If I hear the term executive functioning deficits after a traumatic brain injury. What does that refer to?
Well typically the classic executive functioning deficits deal with three areas. The first would be goals, the second would be time management and the third would be flexibility. Clearly a CEO has to do more than those things. But if a CEO can’t do those things, if, if the executive, if your brain can’t do those things, the rest of the brain’s not going to work very well. Goal setting means you have to be able to plan and then to some degree, carry out those plans. Executive functioning is typically a bit more in terms of actually creating the plans and there’s more areas involved in the actual carrying them out, but that typically would be you have to set a goal, what does the brain want to do? Time management is not just getting things done on a clock, although that’s a very important aspect of it, but it’s a question or marshaling the resources. If you’re going to manufacture your product you have to marshal all of the, the people, the, the parts and everything to put it together and not just throw it together, but you’ve need to put it together in a sequence. So it’s not just doing things on time but doing them in the proper sequence and making sure that the entire sequence gets completed and that you don’t lose track and miss steps or stop entirely.
Flexibility is the other important aspect of executive functioning is that you not only have to be able to make a plan and put together the method to achieve the plan, you have to be able to respond flexibly when things go wrong. If you lack the ability to absorb new information, to incorporate that new information in the actual executing, you know achievement of the plan, executing the plan, then you are starting to show problems with flexibility and this is one of the most common persisting problems after a severe brain injury and can even be so in less severe brain injuries as well.