ADHD, Executive Functioning, and how visual charts and checklists can help.

Executive functioning is something that you, or a family member, may struggle with without you even knowing that it is a "thing".

 

Finding out that other people share my struggles with setting priorities, staying organised, and keeping on track was a MOMENTOUS discovery for me.

 

I am still not sure which felt more profound; realizing that there are others like me, or realizing how different I am from "normal" - whatever that is 🤷‍♀️

 

This infographic from ADHD Awareness is part of their "common questions and answers" series where as part of ADHD Awareness Month they will answer a question about ADHD each day in October. 

 

This question really stood out for me because not only is it the thing that I struggle with everyday, but it is the specific area that my products are designed to help my customers with.

 

Visual charts and checklists are GOLD for ADHDers, as well as for other neurodivergent diagnoses that can struggle with executive functioning.

 

Why do visual charts and checklists work?

Simply put, they take essential bits of information out of the noise in your head (it can be a busy place!) and put it "centre stage" on paper, telling your brain that it is a priority, making it more likely that the task will be achieved. When that information is put somewhere that it can be seen (cue Magnetic Frames) then it becomes a visual cue.

 

Moving through your day being guided by priorities rather than uncertainties is in itself anxiety-reducing and will have a MASSIVE impact on your productivity.


Take meal planning. When you know what to cook and it is written down you know what to shop for, you know what to take out of the fridge, you know how long you will need for preparation. The decision has been made which takes indecision away 🙌 


But having a meal plan is only part of the equation, writing your meal plan down will anchor it, bringing certainty and reducing anxiety. And when the kids ask "what's for dinner?" referring them to your meal plan is a great way to nip endless questions in the bud. 

 

Our children's heads can be a busy place too! Verbal instructions are often not enough, or in some cases, are not adequate at all. Visual cues can be a gentle (and patient!) guide to let our children know what comes next. It gives our kids the opportunity to find the information themselves, rather than constantly having to ask (or be told by) mum and dad.


The ability to self-organise is an essential part of development but it can only come when we give our children the autonomy, and confidence, to take that step. When a child's natural ability to self-organise is impaired, giving them tools such as visual checklists to achieve tasks on their own is fundamental. 


While our range of children's chart and checklists have been designed to help all children stay on track, they are especially useful for those children who struggle with self-organisation, or those who respond better to visual rather than verbal cues. Children with ADHD, dyslexia and autism often fall into this bracket. 


While impaired executive functioning is definitely a "thing", it is something that can be managed. Understanding how your brain works and responds to information can be life-changing because you have the knowledge to tweak what works, and what doesn't to ensure that you can flourish, in whatever way is important to you.

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