It’s uncommon for a child to have executive function deficits and no other issues. Children usually have executive function issues in additional to another disorder. Commonly, individuals with ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder, depression, and learning disabilities have these deficits.
Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Executive Functioning
Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder is one of the most common childhood disorders. This disorder specifically affects attention, activity level, impulse control, and learning. Difficulty with executive functioning is a common and significant symptom of ADHD. Many experts believe nearly all kids with ADHD have symptoms of executive function deficit.
Learning Disabilities and Executive Functioning
Teens with learning disabilities are more likely to experience executive function deficits than teens who do not have learning disabilities. Individuals who are diagnosed with both ADHD and a learning disability are more likely to have severe executive dysfunction issues than those individuals who only have one disorder.
Depression and Executive Functioning
Executive function deficits are commonly seen in teens with depression. The types of executive deficits related to depression include problems with planning and initiating and completing tasks. Executive dysfunctions in teens often vary with the severity of the depression.
Autism Spectrum Disorder and Executive Functioning
Many children with Autism have difficulties with executive function, however there are some children on the autism spectrum who do not have any executive function deficits. Those who do struggle with executive functioning often have difficulties with flexibility, interpreting social cues, planning, processing large amounts of information, and relating to others.
While a diagnosis of executive function disorder or any of the above conditions can be frightening and overwhelming for parents, those parents with a child dealing with this condition should know that they are not alone and that there are several steps one can take to help these individuals grow both socially and individually. When children have opportunities to develop executive function and self-regulation skills, it results in lifelong benefits for that child. Because the brain continues to develop well into adulthood, the sooner parents can help their teen, the sooner the teen will be able to overcome his or her weaknesses.
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About Vantage Point by Aspiro
Vantage Point is a specialized offshoot of Aspiro Adventure, the program that pioneered wilderness adventure therapy. Vantage Point focuses on helping students with executive function disorders, Autism Spectrum Disorders, and Nonverbal Learning Disorders, among others.
The Vantage Point programs are designed to build self-efficacy in our students through overwhelming mastery experiences – our students accomplish goals they never believed possible, which creates a belief that they are capable of changing their own lives for the better. We focus specifically on social dynamics and social skills to help our students connect with others and feel like they can be a part of the world. Experiential Learning is a tenet of our philosophy and our program. Paired with ongoing individual therapy and targeting specific areas for growth, our wilderness therapy programs are proven successful by outcome studies and are overseen by experienced Field Guides and clinical professionals