Executive Functioning, Organization, and Feeling Dumb

In the past year, I have come across a large number of older teens and young adults on the spectrum who are struggling with various parts of their lives. Some of them are failing classes, or intimated by taking a large number of credits. Some of them are frustrated with their jobs, or have been fired for poor performance. Some struggle with with healthy habits, or have had arguments with families or housemates.

I have found that the solutions to a lot of these problems are logistics-based. A lot of people on the spectrum have a talent for academics, or have a pay-worthy skill set but have terrible logistical skills (executive functioning). This is a normal part of the ‘peaks and valley’s’ of skills found in many people on the spectrum, but is often over-looked by therapists, well-meaning friends, and family members. A lot of times people who have trouble organizing themselves end up feeling really bad/dumb/inept about themselves, which is a real shame and sometimes leads to a major waste of skills and brain power.

You don’t have to be an excellent clinician to help someone get organized about something. If you know someone with autism who is struggling to make friends, you can go on the internet with them, find something fun, and help them put it on their schedule (phone reminder, written calendar, whatever). Helping people plan stuff like transportation, or the exact change in routine they will have to make can really help. If a person is struggling with school, help them find the math or writing lab, and make some appointments to do their homework in there. Help them get the appointments in their calendar and set a phone alarm.

1 Comment

  1. Ryan February 12, 2014 3:46 pm  Reply

    I have been going to autism support group which is ok however I do have issues with work and appearance as well as getting used to a change of schedule and keeping up with the latest on peers or friends. Seems like I have to use all of my effort and energy just to keep up. Besides dating and all that I don’t think I would have time or would be able to trust someone.

Leave a Reply