top of page

Executive Function difficulties

Planning, focusing attention, remembering instructions, and managing multiple tasks are all executive function skills. Executive dysfunction, which hampers goal-directed behavior, affects up to 90 percent of children with ADHD.

Executive functioning, in broad terms, refers to the cognitive and mental abilities that direct action, manage behavior, and encourage us to attain our objectives and prepare for future occurrences. Executive dysfunction patients struggle to organize and regulate their behavior in ways that will help them achieve long-term goals.

ADHD and executive functioning are inextricably related but not synonymous. Where ADHD is an official diagnosis, Executive Functioning difficulties is not. Someone who has Executive Functioning difficulties usually is just behind in their development of the pre-frontal cortex and are usually less impulsive than someone with ADHD.

The seven major types of self-regulation associated with executive functioning are as follows:

  1. Self-Awareness: commanding self-directed attention

  2. Self-Restraint: inhibiting yourself

  3. Non-Verbal Working Memory: holding things in your mind to guide behavior

  4. Verbal Working Memory: retaining internal speech

  5. Emotional: using words and images along with self-awareness to alter how you feel about things

  6. Self-Motivation: motivating yourself to do things when no outside consequences exist

  7. Planning and Problem Solving: finding new approaches and solutions


  1. What Is Executive Dysfunction? Sign and Symptoms of EFD. ADDitude. Published February 17, 2017. Accessed March 10, 2022.

  2. C8 Sciences. Executive Function Disorder vs. ADHD |Improve Cognitive Function. C8 Sciences. Published November 16, 2015. Accessed March 10, 2022.,child%20with%20EFD%20or%20ADHD.

bottom of page