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Smart but Scattered: The Revolutionary "Executive Skills" Approach to Helping Kids Reach Their Potential Paperback – January 2, 2009

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Smart but Scattered: The Revolutionary "Executive Skills" Approach to Helping Kids Reach Their Potential + Smart but Scattered Teens: The "Executive Skills" Program for Helping Teens Reach Their Potential + Late, Lost, and Unprepared: A Parents' Guide to Helping Children with Executive Functioning
Price for all three: $40.45

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 314 pages
  • Publisher: Guilford Press; 1st edition (January 2, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1593854455
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593854454
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 7.2 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (119 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,691 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"The best parent resource on executive skills that I have seen. As a parent of three children, one of whom has learning disabilities, and as a special education associate who works in the classroom, I highly recommend this book. It shows there is hope for children who are struggling, and offers practical, detailed advice."--L. Libbey, parent, Hampton, NH

"Filled with real-world examples and solutions, this easy-to-read book is the first comprehensive guide to the management of children's executive skills. It gets to the heart of the matter, offering both parents and teachers accessible and highly efficient means to cope with a gamut of obstacles faced by children of all ages and abilities."--Kristina Mecelicaite, MEd, special education coordinator, North Central Charter Essential School, Fitchburg, MA

"Do you feel stymied by your child's failure to live up to his or her potential? Have you run out of ideas about how to handle the situation? Look no further--this fascinating and readable book is packed full of useful ideas that will help you understand what the problem is and how you can help. It presents practical and proven techniques based on rigorous scientific research."--Peter Farrell, PhD, University of Manchester, UK; past president, International School Psychology Association  

"If you've ever wondered why your child struggles academically or behaviorally--despite having the 'right stuff' to succeed--this book is essential reading. Drs. Dawson and Guare explain the importance of executive skills and provide science-based strategies that empower you to start helping your child today."--Sam Goldstein, PhD, coauthor of Raising Resilient Children

"Drs. Dawson and Guare translate cutting-edge research into meaningful, practical, well-organized, and easy-to-implement strategies that parents can use to enhance a child's natural executive abilities. This brilliant book is by far the best on the topic that I have read to date."--Russell A. Barkley, PhD, ABPP, author of Taking Charge of ADHD

"Groundbreaking....Compassionate and parent friendly....Dawson and Guare's personal anecdotes lend immediacy....Smart but Scattered is comprehensive, accessible, and hopeful....Dawson and Guare's work should be considered essential."--Library Journal
(Library Journal 2009-01-04)

"Fun to read....This book is quite interactive....Questionnaires are provided both for children (of various ages) as well as parents, so that they can both see their strengths and weaknesses....Techniques to teach executive skills are shown in a step-wise manner, and planning sheets are available throughout the text....Another strength of this book is its focus on the emotional aspect of executive functioning, and providing strategies to bolster the emotional skill set of children....Strongly recommended for any parent who wishes to help their children maximize their potential, even if they do not have identified academic or behavioral struggles."--Journal of the Canadian Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
(Journal of the Canadian Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 2013-02-01)

"The authors provide a satisfying framework for creating environmental supports in areas needed and supplying the hands-on direction necessary for children to function well and build confidence. While Susan Ericksen's distinct and assertive enunciation promotes respect for these ideas, her warmth also makes them sound inviting."--AudioFile
(AudioFile 2012-12-01)

About the Author

Peg Dawson, EdD, works as a clinical school psychologist at the Center for Learning and Attention Disorders in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Dr. Dawson is a past president of both the National Association of School Psychologists and the International School Psychology Association. She is a recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Association of School Psychologists.

Richard Guare, PhD, is a neuropsychologist and Director of the Center for Learning and Attention Disorders. His research and publications focus on understanding and treatment of learning and attention difficulties and neurological disorders. Board certified as a behavior analyst, Dr. Guare frequently consults to schools and agencies.

Drs. Dawson and Guare have over 30 years of experience working with children and adolescents with learning, attention, and behavior difficulties. They are also the authors of Smart but Scattered Teens.

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Customer Reviews

This book was very informative and well-written.
This book was recommended by my son's psychologist to help understand and deal with his ADHD.
Natalie Seiling
It has great ideas for strengthening Executive Skill weaknesses.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

305 of 312 people found the following review helpful By Emily on October 2, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I noticed that a lot of reviews were written by special ed teachers and psychologists, and wanted to add mine as a parent. This book FINALLY shed light on the challenges my son faces at home and school. It not only gave me concrete tools and ideas to help him strengthen his executive skills, but also an understanding of what was going on, which led to more patience on my part. Nagging him to get organized and constantly reminding him to stay on task was not helping. His executive skill weaknesses were beginning to lead to low self-esteem and a "better not to try than to fail" attitude. This book has helped me to begin turning that around. It was recommended to me by a psychologist. If anyone has ever hinted that your child might be ADHD-- read this book before accepting any labels.
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165 of 174 people found the following review helpful By Sheila on February 4, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this about 8 months ago to read for tips on how to help our teenage son, who has high functioning autism,ADD, and anxiety. It has become possibly the best book resource for helping us help him with organization at home and school. I just read a section to him yesterday as we were considering the possibility of increasing his medication--the checklist of questions provided in the book helped us to make our decision.

One thing the book talks about is how OUR own executive weaknesses can exacerbate our kids' struggles. Through reading this section I realized I have HUGE problem in estimating how long things take to accomplish, and how this has affected my life, in creating stress for me, and how this has impacted my being able to help my son, who also has this weakness.

I also appreciate the respectful tone the book has towards the struggles kids have. The authors do not focus on blame, but rather focus on dealing with the problems and solving them

Extremely practical, realistic and hopeful. Two words--BUY IT! You won't be disappointed.
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116 of 123 people found the following review helpful By NWMoominmamma on November 21, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Another parent here. I have three highly gifted kids who nevertheless seem unable to accomplish simple tasks. A friend recommended this book, and it's forcing me to endure a complete paradigm shift, not only about my expectations for them, but of my own weaknesses in this area. Sure, I've had trouble staying organized, I start tasks only to leave them half-completed, and I feel like I have far more potential than I produce. But until I took the inventory for parents in this book, I didn't realize how truly weak my own executive skills are all around (unless I'm inspired, and then I'm a machine! ... just like my daughter). My husband took the quiz and -- not surprisingly -- his EF (executive function) skills are nearly off the charts on the other end. He laughed a little as he said he wondered how honest I was going to be, but he agreed with my self-assessment. Suddenly, I understand why a disastrous house sends me into tears, but he can get to work and make it spotless in a couple hours. But this book also showed me that it's not an inherent personality failure on my part -- it's that I never learned these skills properly! After just a weekend of talking about some issues together, my daughter (8) and I have created strategies to help us with our organizational skills. I'm also staying more patient with my 5-yr-old son, who is pretty much a 1 on emotional control (but quite good with organization).

This book isn't an instant silver bullet solution, but it provides new ways of thinking and conceptualizing about your children's (and your own) strengths and weaknesses. If your children are also very smart, I also *highly* recommend reading this book together with:
...Read more ›
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65 of 69 people found the following review helpful By Lynn P on March 12, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If you have a choice between print & kindle editions, buy the print. There are lots of quizzes & charts which are not well formatted for the kindle.

This book is an excellent introduction for someone not familiar with the concept. It does a nice job of having the parent look at his/her own executive skills deficits and how that impacts interactions with child. There are many examples of ways to approach specific situations. I was bored half-way through the book, and skimming rapidly. There was a lot which was not relevant to my teen.
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104 of 114 people found the following review helpful By Cheryl Jordan on November 9, 2010
Format: Paperback
I initially checked this book out at the library, read it, re-read it and then photocopied a few pages and returned it. I have a child who struggles with all areas of organizational skills, time management, goal directed behavior and this book has practical suggestions on how to address the problems in a systematic way and while recognizing that the improvements will not be immediate. For example, my son would disappear into his bedroom to put his shoes on, get distracted by a book or toy and 15 minutes later, I would find him on the floor in his bedroom with his shoes still off. By setting a goal for him to require less reminders (instead of going from 10 reminders to 0 reminders), we can make progress toward the goal without getting discouraged along the way. I found myself wanting to use this book for reference when a new problem would crop up. It's well written, gives great examples and illustrations and is a great resource for those who are parenting or teaching kids who struggle with executive skills. I have many parenting resources and this one stands alone with its' detailed and systematic approach to helping kids develop life-skills.
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