Executive function is…

Sometimes I wonder why it takes me so long to get anything done. And then I remember…

Executive function is opening the jar before poking the spoon at the jam.

Executive function is boiling the kettle before trying to pour water onto the coffee grounds.

Executive function is pants, socks, shorts and running shoes … in that order.

Executive function is what lets you make dinner on the fly, without arranging all the ingredients first in order of use, neatly lined up across the countertop. Executive function is what saves 15 minutes for the oven to heat up; what gets dinner to the table on time. Executive function is being able to decide what to eat of an evening without having a plan in advance.

Executive function is being able to start a new task without rehearsing it over and over in your mind beforehand.

Executive function is stripping the bed before starting the wash into which the bedclothes were supposed to go!

Reduced executive function is why autistics need time to plan ahead for new activities.

Reduced executive function is why we can shy away from commitments or, despite our best intentions, may fail to follow through.

Reduced executive function is why we need to know miles beforehand about even the smallest changes in routine.

Reduced executive function is why so many struggle without the proper support to make it through school; to hold down a job; to manage our own homes and lives.

Reduced executive function is one of the main things that holds us back from achieving our potential.

Despite reduced executive function, thanks to careful planning, I am enjoying a unexpected flurry of wintertime productivity at work.

Despite reduced executive function, I have signed up for a frightening number of non-routine seasonal activities, artfully placed for maximum disruption to eating routines – and so far am on track to follow through on all of them!

Despite reduced executive function, with cards sent and presents waiting only to be wrapped, I am almost ready for Christmas.

With foreknowledge, we can achieve. Given control, our differences are strengths.

Happy Christmas everyone!

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