Executive Function

Below is a very simplified and general explanation of executive function. You may experience difficulties with some or all of these things or your experience may be different. You are welcome to contact us to discuss what you are experiencing and what we can do to help.

Executive functions are those interrelated skills involved in goal directed problem solving and mental flexibility. This includes a number of skills such as:

Planning, organisation, inhibition, initiation of action, monitoring of our own performance over time or towards a goal, organisation of materials, self-monitoring, mental flexibility and ability to shift cognitive set, emotional control, time management and so on.

Executive functions are generally controlled by the front part of our brains but these are also the last function to develop in our brains. If we think about being children, people do all of our planning and organising for us initially and over time we are expected to do more of it. In teenage years our executive functions can get us into difficulties as we don’t have fully developed systems to inhibit some of our responses or plan for things that are coming up. Our executive functions are actually still developing up into adulthood.