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  • The Neurodivergent Therapy Space

Executive Functioning; Why Doesn't Mine Work?

Updated: Jul 4, 2023

It is super common for neurodivergent folk to have struggles with executive functioning, this means things like planning, organising, working memory, flexible thinking, self-control, and impulsivity...

This can often mean that what may appear like a really simple task like getting a shower, getting dressed and eating breakfast before work can feel like huge hurdles in the morning because the brain just doesn't work in that way.

ND people are often labelled as 'lazy' and are highly judged and criticised for their inability to perform what many people in society deem as 'simple tasks' when in fact, this part of their brain is wired differently. It is more acceptable if someone has been involved in an accident causing a head injury and I'm going to guess that's because they can have empathy and understand the cause for the differences in brain function. However for someone with ADHD/autism or any other brain type then unfortunately society isn't always as kind and accepting.

This then amplifies the already distressed individual struggling with executive functioning issues because of the labels and judgment they face. As if they aren't already beating themselves up enough!

So, when your friend or relative next tells you they struggle to remember to tidy their room or brush their teeth in the morning, instead of saying "set an alarm" or "well that's just odd, maybe you are stressed." Hear what they are saying.

Opening up about exec functioning is a challenge due to the stigma and the sense of shame they already feel. Listen empathically and ask if there is anything you could do to support them.

Everyone has a different brain type, just like we all have different coloured eyes or hair.

What one person finds easy, is another person's worst nightmare and just because you can do something and find it easy, doesn't mean everyone can and that is ok. Be mindful of this next time you find yourself wondering why can't someone do something you deem as easy.

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