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Noitartst

Seeking Help Dealing with Executive Function Issues

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Noitartst

I seem to have executive functioning issues, and I was seeking guidance (and support) over how to deal with it. How do I work around it, to achieve my goals? Ilearn best by a comination of watching, and doing, but if the supports, aren't in place, I don't do much of anything, which has been the big story of my last twenty years, essentially.

 

How do I break the mold?

 

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King_oni

Use schedules? Make step-by-step schemes? From what I understood that's often a way to make people learn it.

 

Do you have problems with all executive functions? Or specific ones?

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BirdSong

I'd love advise on this too :) any links that others have found personally helpful would be appreciated.

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ponz

I have issues with executive functions too, so I obsessively plan and mentally rehearse things.  For example, I bought new curtains about a year ago, and spent a few weeks going over the steps on how to first remove the old ones and put the new ones up.  I had never done it before and couldn't assimilate it into my daily schedules without that type of planning.  Another example is when I bought my humidifier, I knew I'd have to clean it weekly, so I looked up the manual online (before I even got it), read the cleaning instructions and looked at diagrams of all the parts, and mentally mapped out all the steps of how I'd go about cleaning it over and over.  It was still confusing and stressful the first few times I cleaned it, but I got into a pattern.

 

Also, to ensure I complete all necessary steps and do so efficiently, I make sure to do things in the same order every time I do them, so it becomes habit.  Like when I make my soup, I have to chop a lot of vegetables, and it can be overwhelming to make sure I chop all of them and get it done before a certain time.  I chop the yellow squash, then zucchini (yellow first, if I have any, then the green kind), then I take a break, then I chop the baby broccoli, then the kale, then the chard and bok choy together, then the red onion, then the green beans.  Keeping to that pattern makes it far less stressful.

 

I also keep to schedules and routines, so I don't forget things or run out of time for things.  I go grocery shopping every Tuesday night at 7pm.  If I have to shower, I do laundy at 9pm, so then I can be sure it's done by midnight.  I pull oil between 11pm and midnight, so then I can shower around 12:30am.  If I have to cook, I prefer to start at 2am, but sometimes things don't go as planned (like me losing track of time), so I sometimes start at 3am.  That's when I chop all the vegetables.  After that, I wash dishes for a half an hour.  Then I add the stock and eggs to the pot of vegetables and cook it.  While it's cooking, I take my fish oil, sauerkraut juice and probiotics.  Once it's done cooking, I pour a bowl, put it in my room and go brush my teeth and wash my face.  Then I put the rest of the soup in the fridge and wait for my still steaming hot soup bowl to cool.  I do this exact routine every single time.

 

So mentally rehearsing steps ahead of time, researching to help plan ahead and making/keeping to schedules and routines is my advice!

 

Oh!  And if you have to add something new into your routine, like a new step, try adding it in relation to something you've already built into your routine.  When I first started taking fish oil, I wasn't sure how to remember and plan to take it, so I just started taking it at the same time I take my probiotics, which I was already used to taking before eating.  So the fish oil became a part of the probiotics routine (and now the sauerkraut is a part of the routine, too!).

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Nesf

What specific problems do you have with EF?

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thegingerone

I also struggle with this.  Generally, I've found that having a solid routine really helps me get things done, but then I find it really hard to add new things into that routine and I get in a massive mess if it's disrupted. 

 

Scheduling is something I have tried, and it's taken me ages to get used to marking things out on my calendar and year planner (which I'm still not the best at doing).  But eventually I think it will begin to sink in and I might see a difference.  Maybe try something like making lists of things to do (if that's what you have issues with) or something similar and try to stick to it.  It will take a long time to get used to doing it, but it could potentially help in the future. 

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Noitartst

Mostly, I have trouble shifting gears, going from one activity to the other.  I learned following cooking recipes fine, because I saw it done, growing up, but withother things, well, there's no game plan.  I can follow a schedule, and I can make schedules, but in unstructured activities, I get lost.  It's kinda hard to explain better than  that.

 

The following is an email I've composed, explaing the best solution I can think of.  Call it wrong, or whatever, but I've found that whenever I don't hafta focus on gear shifting, I'm able to enjoy myelf better, plus I can focus on the big picture, even while following a schedule.  Unable to gear shift, schedule become hollow, and lifeless.

 

I'm a thirty-five-year-old male with Aspergers seeking  help finding someone.  DVR and Work Source are effectively useless for my situation, given they can't make phone calls for me, and while I'm still trying with DVR via the route of an ombudsman, that's the problem.  (It's structural.)  I've tried recruiting on my own, via Craigslist, but social proof is best.  I want to do that again, but futility is doing the same thing over expecting different outcomes.
 
Some social worker in this role would be the best  fit, but "conflicts of interest" is the constant refrain I'm facing, and am seeking an end run around it.  Basically, the issue is marketing, and I need help compensating for my Aspergers tendencies.  
 
A great example of where someone could be useful to me is the story of Earl, the gentleman who ran the Exceptional Foresters in Shelton. he and I in meetings clicked, but then I heard he'd ended at EFI, and as such, I wanted to see if he couldn't now assist me personally.  Trouble was, his former place of employment didn't give out his number, and I didn't know anyway around that roadblock, at the time.  Turns out, he was close to keeling over, but even so, he was the sort of bloke I could've used, death-watch besides.
 
Moreover, if  I had the right  partner, or at minimal, support, I'd be tracing right back to the Economic Development Council of Thurston County.  They can help me develop a business plan but they can't help me find a partner because they don't play match-maker.    I really do want to return, though, because I've got a couple ideas I'm hankering to see developed.  Just so you know, the EDC's contact info is:  (360) 754-6320
 
Look:  Alright, for professional reasons, folks within certain agencies possess the requisite skills to aid, but lack the legal leeway to help me therein.  But you know what?  Such folks retire, or switch jobs, and those are the ones worth asking, and all I'm asking is for someone whose ears are attuned to the grapevine to assist. 
 
My DVR counselor is ineffective for my situation, given she can't work outside Mason or Thurston, but she can discuss it better than I. Paul, my EFI point man, though, has been closer to the solution than anyone else, and is the best template  I've found.  There are also some folks from Work Source I've been working with, who can also enlighten, if queried.   
 
You can learn more from failures than successes, so take what has already been tried to heart, in my case.   I need a representative on my behalf, to speak, and make calls, someone who can be relied on as my mouthpiece.  If I cannot get that, then I need an intermediate step, AKA a recruiter, agent, or something.
 
Business partner, representative, agent, recruiter, or advocate--all these amount to being for me what I call "an interface."  What I want, above all, is to live up to my abilities, facilitate my strengths, but I'm afraid I haven't had much success doing so, and that's what I need help with, so let's do something about it, shall we?   
 
At a minimum, a recruiter, basically, has only to manage responses to my Craigslist ads, make calls, speak on my behalf, etc.  (Trust me, I have my reasons.)  Social proof beats self-proof, and basically I'm building a support network.  Basically, all a recruiter has to do is refer a candidate to someone like Paul, who will talk to him, whilst keeping me in the loop. Know anyone that can do that?  There must be someone with social connections that can help me, because there are an awful lot of places I need contacting, and I am just not cut out to be a chief of staff.  
 
Oh, and I am indeed prepared to to compensate an agent/business partner.  If an agent, out of my future earnings, and if business partner, future rewards.  Outside that, for a recruiter, I think that is sufficiently light for a volunteer function.  In such a case, though, I'll still need to find a volunteer.
 
Places I've Already Contacted:
Division of Vocational Rehabilitation
Behavioral Health Resources
Exceptional Foresters
Love Inc.
1st Baptist of Shelton
Autism Society of Washington
Various therapists/counselors

Issues of Developing the Right Skills
My issue has always been about creating the right structure to operate out of, to regulate.  Managing time, scheduling, prioritizing, has been a struggle for me, and I cannot further proceed sans addressing them.  Do I know what I want out of life?  Yes!  As the below says:

Mission Statement:  "To change the world."

More specifically, I have some big, outsized goals, namely:
A vortex engine.
Two internet startup ideas.
A musical.

These projects are all so huge and sprawling, I can't conceivably begin to do all at once, and I know better than to try.  They say it's best to focus on no more than two larger goals at once, and keep the rest on the backburner, which is fine.  I have a list of other, personal achievement goals, but here are my more immediate, pressing ones:
Health. 
Employment.
Insurance.
Finances.  
Housing.  (Notice how these have periods at the end, compared to the previous lists.)

To achieve my highest, or meta, goals, I need to manage the latter ones better.  To do so, I need to develop the right skills, and for that, I am looking at greater specifics....

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Noitartst

Oh, and echo...I think struggling with executive function deficits led to my burnout, which you described very well.  It happened 20 years ago, and I'm still recovering.  I place a huge amount of responsibility on myself, and I need to trust others that it's not all on me.

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The Id

 

Mission Statement:  "To change the world."

 

That is a genuinely noble mission statement Noitartst. To change the world you must first become the energy that instigates the changes and you can't do that from the back seat. It is that old saying "before you can change the world, you have to change yourself" and that is the hardest thing in the world to do right now.

 

How do you break the mould? In whatever way you can find that works for you. Try everything until something fits. If you want it enough and are prepared to stand up to your default desires then somewhere somehow something will click into place and you'll be in business. There is no easy solution. If you want change in anything then you have to become the agent of change.

 

The things that have worked for me are to recognise when I'm around an overwhelming number of negative and oppressive people and move away somewhere else. Recognise when my internal thoughts are unhelpful and "tell them to bugger off". Pushing back against my internal noise took a long time and a lot of soul searching. Recognising that the recurring thoughts in my head are generated by things in the past and are of no help for things in a future that is deliberately different from the past.

 

Break out of those old habits any way you can and you'll see change starting to happen. Nobody can help you change yourself unless you really want that above anything else. Then you can change the world.

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