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Smart but Scattered summary - available in audiobook and text formats 12m 2s

Smart but Scattered

Peg Dawson EdD and Richard Guare PhD

Having trouble with a "smart but scattered" 4- to 13-year-old? Drs. Peg Dawson and Richard Guare have great news: there's a lot you can do to help.


The Bottom Line

Even smart children sometimes struggle getting their act together. But by targeting weaknesses in executive skills, you can make their lives a lot easier and help them maximize their potential.

I. Introduction

Executive skills are not just for executives. They’re the abilities that let us plan and carry out (“execute”) any kind of task, beginning in infancy. But everyone is born with different aptitudes, and sometime people who are very smart struggle when trying to put their smarts to use. That’s especially the case for children with ADHD. This book offers detailed guidance for parents to help their struggling children, ages 4 to 14, get organized.

Peg Dawson and Richard Guare have decades of experience, as parents and clinicians, working with “smart but scattered” kids. Dawson is an educational psychologist and past president of the National Association of School Psychologists and the International School Psychology Association. Guare is a neuropsychologist and behavior analyst who’s conducted research on attention difficulties.

The book divides executive skills into 11 categories, from working memory and emotional control to sustained attention, task initiation, organization and time management. It also highlights specific tasks that often present problems, like cleaning one’s room or writing a paper, and offers step-by-step solutions and blank worksheets for parents to devise their own game plans. Once your children begin to master these skills, they’ll be well on their way to the executive suite.

II. Identify Your Child’s Strengths and Weaknesses

III. Optimize the Environment

IV. Build Universal Skills

V. Find the Right Incentives

VI. Do the Minimum Necessary

The Takeaway


Download the Athena app to access our expertly crafted "Smart but Scattered" insight in text and audiobook formats.

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