What is Executive Functioning, and How do Psychologists Help Kids With ADHD Build These Tools?

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ADHD Brain

Does it ever seem like your child is so “checked out,” “disorganized,” or “unfocused” that they don’t know whether they are coming or going? This happens to everyone—on occasion. However, for adults and children with ADHD, this is the everyday state of affairs. While only the best psychiatrists and psychologists in Highlands Ranch typically diagnose ADHD, parents and teachers usually notice challenges way sooner. The problem lies in the executive functioning capabilities, which include working memory, flexible thinking, and self-regulation. It’s what helps us manage our time, plan our tasks, and get everything done, just by remembering. Some people call it the “secretary of the brain,” because, when it works well, it functions just like a business secretary would!

However, for people with ADHD, the secretary is always “out to lunch.” Without that important feature, the brain starts to get scattered, disorganized, and misses appointments! For an adult, this may look like missing bills, being late all the time, or never being able to keep the house clean. For kids, this turns into incomplete homework, missing easy items on tests, “daydreaming,” and can sometimes make a child look like he is “not-listening” on purpose. For the kid who is distracted by “everything and nothing,” executive functioning skills need a boost! How does your child psychologist in Littleton help your children boost these skills? With practice and carefully planned tools, of course!

One of the first things your psychologist will do when he or she starts working with your child is to help him identify his emotions. Having a strong understanding of how feelings and functioning connect is a good starting point, because nobody’s executive functioning skills are good when their emotions are too high. This often includes exploring where these feelings happen in the body, and what can make them better or worse. Once your child is on his way to keeping his feelings and body in check, other tools can be added to build memory, organization, and focus tools. Just like training a new employee, kids have to train their brains to work in new ways, and a psychologist in Littleton is a great trainer! Through activities like planning and organizing crafts, practicing mindfulness and meditation, completing puzzles and projects, your child will learn how to flex these “brain muscles” and keep their attention in control—instead of letting it control them. Play therapy can be a great way to engage kids in their own process.

If your child is struggling greatly with time planning, organization and decision-making, focus and attention, distraction, or “listening” when told what to do, ask yourself if their “executive secretary” may be out to lunch for good, then call a child psychologist in Highlands Ranch to start the next steps!



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