotional responses by bringing rational thought to bear on feelings.
- Initiation – The ability to begin a task or activity and to independently generate ideas, responses, or problem-solving strategies.
- Working memory – The capacity to hold information in mind for the purpose of completing a task.
- Planning/Organization – The ability to manage current and future- oriented task demands.
- Organization of Materials – The ability to impose order on work, play, and storage spaces.
- Self-Monitoring – The ability to monitor one’s own performance and to measure it against some standard of what is needed or expected.
NOTE: One does not NEED a diagnosis to experience weak Executive Functions but may need coaching to help strengthen them!
Check out this picture ((adapted from Romine & Reynolds (2005), p. 198) below that confirms that all Executive Functions may not mature until late 20’s or even 30’s!
CLICK THE LINK BELOW!