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Home > About Autism > Thinking Styles > Executive Dysfunction Theory

Executive Dysfunction Theory



Executive functions include, planning and organising, initiating behaviour or activity, switching focus, self regulation and impulse control (Boucher, 2009. Cumine et al, 2009). This theory therefore suggests that in people with autism there is a degree of dysfunction in these processes and this results in some of the difficulties people on the spectrum experience with motivation, coping with change, self regulation and control as well as an impact on practical daily life skills that rely on good self organisation and planning such as dressing, shopping, and cooking.


Sam is 19 he has Asperger’s syndrome. He attends university and is studying maths. He has no issues regarding his academic ability to study his chosen subject but he has no idea how to use the booklist he has been given and is struggling to prioritise the workload that arises from the various courses he has to take. He is experiencing a great deal of stress as a result of not being able to pace his work in relation to the range of deadlines he has been given.