Self-Regulation as the Core Deficit in ADHD –

Dr. Barkley argues that the critical deficit associated with ADHD is the failure to develop this capacity for “self-control”, also referred to as “self-regulation”. He suggests that this results primarily for biological reasons, and not because of parenting.

As a result of this core deficit in self-regulation, specific and important psychological processes and functions subsequently fail to develop in an optimal way.

Experts believe brain growth occurs at a different rate in individuals. The brain of a 16-year-old might be fully developed, while a sibling’s brain might not reach full maturity until his mid-20s. These factors have been used in defending teens who commit crimes by arguing they lacked the ability to control impulses because of immature brain development.

Executive Function Skills

Executive function refers to brain functions that activate, organize, integrate and manage other functions. It enables individuals to account for short- and long-term consequences of their actions and to plan for those results. It also allows individuals to make real-time evaluations of their actions and make necessary adjustments if those actions are not achieving the desired result.

It is clear that executive function impairments have an adverse effect on an individual’s ability to begin, work on and complete tasks. It is also commonly thought that deficits in executive functions are highly interrelated to symptoms associated with ADHD.