Executive functions are “the management system of the brain.” Executive functions start developing in early childhood and keep developing through the teenage years and into the mid-20s. Executive functions form the basis for our ability to regulate our behaviour, emotions, and thinking skills and underpin our ability to learn. There is no diagnosis called executive function disorder, but identification of executive function difficulties can assist in determining diagnoses such as ADHD and ASD.
Executive Functions Screening
At Speechie, we can screen executive functions of children / tamariki who are struggling with learning to determine whether they have clinically significant difficulties:
- Holding on to information (working memory)
- Understanding different points of view (flexible thinking)
- Thinking before they act or speak (self-control)
- Paying attention and blocking out distractions
- Organising, planning, and prioritising
- Starting tasks and staying focused on them until they’re done
- Regulating their emotions
- Keeping track of what they’re doing (self-monitoring)
We can also provide organisational coaching and cognitive / metacognitive strategy instruction to help.
Working memory and self-control
Children diagnosed with Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) have clinically significant difficulties with either attention alone (Inattentive Type) or with both attention and impulsivity (Combined Type).
Children diagnosed with ASD have clinically significant difficulties with with cognitive flexibility.