If your teen struggles with behavioural and school problems, executive functioning disorder (EFD) may be at the root of these problems. But what is this disorder and what does it mean for your young person’s future? Can they overcome their EFD and other behavioural issues for a happy, productive, and fulfilling adulthood?
What is Executive Functioning Disorder?
Executive functioning includes our abilities to engage in action toward goals. These functions control our actions, behaviors, and motivation. People with problems in executive functioning struggle to behave in ways important for achieving goals.
When your young person suffers ADHD, they can also experience executive functioning disorder (EFD). These conditions are closely tied together, making it very hard for your teen to pay attention, learn, socialize, organize their life, or manage time.
EFD causes seven types of self-regulation problems. For example, these include:
- Lack of self-awareness
- Inability to exercise self-restraint
- Holding onto specific thoughts that guide behavior
- Retaining internal speech
About Executive Functioning Disorder
Your executive functioning skills make you able to plan, focus, remember directions, and multitask. Young people with ADHD struggle with these tasks, also impairing their ability to work toward goals. However, you can identify executive functioning problems in your child, so you can get them the help they need for controlling the disorder.
Signs of executive functioning disorder include problems with planning, analyzing, organizing, scheduling, and completing tasks. Teens with this disorder do not meet deadlines and misplace their materials for tasks, like papers, reports, or books for homework. They also struggle to keep up with their own belongings and keep their bedroom clean.
The best therapies for young people with executive functioning disorder is behavioural modification. Reward systems and daily reviews work well toward improving executive functioning.
How EFD Occurs in Young People
Young children develop certain abilities one-by-one, not all at once. This is true for executive functioning, where one skill adds to the development of the next. Executive skills start developing by age two. They continue developing until you reach age 30. But people with EFD suffer 30 to 40 percent delayed development, making them mature in executive functioning at a slower pace than others around them.
Because of your teen or young adult’s delayed development of executive functioning skills, they achieve more short-term goals than long-term ones. This makes using short term goals easier in motivating your loved one.
Specifically, you store learned information in the back of your brain. The front of your brain processes this information toward socialization and general success.
It is in your prefrontal cortex that your executive functioning takes place. There, you benefit from four major circuits. These include what, when, why, and how circuits.
The what circuit helps you follow through on plans, goals, and steps. The when circuit helps you organize your activities according to a timeline and toward goal completion. Your why circuit regulates your emotions, thoughts, and feelings. Finally, your how circuit controls your self-awareness of feelings and life experiences.
If your teen or young adult experiences ADHD and EFD, they suffer impairment in one or multiple circuits in the prefrontal cortex. Therefore, this leads to problems with memory, planning, emotions, and socialization.
Help for EFD and ADHD in Canada
In Alberta, B.C., and Ontario, Venture Academy provides help for teens and young adults with behavioural problems, including EFD and ADHD. Moreover, if your teen or young adult experiences these issues, therapeutic support at Venture Academy includes:
- Individual counselling
- 30 day assessment and intervention
- Substance use disorder treatment
- Family therapy
Your teen’s executive functioning disorder and ADHD treatment improves their daily life and helps them achieve long term goals for a brighter, more organized, and socially fulfilling future. Call Venture Academy now at 866.762.2211 to learn more about EFD in Red Deer, Kelowna, and Barrie.