What is executive functioning?
Executive function is a term used to describe an array of skills that have to do with an individual’s ability to manage time, initiate and complete tasks, and organize thoughts. Deficits in these skill areas can make, what for many of us would be simple tasks – like cleaning our rooms – complicated or seemingly impossible for an individual with autism.
What is executive functioning and autism?
Individuals with autism often struggle with executive functioning skills. They may have a difficult time with completing tasks, remembering what they have been told, following instructions, switching tasks, keeping track of belongings, and managing time. The absence of adult supervision and direction may make completing homework or daily living tasks difficult for children with autism. Caregivers may become frustrated and experience higher levels of stress as they may perceive their child as being non-compliant. Implementing behavioural strategies such as schedules, timers and rewards to support the needs of your child can allow them to independently initiate and complete daily tasks. This in turn can reduce family stress levels and allow your child to feel accomplished and proud. These skills can then be generalized to other settings such as school, social situations and, in the future, the workplace.