Smart but Scattered

The Revolutionary “Executive Skills” Approach to Helping Kids Reach Their Potential

by Peg Dawson , Richard Guare

Number of pages: 314

Publisher: Guilford Press

BBB Library: Parenting, Psychology and Strengths

ISBN: 9781593854454

About the Authors

Peg Dawson : Dawson is a staff psychologist at the Center for Learning and


Richard Guare : Guare is a neuropsychologist and Director of the Center for Learning


Editorial Review

There's nothing more frustrating than watching your bright, talented son or daughter struggle with everyday tasks like finishing homework, putting away toys, or following instructions at school. Your smart but scattered 4- to 13-year-old might also have trouble coping with disappointment or managing anger. Drs. Peg Dawson and Richard Guare have great news: there's a lot you can do to help. The latest research in child development shows that many kids who have the brain and heart to succeed lack or lag behind in crucial executive skills --the fundamental habits of mind required for getting organized, staying focused, and controlling impulses and emotions. Learn easy-to-follow steps to identify your child's strengths and weaknesses, use activities and techniques proven to boost specific skills, and problem-solve daily routines. Helpful worksheets and forms can be downloaded and printed in a convenient 8 1/2 x 11 size. Small changes can add up to big improvements--this empowering book shows how.

Book Reviews

"Smart but Scattered is a user friendly book on executove function skills, the authors break it down into three parts." Indian Parents Forum

"Smart but Scatteredis an easy read, filled with lists, table and charts to make it straightforward, and it could be very useful for parents, teens and adults." Around the Autisms Spectrum

Executive skills are at the root of a lot of learning and behavioral problems, and often get mistaken for hyperactivity or attention deficit or bad attitude or lack of caring. The book has quizzes for pinpointing exactly where your child's blind spots are. (Yours, too.)

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Wisdom to Share

The term executive skills comes from the neurosciences literature and refers to the brain-based skills that are required for humans to execute, or perform, tasks.

Use calendars and schedules yourself and encourage your child to do the same.

Plan an activity for a weekend or vacation day that involves several steps.

Without going overboard, maintain a predictable daily routine in your family.

Emotional control is the ability to manage emotions to achieve goals, complete tasks, or control and direct your behavior.

Read stories in which characters exhibit the behaviors you want your child to learn.

Give your child coping strategies.

Prepare your child for situations that require impulse control by reviewing them in advance.

Help children understand that there are consequences for poor impulse control.

Help your child learn to delay gratification by using formal waiting periods for things she wants to do or have.

Always assume that the youngest children have very little impulse control.