197 Appendix A Misunderstood Minds Executive dysfunctions (weaknesses in the brain functions that support goal-directed action, self-monitoring, attention, response inhibition, and coordination of complex thought) have been associated with numerous neurological conditions, including, but not limited to, schizophrenia, Alzheimer disease, autism spectrum disorder (ASD), attention-deficit/ hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), fetal alcohol syndrome, post-traumatic stress disorder, and depression. This does not mean that just because someone has executive dysfunctions, she will end up with one of these conditions. Instead, it means that if someone has one of these conditions, she will very likely also have executive dysfunctions. A growing body of medical research demonstrates the frontal lobe changes that occur in people who have these and other conditions, and I would argue that these executive challenges are some of the most disabling aspects for children with these conditions. I have chosen 2 well-studied conditions that affect executive functions in children, ASD and ADHD, to demonstrate how the symptoms of disorganization are at the core of these conditions. Autism Spectrum Disorder “I am convinced that my child’s future success both academically and socially has everything to do with my son’s organization.” —Maureen, mother of a 15-year-old with autism ROC_FINAL.indd 197 4/9/19 6:24 PM
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