High functioning autism and Adapative functioning

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BeaArthur
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20 Feb 2016, 11:32 am

A lot of what these commenters are calling common sense or everyday skills or adaptive function are not skills at all but deficits in executive functions.

You can certainly be very smart (IQ) but unable to put it to good use (executive function). There are tricks you can learn to improve executive function, such as using lists, but if you have to put a lot of energy into that, it takes away from just using your smarts (IQ).

I have a more differentiated view of mental strength than I used to. I very much respect someone of moderate IQ but good executive function. I also very much respect someone very smart, but with deficits in executive function.


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Yigeren
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20 Feb 2016, 1:49 pm

Yes, I believe you are correct.

My executive functioning is not good. I believe it's responsible for many of my difficulties in navigating my life. I'm working with a therapist to help me to develop adaptations to get around my executive functioning issues.

I've discovered tricks in the past that have helped me to overcome some of these deficits. Once they became habit, it got much easier to do them. I'm hoping that it will be the same for the new ones I learn.



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20 Feb 2016, 1:54 pm

I think EF is improvable, and smartness can help in improving EF, but only if there are the right situations for improving EF. I am not sure what these situations are, but one type is like a semi-independent program of study in some field one really likes, but there needs to be some outside pressure to succeed in this program, otherwise EF problems could easily screw things up.


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20 Feb 2016, 3:15 pm

okay- I wasn't sure what was meant by adaptive skills.
I think the most obvious thing for me is that I end up forgetting to eat or feed myself.
I have been trying to create patterns and habits for this, but it kind of fails. I also just dislike eating in general, but idk what's part of what.
Sometimes I'm not sure how or if I have a high IQ, but I go back and forth on that issue- sometimes I'm like- woah so smart, other times- hmmm, maybe I actually have mental retardation?? I think people can be gifted in different domains but not be good at daily maitenance for themselves (I mean that figuratively not actual cleaning- although that too).

Any tips on helping executive functioning?? or sites or stuff cause I suck at it~ :mrgreen:



Yigeren
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20 Feb 2016, 4:30 pm

Books and other info meant for people with ADHD have good tips on helping executive functioning. Those with ADHD and those with ASD both have problems with executive functioning, and so what helps one group is likely to help the other.

As far as I can tell, there are differences between the kind of executive functioning issues that those with ADHD and those with ASD have, but they are still quite similar.



Unfortunate_Aspie_
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20 Feb 2016, 4:35 pm

Yigeren wrote:
Books and other info meant for people with ADHD have good tips on helping executive functioning. Those with ADHD and those with ASD both have problems with executive functioning, and so what helps one group is likely to help the other.

As far as I can tell, there are differences between the kind of executive functioning issues that those with ADHD and those with ASD have, but they are still quite similar.

Oh! that's interesting. I don't know if I have ADHD, but I find I can only concentrate in two scenarios:
1.) Special Interest anything
2.) If I have massive amounts of coffee & have done some kind of exercise.
I will google that then. :D



btbnnyr
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20 Feb 2016, 4:41 pm

I think books can be quite helpful to identifying and trying out various organizational methods or ways to counteract EF problems. But I think putting into practice is the way to really improve EF, such that EF problems reduce in severity. Like training the brain in EF, but only when one is in a situation with some pressure to do something requiring EF. Without outside pressure, the process may be slower and less effective. By pressure, I don't mean like negative pressure forcing someone to do something, but like a situation with pressure, e.g. studying to get a degree, which is both rewarding if studying a topic of interest and can help develop EF since one must use EF in this process.


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20 Feb 2016, 4:43 pm

Executive function is sometimes called the CEO of the brain, but I feel like it's more the middle-management of the brain. I can see the big picture situation, can make general goals and plans, see what needs to be done generally, etc, etc... but somehow it just doesn't translate into doing things correctly.

Alas, I feel like there's very little information out there about how to get better. It's just about coping techniques. I did find out that apparently getting plenty of cardio exercise helps. I haven't had a chance to test it out.

If anyone wants more info on executive function, Cynthia Kim wrote some nice essays on it with both some examples on how it affects adults (I feel like most of the info out there is about how it makes kids procrastinate on their homework or something) plus some coping techniques.

There are different aspects of EF and you can be bad in some but not all. I think when you have issues in multiple areas, the compound each other, and that's why so many of us have issues.

BeaArthur wrote:
A lot of what these commenters are calling common sense or everyday skills or adaptive function are not skills at all but deficits in executive functions.

I'd say it's both. A skill is the ability to do something, executive function deficits are why we don't have that skill. (Whereas some other disabilities might cause someone to lack that skill for a different reason.)

For autism and similar conditions, poor motor skills can cause an issue with some of this stuff, maybe sensory issues a little bit, but I think for most of us, EF is definitely the main problem.

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My executive functioning is not good. I believe it's responsible for many of my difficulties in navigating my life. I'm working with a therapist to help me to develop adaptations to get around my executive functioning issues.


What kind of therapist are you seeing? (Psychologist, occupational therapist, etc?) I tried to see a counselor about this, but she was more concerned about making me feel less sad about my problems, which usually took the form of insisting that they weren't problems. :x


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Yigeren
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20 Feb 2016, 4:52 pm

btbnnyr wrote:
I think books can be quite helpful to identifying and trying out various organizational methods or ways to counteract EF problems. But I think putting into practice is the way to really improve EF, such that EF problems reduce in severity. Like training the brain in EF, but only when one is in a situation with some pressure to do something requiring EF. Without outside pressure, the process may be slower and less effective. By pressure, I don't mean like negative pressure forcing someone to do something, but like a situation with pressure, e.g. studying to get a degree, which is both rewarding if studying a topic of interest and can help develop EF since one must use EF in this process.


Yes, actually putting the methods into practice does help. It's also important to be motivated, as you said. I'm motivated to finish my degree, so I'm going to use any methods I learn to help me accomplish this goal.

It does really get easier with practice. As I said before, the little tricks I've taught myself over the years have made doing certain things much easier for me, so that I no longer have to use up mental energy to accomplish these tasks. It's now just habit, and so requires less effort. I don't have to try to remember to do these things anymore, and it's great.



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20 Feb 2016, 6:23 pm

i find that it is much easier to keep things inmy head than using organizational systems like to do lists. for attention switching, science expts trained me a lot in that. sometimes it may be easier to find own methods instead of ones from books, as could waste lots of tome learning and practicing some ef system not suited to own brain


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BeaArthur
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20 Feb 2016, 7:14 pm

Cyllya1 wrote:
Executive function is sometimes called the CEO of the brain, but I feel like it's more the middle-management of the brain.


Oh! Well said. I see your point!


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Jo_B1_Kenobi
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21 Feb 2016, 4:55 am

BeaArthur wrote:
A lot of what these commenters are calling common sense or everyday skills or adaptive function are not skills at all but deficits in executive functions.

You can certainly be very smart (IQ) but unable to put it to good use (executive function). There are tricks you can learn to improve executive function, such as using lists, but if you have to put a lot of energy into that, it takes away from just using your smarts (IQ).

I have a more differentiated view of mental strength than I used to. I very much respect someone of moderate IQ but good executive function. I also very much respect someone very smart, but with deficits in executive function.


So would it be true that when I make tea and forget to drink it this could be an executive function issue? If so that's a really interesting insight. I always thought that my executive function was OK and I just lacked 'common sense' because when I'm working I can plan and manage things. That said I do use lists and flow charts to stay on track, so maybe these are the 'tricks' I use to manage a lack of executive function.

Also what you say about a more differentiated view of mental strength really makes sense to me. At school I was the brightest in my year group and yet because outside of the academic arena I have very much weaker skills and abilities than most of my year group there are many people in that group now who are much much more successful than me because they have a better balance of skills and so are more able to leverage that in the world. Looking back I think it's a shame that, at the time, only academic success was focussed on. Mental strength, common sense, executive function - almost none of this is deliberately taught.


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BeaArthur
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21 Feb 2016, 8:18 am

Jo_B1_Kenobi wrote:
At school I was the brightest in my year group and yet because outside of the academic arena I have very much weaker skills and abilities than most of my year group there are many people in that group now who are much much more successful than me because they have a better balance of skills and so are more able to leverage that in the world. Looking back I think it's a shame that, at the time, only academic success was focussed on. Mental strength, common sense, executive function - almost none of this is deliberately taught.

I'm not sure that executive function wasn't taught. My two Aspergers kids didn't bother to learn study skills because they could waltz through school barely cracking a book. But in college, you can't do that as easily, and their performance suffered.

Study skills include organization, planning (for a project, say), staying on task, following a structure, meeting the requirements of a task. I would say there's a lot of executive function there being taught - if the student agrees to learn it.


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21 Feb 2016, 10:02 am

LaetiBlabla wrote:
High IQ is disabling while around with other people with lower IQ.
I tell you from long experience.
You can understand it only if you have high IQ.

Yeah, the IQ is not the disability I see here. I see arrogance because you say people can only understand if they have high IQ. With that attitude, you will certainly alienate people.

LaetiBlabla wrote:
Having high IQ feels like if you were living in the middle of monkeys who laugh at you when you speak, because you do not say "hoo hoo hoo hoo". Then you have to translate your language into "hoo hoo s" ...exhausting.
And, again, you don't seem to understand that this is a completely arrogant position to take. You assume that others do not understand because they are not smart. So, yeah, it ain't the brains, it's the attitude.


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21 Feb 2016, 11:02 am

Yigeren wrote:
Yes, I believe you are correct.

My executive functioning is not good. I believe it's responsible for many of my difficulties in navigating my life. I'm working with a therapist to help me to develop adaptations to get around my executive functioning issues.

I've discovered tricks in the past that have helped me to overcome some of these deficits. Once they became habit, it got much easier to do them. I'm hoping that it will be the same for the new ones I learn.


Would you share your tricks with us?
I know making to-do-lists is very helpful for me for every day life.
But for long-term planning, i am a big fat zero ...