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Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that impacts the parts of the brain that help us plan, focus on, and execute tasks.  It affects how you pay attention, sit still, and control your behavior. It affects millions of children and often continues into adulthood.

Executive function is a set of mental skills that include working memory, flexible thinking, and self-control. We use these skills every day to learn, work, and manage daily life. The trouble with executive function can make it hard to focus, follow directions, and handle emotions, among other things.

Types of ADHD

In order to make ADHD diagnoses more consistent, the American Psychiatric Association grouped the condition into three categories or types of ADHD.  These categories include: primarily hyperactivity-impulsive, primarily inattentive, and a combination of both. The type of ADHD that you or your child has will determine how it’s treated. It's important to know that the type of ADHD that you have can change over time, so your treatment may also change.

Primarily Hyperactive-Impulsive ADHD

People with primarily hyperactive-impulsive ADHD act “as if driven by a motor” with little impulse control. They have the constant need to move, squirm, and the tendency to talk at even the most inappropriate times. They are often impulsive, and impatient, and tend to interrupt others.

Primarily Inattentive ADHD

People with primarily inattentive ADHD have difficulty with focusing, finishing tasks, and following instructions. They are easily distracted by everything around them, they are forgetful, and tend to lose things often.

Primarily Combined Type ADHD

This is the most common type of ADHD. People with this type of ADHD display both inattentive and hyperactive symptoms. These symptoms often include an inability to pay attention, a tendency toward impulsiveness, and above-normal levels of activity and energy.

Executive Function Skills


The difference between ADHD and executive function challenges

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