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Effective Accommodation Practices (EAP) Series

As the name suggests, executive functions are high-level mental processes or abilities that influence and direct more basic abilities like attention and memory. The term executive function describes a set of cognitive abilities that include the ability to plan, organize and strategize, pay attention to and remember details, start and stop actions, and form concepts and think abstractly.

Executive functions also keep us from behaving in inappropriate ways. People with poor executive functions have difficulty monitoring and regulating their behaviors. These difficulties can include monitoring and changing behavior as needed, planning future behavior when faced with new tasks and situations, and anticipating outcomes and adapting to changing situations. People with poor executive functions will often have problems interacting with others and fitting in socially (Encyclopedia of Mental Disorders, 2014).

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