Living a neurotypical life means that many aspects of adulthood are acquired simply through observation and imitation of peers and adults present in our lives. Many of us aren’t explicitly taught how to establish healthy eating, sleeping, hygiene, exercise, financial, and social patterns. We’re exposed to things in the media, and through our social groups and families. We then naturally and effortlessly use this information and internalize our observations to adapt and implement routines in our own lives, often driven by the social motivation of wanting others to like us, and to be accepted in particular groups in society. All of these complex executive functions occur with little conscious thought, it’s simply how we are wired.
However, what if this was not how you were wired? What if each of these steps was laborious and difficult for you? Or what if you did not even realize there were steps needed to complete a task? Many children and adults struggle with understanding, breaking down, implementing and finding motivation to complete everyday tasks. If simply getting ready for school, work, or a social gathering was exhausting, how could you thrive in these environments?
Luckily, when we target building executive functioning skills,including motivational awareness, task analysis, prioritization, action plans, and communication, we’re capable of learning strategies and skills to successfully accomplish our goals and thrive in our environments.
Building executive functioning skills will have a lifelong impact, and is one of the most influential things we can learn. We are capable of developing executive functioning skills at any age in order to achieve increased independence and societal participation. If you or your child is struggling in any aspect of age appropriate independence, please reflect on the integral role executive functioning plays in our daily life, and the need to build this all important skill set!