Executive Functioning

Research studies have been inconsistent, but there is evidence that some people with Duchenne have problems with executive functioning. This is a term used to describe skills that are needed to complete goal-oriented behaviors. This includes things like planning, organization, initiation, mental flexibility, and self-analysis. Mental flexibility in particular appears to be more problematic in Duchenne than in the general population.

  • People with problems in this area will have difficulty adapting to changes in expectations or requirements, or in transitioning from one activity to the next.
  • They can get stuck on one idea and have a hard time shifting their thinking away from it, even when others are getting annoyed or angry with them.
  • They may appear stubborn or hard-headed, but it is important to keep in mind that this reflects a cognitive weakness rather than a character flaw.

Problems with executive functioning commonly occur in the presence of ADHD.

Information in this section was contributed, in part, by James Poysky, PhD. Read Dr. Poysky’s entire document, Learning and Behavior in Duchenne (download).