smart but sccattered

Hello friends! I feel like so many book titles were written especially for me, this one included.  My sisters and I frequently joke about my lack of time management, lack of organization (despite my deep love for all things planners and organizing related….Me+Office Supplies=Love), and inability to follow through on some tasks. On the other hand, I can become so singularly focused on some tasks it is astonishing.

And…For legal information…the thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own, unless otherwise cited, and I am in no way receiving compensation of any sort for this review.

Anyway, back to the book…Smart but Scattered, was written by Peg Dawson, EdD, and Richard Guare, PhD. Dawson is a school psychologist, and Guare is a neuropsychologist.

Often times parents tell me, “I don’t have time to read a book like that.” I feel confident telling them this particular book allows you to move from chapter to chapter, focusing on what areas you feel you need to address.

The book gives a detailed explanation of what is executive function exactly and provides lists and examples of how these skills come to play in your child’s daily life. The authors provide anecdotes that detail a specific problem or skill. I feel as though the anecdotes do a great job of explaining situations, which allow the reader to really understand the concepts.

The authors then move farther into detail, breaking down executive function into 11 specific skills:

  • Response inhibition
  • Working memory
  • Emotional control
  • Sustained attention
  • Task initiation
  • Planning/prioritization
  • Organization
  • Time management
  • Goal-directed persistence
  • Flexibility
  • Metacognition
  • (Dawson, Guare, 2009, pg 15)
  • Each individual skill is then defined and examples of each are given. A questionnaire is provided in order to rate your child’s executive function skills.
  • From then on the book details how to help your child improve executive function skills and how to adapt situations in order to improve success. There are many specific examples of common deficiencies with a plan of action included.
  • The book ends with a chapter on seeking outside assistance. This is where I was disappointed. The authors mentioned seeking a therapist for cognitive behavior therapy or for addressing depression and anxiety, however, they never mention occupational therapy. Not one time, not even the smallest, tiniest mention.
  • Occupational therapy can help you and your child deal with executive function deficits by working in improving areas like organization, sensory processing, working memory and more. OTs are well versed in adapting activities in order to help children be successful in their daily occupations.
  • Despite the omission of participation in occupation therapy as a useful tool in addressing deficits in executive function, I still recommend the book. It is written for parents with easy to understand definitions and more importantly action plans to help parents help their children to succeed. If anyone has applied the suggestions in the book or have other thoughts to share…leave a comment below or feel free to contact me via email.
  • Lacee
  • Dawson, P., & Guare, R. (2009). Smart but scattered: The revolutionary “executive skills” approach to helping kids reach their potential. New York: TheGuilford Press.