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The Communication Corner: Executive Function Disorder

Executive Function Disorder                                by Rachel Archambault In the last decade or so, the terms inattentive, hyperactive, or impulsive have been commonly associated with ADD/ADHD.  Until recently, the word “inattentive was used to describe “the inability to stay on task”, but is now part of a much larger concept, now called executive function disorder (EFD). Executive Function Disorder is essentially when a person has difficulties going through the steps to complete a task. In simpler terms, in order for a task to be done, one must: analyze the task, plan how to address the task, organize the steps to carry out the task, develop timelines for completing the task, adjust or shift steps if needed, and complete the task in a timely matter. A child with EFD may have problems with organization, planning, analyzing, and scheduling in order to complete the tasks. They may also misplace papers, reports, or have trouble keeping their personal items organized.  Some other diagnoses that have deficits in executive functions are Autism, Asperger’s, attention deficit disorders, conduct disorder, Tourette’s, fetal alcohol syndrome, and childhood schizophrenia. Parents may describe their kids as disorganized or scattered. If a parent gives a direction to their child with EFD, such as, “pick up your toys”, the child will not be able to complete the task. Instead, the parents must tell the child each step in order to get to the goal that will look like, “Pick up your toys, take out the basket, place all the toys inside the basket, and put the basket with the toys back on the shelf”. To diagnose EFD, a speech pathologist will have the