Over 4.6 million school-aged children have been diagnosed with some kind of a learning disability.
But when your child is one of those millions, it can feel like your world has turned completely upside-down. Perhaps you know that something isn’t quite right with your child’s learning and processing abilities, but you’re struggling to get the correct diagnoses.
If you suspect that your child may have an executive functioning disorder, we know that you want answers.
In this post, we’ll define these disorders, discuss the common symptoms, and let you know how you can help them.
What Is An Executive Functioning Disorder?
Before we get into some of the most common signs of an executive functioning disorder (EFD,) let’s first make sure you’re clear on what it is.
In a nutshell, it’s when a child has a hard time meeting “deadlines,” being on time, making and keeping plans, multitasking, and even with more basic organizational skills.
For example, a child with an EFD might struggle to finish a test or complete an assignment on time. They may frequently lose or leave their homework elsewhere, or they may even struggle to take proper notes during class.
Essentially, children with EFD have difficulty understanding both how much time it takes to complete a task and the steps that need to be taken in order to get it done. They will likely also face challenges when it comes to adapting to changes in plans, or thinking on their feet.
If your child has another learning disability, like ADHD or dyslexia, then they may be more likely to have an EFD.
While there has not yet been an accepted cause of EFDs, many learning professionals and scientists believe that these issues may be hereditary. There may also be developmental issues in the prefrontal cortex of your child’s brain.
Now, let’s take a look at some of the most common symptoms of an executive functioning disorder.
1. An Inability To Multitask
Do you notice that your child struggles to do more than one thing at once?
Do they begin one activity, only to abandon it without completion in favor of another?
Do they often forget the first part of instructions, or seem to struggle to focus when there’s too much going on?
If so, they may struggle with an EFD.
2. Struggles To Make Choices
While problems with decision-making skills are common in most children, those with an EFD will seriously struggle to definitely choose one thing or another.
They may say that they want to do one activity, only to change their minds again two minutes later. When faced with a choice, they may become deeply angry or sad, and perhaps even deal with feelings of guilt.
Other times, you may notice that your child seems to “do nothing” when faced with the possibility of having to make a firm decision.
3. Loses Track Of Time
If you’re often filled with anxiety because your child is late, or even filled with frustration because they just can’t seem to manage your time?
Then your child may have an EFD.
Your child will likely also struggle to remember their own schedule, and may become confused about the length of tasks or even where they’re supposed to be at a certain time.
You may find that your child’s concept of time is markedly different than most children’s. They may seem to have trouble understanding the difference between ten minutes and an hour, or that tasks take them much longer to complete than is normal.
4. Frequently Forgets Schoolbooks And Work
Do you feel like you spend half of your time transporting forgotten books and assignments to your child’s school?
Even if you remind your child to put something in their bag the night before and the morning of, do you still find they forget it?
Has your child forgotten about a book report or another assignment altogether, or seems to always wait until the night before it’s due to start it?
If so, then they may have an executive functioning disorder.
5. They Have Trouble Explaining Things
Maybe you’ve tried to talk to your child about some of the symptoms we’ve described — but you’ve noticed that they can’t express themselves well.
It’s not that your child is unintelligent — it’s just that sometimes, it seems as though they struggle to process their emotions and put things into words.
They may even have a hard time speaking clearly.
They may often end a discussion in the middle of a sentence without seeming to realize it, or they may withdraw into themselves in silence for a long period of time.
6. They Get Lost
This is a symptom that usually appears in older children, especially when they’re old enough to be out on their own.
You may notice that your child seriously struggles to remember how to get to even familiar places, like your home or their school. They may often call you asking for help with directions, and they may have challenges understanding the directions you give them or even reading maps.
How Can You Help Your Child?
If any of these symptoms sound familiar, then we strongly suggest making an appointment with a learning specialist to determine whether or not your child has an executive functioning disorder.
We know that, as a parent, you’re willing to do anything and everything that it takes to help your child succeed and feel confident in themselves.
Meeting with one of our specialists might be the answer you’re looking for.
We’ll help your child to stay on task, strengthen their language skills, find new ways to communicate with them that benefit their unique needs, and much more.
Get in touch with us today to schedule a free consultation, and put your child on the road to success and happiness.