What is Executive Functioning?
According to CHADD org, Executive function skills refers to brain functions that activate, organize, integrate and manage other functions which enables individuals to account for short- and long term consequences of their actions and to plan for those results.
According to Rebecca Branstetter, author of The Everything Parent’s Guide to Children with Executive Functioning Disorder, These skills are controlled by the area of the brain called the frontal lobe and include the following:
- Task Initiation- stopping what you are doing and starting a new task
- Response Inhibition- keeping yourself from acting impulsively in order to achieve a goal
- Focus- directing your attention, keeping you focus, and managing distractions while you are working on a task
- Time Management- understanding and feeling the passage of time, planning good use of your time, and avoiding procrastination behavior.
- Working Memory- holding information in your mind long enough to do something with it (remember it, process it, act on it)
- Flexibility- being able to shift your ideas in changing conditions
- Self-Regulations- be able to reflect on your actions and behaviors and make needed changes to reach a goal
- Emotional Self-Control- managing your emotions and reflecting on your feelings in order to keep yourself from engaging in impulsive behaviors.
- Task Completion- sustaining your levels of attention and energy to see a task to the end.
- Organization- keeping track and taking care of your belongings (personal, school work) and maintaining order in your personal space.
What Causes Executive Functioning Disorder?
- a diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- a diagnosis of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder
- Tourette syndrome
Signs and Symptoms
- Short-term memory such ask being asked to complete a task and forgetting almost immediately.
- Difficulty processing new information
- Difficulty solving problems
- Difficulty in listening or paying attention
- issues in starting, organizing, planning or completing task
- Difficulty in multi-tasking
Issues with executive functioning often leads to a low self-esteem, moodiness, insecurities, avoiding difficult task. and low motivation
Managing Executive Functions Issues
- Create visual aids
- use apps for time management and productivity
- Request written instructions
- Create schedule and review at least twice a day
- Create checklist
Did you know that Childhood Disintegrative Disorder is considered part of Autism Spectrum?
Childhood Disintegrative Disorder (CDD) is a condition where a child develops normally and achieves appropriate milestones up to the age of 4 and then begins to regress in both developmental and behavioral milestones and lose the skills they already learned. with a loss o skills plateauing around the age of 10.
Childhood Disintegrative Disorder is rare. It affects 1.7 in 100,000 and affects males at a higher rate than females. It is also known as Heller’s Syndrome and Disintegrative psychosis. The causes are unknown but may be linked to issues with the brain and nervous systems with some researchers suggesting it is some form of childhood dementia.
First discovered by Dr. Theodor Heller in 1908, Dr. Heller began publishing articles on his observation of children’s medical history in which he reported that in certain cases, children who were developing normally began to reverse at a certain age.
Signs and Symptoms
Children begin to show significant losses of earlier acquired skills in at least two of the following areas:
- Lack of play
- Loss of language or communication skills
- Loss of social skills
- Loss of bladder control
- Lack of motor skills
The following characteristics also appear:
- Social interaction
- Repetitive interests or behaviors
Due to the small number of reported cases, it is included in the broad grouping of autism spectrum disorder in DSM-V under pervasive developmental disorder (PDD). Although grouped with the autism spectrum disorder diagnosis, there are distinct differences. For example, children with CDD were more likely to be diagnosed with severe intellectual disability, epilepsy and long term impairment of behavior and cognitive functioning.
Summit Medical Group
Published by: Spectrum
Most people with autism — up to 86 percent — have trouble sleeping1. Their sleep problems often include the hallmarks of insomnia: difficulty falling asleep, waking up multiple times during the night and getting less sleep than average. Animal models of autism display these same signs, suggesting that sleep problems may arise from fundamental mechanisms conserved across species2. But scientists do not yet know what these mechanisms are, much less why insomnia is so prevalent in autistic people.
Autism researchers and clinicians commonly refer to insomnia as a comorbidity, meaning that it only accompanies autism. However, we suggest that doctors and scientists may need to consider it as an integral part of the condition and begin to study sleep in more rigorous ways — for instance, using technology in place of surveys and questionnaires. Click here to read the rest of the story.
Published by: Psychology Today
Written by: Katherine Stavropoulos
Although law enforcement is tasked with keeping the public safe, interactions between first responders and those with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or other psychiatric conditions can be contentious—and in some cases, deadly.
A 2012 study conducted by researchers at Drexel University measured how common it was for youth with ASD to be stopped and questioned by police or arrested. They found that by age 21, 20 percent of youth with ASD had been stopped by police, and almost 5 percent had been arrested.
Although the Drexel study focused on those in the U.S., similar findings have been reported from other countries. For example, a study from Swedish researchers found that people on the autism spectrum were at a 31 percent higher risk of having a criminal conviction compared to those without ASD. More broadly, in a study of all civilian deaths during interactions with law enforcement in 2015, researchers found that individuals with a mental illness were over 7 times more likely to be killed by law enforcement compared to those without. Click here to read the rest of the story
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) about 1 in 54 children have been identified with autism spectrum disorder. ASD is reported to occur in all racial, ethnic and socioeconomic groups. ASD is more than 4 times more common among boys than girls. About 1 in 6 (17%) children aged 3-17 years were diagnosed with a developmental disability.
The CDC states that Fragile X Syndrome (FXS) is the most common known cause of inherited intellectual disability and affects both males and females, with females having milder symptoms than males.
Autism is considered a common comorbid condition with Fragile X syndrome- it is estimated that he prevalence of ASD in Fragile X syndrome varies. some studies show a 50% relationship. While there are similar characteristics, the motivation appears to be for different reasons. For example, indiviuals with Fragile X Syndrome appear to avoid eye contact due to social anxiety and shyness while people with autism simply prefer to be left alone.
The following articles provide insightful information:
Autism Spectrum Disorder in Fragile X Syndrome– Further Inform Neurogenetic Disorders (FIND)
Autism Spectrum Disorder in Fragile X Syndrome Cooccurring Conditions and Current Treatment– Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics
Fragile X and Autism Factsheet– Synapse
Fragile X is a common cause of autism and intellectual disabilities– UC Davis Health
Fragile X symptoms don’t add up to autism studies suggest– European Fragile X Network
Fragile X Syndrome and Autism– Interactive Autism Network
Fragile X Syndrome and Autism Spectrum Disorder- Otsimo
Fragile X Syndrome and Autism Spectrum Disorder: Similarities and Differences– National Fragile X Syndrome
The Fragile X Syndrome Autism Comorbidity: What do we really know? – National Institute of Health
What can we learn about Autism from studying Fragile X Syndrome?– Developmental Neuroscience