Published in CHADD's ATTENTION Magazine, February 2008; updated in 2011.Five years ago, most parents and teachers of students with ADHD didn't have a clue that a child's academic success was contingent upon strong executive skills.
When a student had trouble getting started and finishing an essay or math work, it was easy to assume that the student chose not to do the task. Although scientists have not yet agreed on the exact elements of executive function, two ADHD researchers, Dr. Tom Brown, have given us insightful working descriptions. Barkley describes executive function as those "actions we perform to ourselves and direct at ourselves so as to accomplish self-control, goal-directed behavior, and the maximization of future outcomes." Through use of a metaphor, Dr.
As a former teacher and school psychologist, I'm also embarrassed to say I failed for many years to recognize that a high IQ score alone was not enough to make good grades. Barkley identified the central role executive function plays in school success, that I finally understood why school was so difficult for my son.
Teachers would say, "Alex is very bright; he could make better grades if he would just try harder." In truth, our children often do try harder, but even then, cannot make good grades without proper treatment and academic supports.
Basically this means our children appear less mature and responsible than their peers.
For example, a twelve year old's executive skills are often more like those of an eight-year-old.