Executive functioning is a mental skill that requires a higher level of thinking, such as planning and problem solving. Impaired executive functioning is common after a traumatic brain injury because it is associated with the prefrontal cortex, an area of the brain that is highly vulnerable to injury.
When a traumatic brain injury occurs in childhood, impaired executive functioning can be difficult to assess. Children often won't develop comprehensive executive functioning until they are in high school. Even then, problems can be difficult to assess unless they have some relationship to real-life situations.
The Party Planning Task is an assessment tool for executive functioning. It requires the participant to organize a party while meeting several constraints. The task requires a high level of problem-solving and reasoning. A recent study found that the Party Planning Task accurately assessed impaired executive functioning in two adolescents who sustained a brain injury when they were younger. The Party Planning Task may therefore be a useful tool for clinicians who need an accurate, real-life simulation of executive functioning.
Shanahan L, McAllister L, & Curtin M. The Party Planning Task: A useful tool in the functional assessment of planning skills in adolescents with TBI. Brain Injury. (October 2011).