Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: Executive Functioning Deficits
I first found out about my ADHD when I was a kid. My teachers told my parents that I needed to take a test, and after a few weeks, the school psychologist met with all of us and said that I had a problem, but that she could tell me how to fix it. She talked about medication, and said that my parents would need to see our doctor to get a prescription. My parents were not Ok with the idea that I should take drugs, so they said no. I wanted to pay attention in school, and I tried to plan ahead with my assignments and what I was doing during the week, but I had trouble finishing anything on time. So, then my parents decided to try a medication called Ritalin. It helped while I was in school, but on weekends and during vacations, I would stop taking the Ritalin, and then I was a problem at home.
When I was 18, my parents found this program called Calo Young Adults. Since I’ve been here, I’ve learned that an ADHD diagnosis is not my big picture. Planning, organizing and managing my time are skills in only one area out of eight that makes up what is called executive functioning. I have some problems in all eight. I am in a group at Calo Young Adults with other students who also have the same difficulties, and I am beginning to learn techniques to help me make changes. I feel good about how hard I’m trying. I know that my work in therapy will affect how I do at school, and will determine how I am in relationships. I understand now that my brain is different from other people who don’t have executive functioning problems, and I also know that I probably will always need to use the techniques I am learning here. I am willing to do what the staff says. I know that if I didn’t have these problems, I would be a happier person and a better student.
Perhaps the most familiar diagnosis made during childhood is Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, and yet differentiating between the symptoms of ADHD and those of at least 16 other disorders requires a level of diagnostic sophistication rarely present in young adult programs. Together with comorbid disorders including Conduct Disorder, Learning Disorder, Anxiety Disorder, Spectrum Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Tic Disorders, and Disruptive Mood Dysregulation, ADHD may be an alternative way of describing broader problems with executive functioning skills to include: the ability to organize and plan tasks; to focus and shift focus; to sustain processing speed; and to monitor and modulate self regulation.
For additional information about the treatment of ADHD, comorbid disorders including executive functioning deficits, please contact Admissions.
last modified: July 16th, 2018