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Executive Functioning Problems Are The Worst

Whenever I hear about autistic people not being able to do things it’s always about the social skills. But the thing is, we can learn them with time. Much better than people would expect. The real problem I’m having at this point is focus. Multitasking. Remembering all the things I have to do in a day and seeing them through. I think this part of autism really needs more attention.

For an autistic person, I do pretty well. I live independently. I’m my own legal guardian. I have a few age-appropriate, non-Internet friends whom I see every week. I even have a savings account.

But I have some real problems with day-to-day things. It can take me hours to start a task and I need lots of breaks in between. I’m trying to have better time management so I can write more consistently. But I’ll never be able to do much in a day as an NT can. Which sucks, because I have plenty of interests.

Maybe part of it is weak central cohesion. We spend so much time taking in details and putting them together that it drains half our tank. I hear maybe half of what people say to me. And not always the important half.

Also, I can’t drive. Which doesn’t bother me now because I live in New York City. But where I come from, you drive. When I wanted to go out I had to either make my friends go out of their way to pick me up or have my mom drive me around. It was a real hit to my pride. But driving is one of the most multitasking-heavy things we do. I’m thrilled about driverless cars. They’ll make life better for all of us.

I even forget to do basic daily living things sometimes. Like my mom has to keep reminding me to pay my bills. I can always remember to keep my hangers spaced a perfect 3/4 inch apart, but I put my mail on the desk when I walk in the door and I forget to pick it back up. I sometimes have trouble with paperwork. I lose my keys. I have to keep checking the stove to make sure I turned it off. I can camp out doing nothing in my room for days, which we all know isn’t healthy. Also my place is such a pigsty that a 20 year old pot dealer would be ashamed of it.

Honestly I think I’ll need some independent living skills classes to truly be on my own. I think I’ll manage eventually. I’d just have to be vigilant. Having a partner who’s more organized than I’ll ever be helps a lot.

Another thing that helps is making lists. I always overshoot. But it’s a good way to remember the most important things and to feel productive. If anyone has some more organizational tips let me know.

Executive Functioning Problems Are The Worst

Gwendolyn Kansen

Gwen Kansen is a mental health writer in New York. She likes food, karaoke, and smart-but-campy books & TV. She's hoping to capture a little sliver of life on here that might not be the first thing you'd see.

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APA Reference
Kansen, G. (2017). Executive Functioning Problems Are The Worst. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 27, 2020, from


Last updated: 24 Jan 2017
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