My 15 year-old son has some pretty major executive function problems. This manifests as everything from short-term memory loss to poor impulse control to problems with organization and planning. It stems either from his severe ADHD or a congenital defect that he has where his cerebellum extends into his neck, although his neurologist now says that after two surgeries, this is no longer a problem for him.
He sees two different counselors, a neurologist, his primary care doctor, is in the court system, and has a coordinator for community services, so he’s extremely plugged in to all that the “system” has to offer him for help.
What I am looking for are things that I can do, or he can do, or that we can do together to help him overcome this. It seems to be such a misunderstood, or little-understood, affliction, and there is seems to be a lot of conflicting information on it out there for the average layperson. There’s also the issue of what a 15 year-old boy is willing to do on a regular basis- playing video games, yes; doing crossword puzzles or other brain exercises, not so much. Up until now, I and everyone else that works with him have pretty much just assumed that as he matures, he would get better and these issues would resolve themselves and he would be okay. But sadly, I don’t see it happening so far, and like I said, he’s 15 now. I am feeling a sense of urgency now.
It’s extremely frustrating to be the caretaker/parent of a person with this disorder. I often say that it’s like he wakes up every day to a whole new world where he has to learn the rules to everything all over again. We have posted rules around the house for such things as taking a shower, cleaning up after a snack, cleaning his room, etc., and that’s helped somewhat, but it’s still an issue. I’ve been extremely patient and understanding, trying not to blame him for this, which I feel is really not within his control- however, I am starting to worry a lot about how his life is going to be as an adult. I’m sorry, but I don’t want to take care of him for the next however-many years (not that I don’t love him but you know) and I can’t imagine any roommate or girlfriend or wife in the world is going to be willing to take care of him, either. Less for me, though, and much more for himself, I want him to get better and overcome this.
People that meet him have a hard time believing that he even has these problems at home- he presents as very polite, intelligent, with adult-level conversational skills- which is good, but I don’t feel that many of all these people that are there to help him take this seriously, because he doesn’t seem to have these problems unless you live with him. He does well at school because he has an IEP and a lot of modifications.
Anyway, I have been doing some research online, and talking to his various support people, trying to sort this all out, and I thought, why not ask you people- there are very few situations that *someone * here has not been through.