Its the Executive Functioning, not the ADHD

Not too surprisingly, a new study has found that our level of Executive Functioning will determine how successful we are at school and at work. The study just published in the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology reported that higher Executive Function levels correlated with higher academic and professional achievement.

What this means from a practical standpoint (to me anyway) is that it is not the ADHD diagnosis that is the problem but it is our level of Executive Function problems that determine how well we will do in life. Drug therapy can help working memory and some of the other factors of Executive functioning (maybe... some researchers are less convinced than others) but studies have shown that there are other treatments that work even better than drug therapy to improve Executive Functioning.

Adele Diamond published an article in the journal Science in August where she stated that "Diverse activities have been shown to improve children's executive functions: computerized training, noncomputerized games, aerobics, martial arts, yoga, mindfulness, and school curricula. All successful programs involve repeated practice and progressively increase the challenge to executive functions. Children with worse executive functions benefit most from these activities."

You may remember that Dr. Adele Diamond is the Canadian PhD who authored the article on Inattentive ADHD that appears on the left hand side of this blog when you click the link labeled "Research References". She has been busy, in her lab in Vancouver, investigating methods of approving executive functioning and much of her recent published work has been on research related to these efforts.

I have written about exercise, yoga and meditation for ADHD and have also mentioned the benefits of computerized programs that help improve Executive Functioning but there are now several companies that provide training programs that include computer training and non-computer skills training for adults and children with ADHD.

One of the best known companies providing comprehensive Executive Function training is called LearningRx. I have heard mostly good things about the results of their work but at a cost of $1500 a month, it better be good.  

Luminosity has programs that help Executive functioning and their programs are cheaper but they are, unlike LearningRx, self directed and not very kid friendly.  There are also universities throughout the United States experimenting with programs that aim to improve Executive Functions.  Here you can find a list of ADHD research centers by state and it is worth a call to your nearest research campus to see if you or your child might be eligible to participate in one of these studies.

A huge thanks to those who went to Amazon through my site.  I very much appreciate your support.  Don't forget to visit the Primarily Inattentive ADD Forum to give whatever  help you can to the folks asking questions there.  Thanks!!

Science. 2011 Aug 19;333(6045):959-64.
Interventions shown to aid executive function development in children 4 to 12 years old.
Diamond A, Lee K.

Dev Psychol. 2011 Nov 21. [Epub ahead of print]
Dopamine, working memory, and training induced plasticity: Implications for developmental research.
Söderqvist S, Bergman Nutley S, Peyrard-Janvid M, Matsson H, Humphreys K, Kere J, Klingberg T.

Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology. 2011 Nov 29. [Epub ahead of print]
Childhood Executive Function Continues to Predict Outcomes in Young Adult Females with and Without Childhood-Diagnosed ADHD.
Miller M, Nevado-Montenegro AJ, Hinshaw SP.

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