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The Social Executive Function Skills That Elude Kids with ADHD

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cringey jokes. Struggling in unstructured social situations. Children and teens with ADHD know these social struggles and misunderstandings too well.

For many kids, friendship foibles like these become a source of shame over time; they question why they can’t grasp what comes intuitively to their peers and may retreat socially, often into the world of “virtual friendships.”Why do kids with ADHD struggle with friendships?

Navigating social interactions requires various mental processes, or executive function skills. Deficits and delays in these skills – which I refer to as social executive function skills – are common in ADHD, and they explain many of our kids’ problems in the social realm.Lagging social executive function skills represent a learning challenge; they prevent children from intuitively picking up on social information from a young age to the same extent as their peers.

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