– Executive Skills
Executive skills are associated with the frontal lobes.
People with damage to this part of the brain are often unable to reason things through logically. They may be inflexible in their thinking, becoming fixed on one particular thought and unable to consider alternatives or another person’s point of view.
In conversation they may express one set opinion repeatedly, believing that their opinion is the only correct one – even in the face of contradictory evidence. Conversely, they may lose their train of thought and go off on a tangent. Whichever of these may apply, conversations can be very frustrating and unrewarding for others, particularly if the ABI survivor is unable to recognise this.
On a practical level, these reasoning difficulties contribute to poor planning and problem-solving because the person cannot analyse problems, consider options and think of possible solutions. In general, people with frontal lobe damage have difficulty in planning, monitoring and evaluating their performance and behaviour. They do not learn from their mistakes and cannot organise themselves. For example, extreme difficulty is often experienced in setting future goals and in organising steps to achieve those goals once set.