I work with people on “creating time for what matters,” as I say it. One of the specialties I’ve developed over the years is working with people who think they have or do have AD/HD. I attended and presented with my colleague, Andrea Sharb, at the 2014 international conference on ADHD by CHADD. This blog is a summary of new learning for me or new ways for any of us to think about some of this knowledge.
From a session by Thomas E. Brown, PhD. Website, with several excellent book excerpts is here>> at this link.
- the orchestra conductor for your brain (all the players may be very engaged, but they need the conductor to connect and integrate, to truly make the music)
- the brain’s management system
- the search engine for your brain
- EF purposes: connect-prioritize-integrate
- Brown and Barkley at our ICD conference both said this from research: that there is delayed maturity of the executive functions in people with AD/HD up to the age of 30. That means, for example, that your 22 year old really might be acting younger than his/her years, and so it behooves us to plan for strategies that would work with someone about 3 years younger. Or your 7 year old … at 4.
- Motivation: Will you do it? Planning: How will you do it? Memory & timing: When will you do it? (Attributed by Brown to M. Lezak, researcher).
- EF as working memory for the brain: Where your brain has all kinds of information you have stored. The issue is not that you don’t have it. It is an issue with retrieval.
- His EF chart has 6 functional areas which are involved in EF workings: Each area is like a “label on a basket of related functions.” (His excellent article about EF can be found here.)
- EF was thought to be mainly related to the PFC, prefrontal cortex of the brain. The newer thinking is: still release/reload issues with neurotransmitters, but the newer thinking is that the EF is more about coordination among the regions of the brain.
- Context matters, significantly. You could be highly engaged in some sorts of activities and others simply cannot get your attention (a deficit in regulation, not in attention itself).
- Context: memories, goals, emotions, what you feel is important versus think is important; how your body and brain were involved.
- His belief today is that context is impacted by our emotions of the past similar context and the current one, that emotions are the root of paying attention. His new book is here. On my shelf, but not yet read.
- Distinguish “you” versus “your behavior.” You are not your ADHD or its impact.
- Great phrase he uses with his patients: “At this time, you can’t do xyz, but you will be able to …” Accent is on “at this time.” Because often someone will say: “I can’t do it.” Period. Sounding like on can never do it.
More blog articles are on the way with points from other session, but the Executive Function is the basis for all things ADHD, so it deserved its own blog post.