Executive Function Issues

Photo by Darwin Vegher on Unsplash

Some children evaluated for ADHD are found to not have ADHD but rather executive function problems. On the other hand, many children with ADHD also have executive function problems.

What are some clues that your child has executive function problems?

  • Their backpack/bedroom looks like an explosion
  • They cannot keep track of what homework is due for what class
  • Multi-step projects are very difficult
  • They lose assignments before turning them in
  • Mornings are a struggle
  • Poor time management
  • Poor memory of facts/poor working memory

What can help? (from Child Mind)

  • Check-lists to break down tasks
  • Setting time limits on parts of projects/tasks
  • Have a planner or an online program to communicate about homework between school and homeW


Child Mind Institute has a set of articles on executive function issues and how to assess a child and get help.

The Harvard Center on the Developing Child created an infographic on executive function. 

Books that can help (from Dr. Melissa Welby, MD)

  • Smart but scattered and Smart but scattered- teens and Smart but scattered –  guide to success
  • I can’t find my whatchamacallit
  • Planning isn’t my priority
  • Ultimate time management for teens and students
  • The executive functioning workbook for teens

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