What are executive functions?
According to the National Center for Learning Disabilites (2013), executive funcitons are the mental processes that allow us to use our experience from the past to carry out tasks in the present, including organizing, planning, managing time, and paying attention to and remembering details. We use these processes to plan projects, start and finish tasks in a timely manner, organize materials, regulate emotions, control impulses, reflect and evaluate, adjust to changes in situations, and participate in group dynamics.
Certain conditions such as ADHD/ADD, anxiety, learning disabilities, and Autism Spectrum disorders can create significant challenges in executive functioning skills and prevent individuals from demonstrating their true capabilites. However, with education, training, and a willingness to utilize strengths, individuals can not only compensate for these challenges, but move forward and accomplish goals and aspirations.