Smart But Scattered: The Revolutionary "Executive Skills" Approach to Helping Kids Reach Their Potential
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Smart But Scattered: The Revolutionary "Executive Skills" Approach to Helping Kids Reach Their Potential

3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  460 ratings  ·  73 reviews
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...more
ebook, 314 pages
Published November 30th 2011 by Guilford Publications (first published November 24th 2008)
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Kim
Jul 24, 2012 Kim rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Kim by: Diane Hinves
Shelves: parenting, 2012
I initially thought this book would be helpful in parenting kids with ADHD but it is really an excellent resource for parents of typically developing children as well as those with deficits in their executive functioning skills. I really should buy it as a reference. After reading it I finally understood something our psychologist had tried to explain to me previously - that attention and emotional regulation are linked. You use the same part of the brain for each of these skills so when you wor...more
Tracey
Got this book to help my son with his organizational skills. The best part of the book for me was that the author broke apart the executive functioning skills into deeper categories; time management, working memory, emotional control, these were just a few of them. There were checklists to determine which of the categories you (or your child) were weakest or strongest for you.
It seemed that my son had 3 categories that were the weakest: I plan on working on those more.

Some of the ideas and strat...more
Jenny
Feb 15, 2012 Jenny rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents of most kids, but especially those who are "scattered" or emotionally sensitive
I didn't actually finish reading through all the techniques and examples at the end of the book, but I did read most of them. I'm going to call this one finished and use it as a reference as I need to.

This book really opened my eyes about how to deal with my daughter, who is NOT ADHD. I realized that I had been setting unrealistic expectations for her. Unfortunately, we have similar weaknesses, which makes me a sometimes ineffective coach. However, even realizing that has helped us find coping a...more
Jason Griggs
I would recommend this book for all parents. The scope is much broader than the title and blurb imply. The book covers ages 4-14 and covers many different situations, such as behavior during play dates, getting along with siblings, overcoming anxieties, getting dressed independently, time management for long-term projects, and many more. The strategies are not just for children with an attention deficit.

I already owned the Audible version of this book, but I purchased the softcover version too f...more
Jennifer Hughes
At what point do you take something off your "currently reading" list and mark it "read"? I finally decided to after not picking this up for over a year! My pediatrician highly recommended it, but it wasn't as helpful to me as I'd hoped.

I'm pretty organized and logical myself, but *I* felt scattered as I read this book. Don't get me wrong, it has a lot of great elements. I just think many of us parents with ADHD kids already feel pretty overwhelmed with the daily issues we have to deal with. A b...more
Ali
How is it that all the good parenting books have to point out all that dysfunctional with the parents first!!??!! After I fix all my executive function weakness maybe I can be a more perfect parent-bah hahaha. Actually it's pretty good, lots of examples and strategies, helps break down the different exec functions and how they help and hinder and how to strengthen the weak ones.
Jen Cragen
In Smart but Scattered, authors Peg Dawson, EdD, and Richard Guare, PhD, define executive skills, their development trajectory, methods for teaching them, and provide assessments for your children and yourself to see which skills are strengths and which are weaknesses. They bring over 30 years experience to the writing of this book and it shows on every page.

I liked the assessments, the skills definitions, and the routines for improving skills. Alsio of great use are the hints and tips on how to...more
Mandy
I'm still not sure I agree with the premise that school age children with executive skills deficits can really master them with just the proper training. Seems to me you can improve on some behaviors outwardly, but that personality and maturity level account for a lot more of what executive skills your child has mastered and can master.
That said, this book provided some interesting insights and some very good ideas for how to help most kids get back on track. For certain behaviors, the improvem...more
Katie
This book is geared primarily toward parents rather than teachers. I would love to see the authors write a teacher version of this that focuses on school situations. The concepts are transferable, of course, but it would be beneficial to discuss academic issues in terms of executive functioning. A worthwhile read for parents and teachers.

Wendy
This was a very helpful book for me to plot strategies to help my kids grow their executive skills. It wasn't revolutionary to me - we have long used sticker charts and task lists to try to keep the kids on task. However it did make me realize that I could use these same strategies to encourage skills that I would not have considered before, such as emotional control.

The huge revelation to me was the section where I took quizzes that showed the relative strengths and weaknesses of both my kids A...more
Kari Toth
hands down the best parenting book I've ever read. realistic approach to teaching kids and preparing them for the future. everyone should read. what a great resource!!
Jennifer
I think I'm too scattered myself to implement the plans very well, but it gave me some good insights and general strategies for helping my kid with some of his challenges.
Hilary Roberts
(Note: I forgot to enter this immediately when I finished, so I don't remember it as clearly as I wish I did for reviewing purposes...) This book gives a number of "executive skills" (such as being organized and being able to stay on task) that make it so people can function in life. Everyone has strong skills and weak skills. Several quizzes are provided (one for each of three age groups) to determine which skills your child is lacking. The books talks about how each skill is developed and ways...more
Xenos
Some really good advice and strategies for helping kids deal with executive skill deficiencies. I copied a number of logs and charts to help me in my quest to organize my "smart but scattered" children. The problem with the book was that there was so much information on so many different issues that it often became overwhelming to try and sort everything out...especially when each of your kids' needs are different. There was a lot of "we will cover this more in Chapter X" and "please refer back...more
nicebutnubbly
I'm reading this on audiobook now. And I'm glad I found it - the kids she describes ARE my kid. This is targeted perfectly to us. I am recognizing so many things in this that I have hashed over a million times with myself, my partner, my therapist, and of course, my kid.

That said, I have yet to hear any solutions we haven't tried. I have great hopes for later chapters, but her sunny scenarios don't match the reality of what our efforts have thus far yielded, and I am no stranger to structured su...more
Christine
This is a fabulous resource for parents of any child struggling with executive skills. It includes questionnaires that helped me figure out which executive skills are my child's strengths and weaknesses (and find out my own). By the time I finished the book, I had a detailed plan for how to help my child finish her homework and get ready for school in the morning. I was so impressed that although I checked this book out from the library and read it all, I am ordering a copy for home reference.
Jennifer
Lots of good information about the different types of executive skills and how to help kids strengthen and improve upon them. The book includes a few questionnaires to identify in which skills your child has weaknesses. An entire chapter is devoted to each executive skill, with sample strategies to help with common needs (procrastinating with homework or chores, having tantrums in response to changed plans, inability to keep bedroom clean, etc).

I haven't tried any of the strategies, so I have no...more
Norm Deplume
I thought about giving this book only 4 stars because it focuses heavily on strategies for kids in school (and I am a honeachooler), but the more I think about it, the more I like the book. I found myself nodding in agreement when a technique is mentioned that I had already tried, which gives me confidence that the other things they suggest will be as helpful.
Denise
More a book for parents than for educators - their Executive Skills in Children & Adolescents is definitely a better one for me to own, professionally, but if I were a parent this would be a good book to have on the shelf.
Annette
Great resource for learning about executive functioning skills. I helped me look at the strengths that each of our family members have in executive skills and use them to help overcome our weaknesses. Some things are obvious and we naturally figure them out, but this book has great resources to help you teach the skills when they aren't coming naturally. Some of the checklists don't seem practical to maintain in everyday life, but this book is a very valuable resource. (Sidenote: I got the kindl...more
Linda
I've been reading this off and on for more than a year. It's a great resource if you have a child who lacks one or more executive skills: organization, flexibility, etc. It has grade-based rating scales so you can determine what your child's executive skill strengths and weaknesses are, and then it has a chapter that addresses each skill and way to help your child. I especially appreciated that this book speaks to parents of kids of various ages and offers examples of and solutions for all ages...more
Ben
I want to have children with terrible executive skills, just so I can use this book, it's that awesome.

Actually, it would be incredibly useful to anyone, even for adults trying to diagnose what they are missing.

There is even a section full of 'ready made plans for teaching various routines'. With checklists, step by step algorithms, and lots of adaptability. It's nice to have a book that has all that stuff, rather than being something like "theory of organization and parenting". Instead, it's li...more
Angie
Outstandingly helpful book!!!
Jennifer Whittaker
I dislike the heavy emphasis on incentives to improve executive functioning skills. The information on what executive skills are is sound.
Wende
This is an accessibe and practical manual for parents dealing with ADHD. The quiz that helps you compare your own executive style to that of your child is especially informative as it gives you insight to the areas of most conflict and misunderstanding. There are concrete plans for shoring up skills in all areas, nice reproducibles and advice on seeking outside help when it's needed. I read a library copy, but will likely purchase one as a household reference.
Janice
This book was helpful. It offers lots of coping ideas and plans to help the scattered child. I just wish it had been organized a little differently. It covered the young child through middle school/high school age. I wish it had split it up in sections by ages because I was afraid to skip sections because I thought I might miss something, but I really could have done without some of the suggestions for the little ones.
Jacob Cruzan
This is a great book on helping children learn and develop life skills. The authors simply label 11 skills parent need to help their children develop and they provide strategies to help parents help their kids. In an age where every mis behavior is some kind of disorder, this book offers good insight into addressing these behaviors and correcting them. I would recomment this book to all parents or parents to be.
Nikki
The information was ok, but each section focusing on different behaviors and how to modify them was very redundant. I felt like there was a lot of overlap, and so I decided to return this book without finishing it. There were a few good ideas that I took away from the 3/4s that I did read. Many of the author's solutions were great, but too time consuming to be practical for this mother of 6.
Suzanne Koebler
Great ideas... Breaks kids development down into executive function, let's you do an assessment and gives ideas how to build weaker areas
Kim
Insight into variety of organizational challenges, including procrastination. Provides specific plans to help execute (LOTS of charts and lists.) Reminder to teach specific steps of organizing (i.e. pick up laundry, make bed, reshelve books vs. "clean your room"). Nothing terribly insightful, and absolutely nothing tailored to "smart " kids.
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