Does your child struggle with organization, prioritizing and focusing? If so, they may have executive function deficits. Most children with ADHD, autism spectrum and learning disorders have executive deficits.
This is challenging and confusing for parents. These children have average or above-average intelligence but cannot get things done. They are forgetful and have problems completing basic tasks such as getting ready for school, doing homework independently and following through with multiple task requests by parents. Additionally, traditional parenting techniques such as incentives and consequences, do not work well in children with executive dysfunction. They are motivated but find it difficult to meet expectations.
Two very important treatment strategies include consistent routines and breaking down multi-step tasks. Children with executive functioning problems become easily overwhelmed with all that they must get done. Routines will decrease the number of tasks they need to think about. Breaking tasks down into smaller steps helps children overcome their lack of intuitive understanding about what is included in an activity such as getting ready for school.
Organizational skills need to be taught to these children. If they are disorganized at 10 years old, they will still be disorganized at 16 years old without the proper training. Poor executive functioning can be a lifelong disability but one that can be treated and supported.