Welcome to The ADHD Center of North Dallas!


From the Corner Office:


At the Center we monitor children with many variations of development which affect their ability to be successful in school.  These concerns cross many disciplines.  The amount of current research from a variety of disciplines is increasing at an exponential rate.  In this section we attempt to survey and translate the current research into concepts that are understandable and applicable toward enhancing the accomplishment of the students we serve.  That is our goal is “translating research into accomplishment”.


Todays topic:

What are the executive functions?


1)    Working Memory and recall—holding facts in mind while manipulating information; accessing facts stored in long-term memory.

2)    Activation, arousal, and effort—getting started; paying attention; finishing work.

3)    Controlling emotions—ability to tolerate frustration; thinking before acting or speaking.

4)    Internalizing language—using self-talk to control one’s behavior and direct future actions.

5)    Taking an issue apart; analyzing the pieces, reconstituting and organizing it into new ideas—complex problem solving.



Common Academic Problems Linked to ADHD and Executive Function Deficits

Many students with ADD or ADHD have impaired working memory and slow processing speed, which are important elements of executive function. Not surprisingly, these skills are critical for writing essays and working math problems.

A recent research study by Mayes and Calhoun has identified written expression as the most common learning problem among students with ADHD (65 percent). Consequently, writing essays, drafting book reports or answering questions on tests or homework is often very challenging for these students. For example, when writing essays, students often have difficulty holding ideas in mind, acting upon and organizing ideas, quickly retrieving grammar, spelling and punctuation rules from long-term memory, manipulating all this information, remembering ideas to write down, organizing the material in a logical sequence, and then reviewing and correcting errors.

Since learning is relatively easy for most of us, sometimes we forget just how complex seemingly simple tasks really are, for example memorizing multiplication tables or working a math problem. For example, when a student works on a math problem, he must fluidly move back and forth between analytical skills and several levels of memory (working, short-term, and long-term memory). With word problems, he must hold several numbers and questions in mind while he decides how to work a problem. Next he must delve into long-term memory to find the correct math rule to use for the problem. Then he must hold important facts in mind while he applies the rules and shifts information back and forth between working and short-term memory to work the problem and determine the answer.

To further complicate matters, other serious conditions may co-occur with ADD and ADHD. According to the recent landmark National Institute of Mental Health MTA study on ADHD, two thirds of children with ADHD have at least one other coexisting problem, such as depression or anxiety. Accommodating students with complex cases of attention deficit disorder is critical! These children are at greater risk than their peers for a multitude of school problems, for example, failing a grade, skipping school, suspension, expulsion, and sometimes, dropping out of school and not going to college.



Working memory.  Working memory is a limited capacity, multicomponent cognitive system that allows us to hold and manipulate information “on line” for a brief period of time (A. Baddeley 1996).  That is working memory is the brain function that helps us keep track of what we are doing or where we are moment to moment, and that holds information long enough to make a decision or generate a thought. (R. Logie)