What to Watch for: Some Symptoms of Executive Function Disorder (EFD)

April 3, 2018 

(Part two of this two-part series discusses possible signs of executive functioning issues.)

SAT and ACT StudyingIn part one of this series, we compared and contrasted Executive Function Disorder (EFD) and ADD/ADHD. In part two, we would like to take a closer look at EFD.

In an article for Additude: Inside the ADHD Mind, Janice Rodden notes that, “EFD is a broad condition that…affects attention, learning, and social, organizational and time-management skills.”  

Okay, that’s comprehensive. Now how do you, a parent, know if your child is having trouble in these areas? What do you look for?

While you may not be a diagnostician, you are in a unique position to observe your child’s behaviors. Additude: Inside the ADHD Mind offers a self-test for EFD, written by Eileen Bailey. Below are samples of things to look for (bolded quotes are from the EFD self-test).


“I am easily distracted by things I see or hear.” Troy does his best to create a quiet environment when he studies. He works in his room with the door shut. He doesn’t listen to music. Still, little things knock him off task: a car horn outside, the faint sound of the TV downstairs, a poster that he suddenly realizes is hanging crookedly—any of these can interfere with his concentration.

“I start tasks with enthusiasm but lose interest quickly.” Carol’s bedroom is a monument to unfinished projects. There are books on the shelves from her attempts to learn Japanese, coding, and cheese-making. An unstrung bow and a few arrows sit in the corner. Unfinished ceramic pieces litter the windowsill.

“I find it hard to do things that aren’t necessary or stimulating.” Jason is having trouble in English. He finds the books on the reading list boring and doesn’t see why he should spend time on something that isn’t interesting to him. In math, he gets straight A’s. He can troubleshoot any computer in the school’s lab. But he would rather eat nails for breakfast than read one more page of Thomas Hardy.

“I become absorbed in things or tasks that interest me—sometimes to the point of forgetting about people around me or other obligations.” Kids at Sumter Elementary still talk about the day that Mrs. Ellis realized she was one student short during a fire drill. It wasn’t until the principal instituted a room by room search that they found Ambika. Absorbed in an art project in a corner, she had ignored loudspeakers, bells, and rushing people.

Do any of these examples sound familiar? If so, Bailey advises consulting a qualified medical professional. As she reminds us, “An accurate diagnosis can only be made through clinical evaluation.”

At A+ Test Prep and Tutoring, our focus is always on you. We have an excellent team of tutors who can help you with standardized testing, executive functioning, or achievement in any other school subject. If you would like more information, our Client Service Directors Anne Stanley and Susan Ware are available to answer questions and provide solutions. You may reach either of them by calling A+ Test Prep and Tutoring at 215-886-9188.



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