ADHD, Executive Functioning Skills, and your Child’s Brain

ADHD, Executive Functioning Skills, and your Child's Brain

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder often begins in childhood and the symptoms can cause significant distress in everyday life. For children, it can be even harder to manage. To begin to understand how to help your child, we first must understand what ADHD is and what it causes.

ADHD is a pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that disrupts development and functioning. ADHD affects the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain that manages organization, planning, paying attention, and making decisions. 

There are three subtypes of ADHD that each person fits into:

1) inattentive

2) hyperactive-impulsivity

3) combined 

Inattentive type is marked by careless mistakes, difficulty sustaining attention, daydreaming or spacing out in conversation, not completing tasks, difficulty organizing tasks and activities, avoiding or reluctant to engage in tasks that require mental effort, losing objects, becoming easily distracted, and forgetfulness. 

Hyperactive and impulsivity type is marked by being unable to stay sitting, being fidgety, moving around when inappropriate, often feeling “on the go”, talking excessively, difficulty waiting one’s turn, and interrupting others. 

Combined is marked by both inattentive and hyperactive/impulsivity presentation. 

Executive Functioning Skills

Executive function is a set of skills that assist with self-control, focus, following directions, meeting goals, and much more. Those who have ADHD experience difficulty with executive functioning skills. But the good news is that these skills can be learned and improved! Working on these skills help combat difficulty with ADHD symptoms.

Ways to help your child

Focus on their strengths! Even when it seems they are intentionally behaving inappropriately, remember that they are not completely in control of their brain or their actions. Lead with encouragement and help them break down large tasks. 

If you suspect your child has ADHD, it is important to schedule an evaluation by a trained professional. Grow Psychological, LLC offers psychological evaluations to test for ADHD and other disorders. 

If your child already has a diagnosis and you are looking for additional support for your child, reach out for a free 15-minute consultation! I have worked directly with children and adolescents with ADHD. I utilize play and activities to build up and work on executive functioning skills, and I have a tremendous passion for working with children ages 3+. 

Blog by Rebecca Bell