We want answers.
In our line of support, we very frequently come across the frustrated parent. Your kid seemingly can’t muster up enough self-control to pay attention to the “important stuff” in school or at home but can easily be ready to hang out with friends or play video games. Well, sometimes frustration is an understatement.
As we all know, a diagnosis of ADHD has been growing over the last decade. While there is still debate as to why it’s growing, there is not much debate in the sheer numbers. Even outside of the increase in diagnosis there are other explanations as to why a young person has trouble focusing.
The Mental Building Blocks:
Executive functioning skills are the mental building blocks that enable all of us to manage our emotions, keep some order in our lives, and get things accomplished. When people think about these skills they typically gravitate towards time management, organization, and planning/prioritizing. Afterall, it is quite obvious when a kids room is a war zone, their backpack a natural disaster, and their priorities, well, not present.
What people need to remember here is that these skills go far past the previously mentioned. Executive functioning skills include important factors such as stress tolerance, sustained attention, and emotional regulation. If we remind ourselves that these are skills, then we maintain the perspective that they can be developed and strengthened.
ADHD is not the only reason why people lose focus.
When people are in the middle of a stress response or have trouble regulating their own emotional reactions/responses they can also struggle with sustained attention. Yes, individuals with ADHD typically have deficits in their executive functioning skills, but individuals without ADHD can also be challenged with these same deficits. Having a little more direction and understanding in where the attentional issues are coming from can help form the first steps in developing strategies to mitigate these struggles.
Want to learn more about your kid’s (or yours!) executive functioning skills? Head on over to the assessments page here (CLICK) Assess and Understand Your Strengths and Assess and Understand Your Weaknesses.