More than 100,000 in print!
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Executive Skills in Children and Adolescents

Third Edition
A Practical Guide to Assessment and Intervention

Peg Dawson and Richard Guare

HardcoverA Paperback Originale-bookprint + e-book
June 13, 2018
ISBN 9781462548217
Price: $94.00
332 Pages
Size: 8" x 10½"
A Paperback Original
June 13, 2018
ISBN 9781462535316
Price: $44.00
332 Pages
Size: 8" x 10½"
May 7, 2018
Price: $44.00
332 Pages
print + e-book
A Paperback Original + e-Book (PDF) ?
Price: $88.00 $48.40
332 Pages

More than 100,000 school practitioners and teachers (K–12) have benefited from the step-by-step guidelines and practical tools in this influential go-to resource, now revised and expanded with six new chapters. The third edition presents effective ways to assess students' strengths and weaknesses, create supportive instructional environments, and promote specific skills, such as organization, time management, sustained attention, and emotional control. Strategies for individualized and classwide intervention are illustrated with vivid examples and sample scripts. In a large-size format for easy photocopying, the book includes 38 reproducible forms and handouts. Purchasers get access to a Web page where they can download and print the reproducible materials.

New to This Edition

This title is part of The Guilford Practical Intervention in the Schools Series, edited by Sandra M. Chafouleas.

“Readers will grow in their understanding of executive skills and learn to apply accommodations to help students build skills in organization, planning, task initiation, and the like. The authors do a thorough job of providing the reader with a rationale for the book, and its breadth and utility is immediately evident….There are no executive skills or accommodation suggestions left untouched by this book. It is sure to be a timeless resource for school psychologists and special educators.”

NASP Communiqué

“The perfect introductory book to understanding executive skills....We have used this book in our own practice and have given it to clients for their use as well. We love this book, and it has earned the EP Symbol of Excellence. This book is a must have!”

Exceptional Parent (on the first edition)

“Clear, concise, and easy to understand.”

Doody's Review Service (on the first edition)

“I thought the second edition was wonderful, but am blown away by the third edition. It contains systematic methods, case studies, and checklists for enhancing executive skills of children from early childhood through adolescence. The book emphasizes an essential multi-tiered continuum of prevention and supports for students with and without disabilities. Updated and expanded chapters on assessment, instruction, and intervention integrate how-to procedures with current research advances. Notable new chapters focus on children with autism and ADHD; several chapters written by teachers apply executive skill concepts to whole-school approaches. This is the most comprehensive and useful resource about executive skills available. It is indispensable as a text for university courses and a resource for education and mental health professionals.”

—Patti L. Harrison, PhD, School Psychology Program (Emeritus), University of Alabama

“Outstanding! An invaluable resource for school psychologists, with practical strategies that can be put into action today. This easy-to-read book delivers interventions for executive function difficulties in children—and even ideas for IEP goals. The third edition moves the field forward by focusing on giving students ownership of interventions and involving them in implementation. The clinician will appreciate being able to quickly find ideas for addressing common tasks that students struggle with, like writing a paper.”

—Julia L. Carrell, PhD, NCSP, school psychologist, Mead School District, Washington

“This is an essential read for all educators, from the novice teacher to the seasoned veteran. Dawson and Guare provide a fresh lens through which to assess student performance, curriculum design, implementation, and interventions. The prior edition completely changed our conversations with students, parents, and other educators. We have a concrete, value-free common language to identify student strengths and weaknesses that we use to work toward a shared goal of success. The third edition details the process that elementary and secondary teachers are currently using to integrate research-based theory into their daily classroom routines. It includes examples (and resource materials!) showing how to build an executive functioning culture in your classroom and school.”

—Molly J. Flatley, MEd, Special Education Department Chair, Fairfax County Public Schools, Virginia

“This is a very welcome third edition of an excellent book that already has a proven track record in schools. Particularly welcome are the new chapters that provide inspiring examples of whole-school approaches as well as the clear guidance for team-based identification, assessment, and targeted support for individual children with underdeveloped executive skills. A 'must read.”

—Janet Muscutt, MEd, MSc, DEdPsych, CPsychol, FBPS, consultant educational psychologist, Manchester, United Kingdom; Secretary, International School Psychology Association

“In the third edition of their widely acclaimed book, Dawson and Guare bring their substantial expertise to bear on the pressing question: 'What can we do to enhance executive skills in all students, and, in particular, to help students with self-regulatory difficulties?' The book reviews assessment strategies and offers a wealth of global and specific accommodations and direct interventions, including language appropriate for clinical reports and IEP and 504 Plans. It helpfully discusses when executive function is a primary problem, such as in children with ADHD, when it is a secondary concern to other disabilities, such as in children with autism spectrum disorder, and when it is a weakness but not a disability per se. The new chapters by teachers demonstrate how an everyday model of self-regulation can be incorporated into the classroom.”

—Peter K. Isquith, PhD, Senior Attending Psychologist, Boston Children’s Hospital; Instructor in Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School

“I appreciate the numerous tools in this volume, including strategies, informal assessments, case studies, and scenarios. Teacher candidates, practicing educators, and specialists could all benefit from the book's many well-illustrated ideas for assessment and intervention. I love the new discussion of designing student-centered interventions—we need more educators to hear about this approach and implement it!”

—Erin K. Washburn, PhD, Department of Teaching, Learning, and Educational Leadership, Binghamton University, State University of New York

“An excellent update to an already useful book that balances research on executive function with practical application. The third edition emphasizes the importance of students’ ownership in the development of their executive skills, and provides school/classroom practices to support students in K–12 general education classrooms as well as special populations. I recommend this book to all educators who desire a clear understanding of executive function's role in classroom instruction and intervention.”

—Kathleen Kryza, MA, educational consultant/coach and coauthor of Transformative Teaching

“This book offers educators practical instructional suggestions for students who struggle with executive skills. The teaching practices go beyond basic planning, time management, and other skills typically associated with executive function—specific routines are presented for applying these skills to academic tasks such as taking notes and writing a paper, which is especially helpful for classroom teachers. In the third edition, the new chapter that provides suggestions for obtaining school services through 504 Plans or special education, including wording for IEPs, is particularly useful.”

—Joan Sedita, MEd, Founder, Keys to Literacy

Table of Contents

List of Figures and Tables

I. Basic Principles of Assessment and Intervention

1. Overview of Executive Skills

2. Assessing Executive Skills

3. Linking Assessment to Intervention sample

4. Providing a Continuum of Services to Address the Needs of Students with Weak Executive Skills

5. Interventions to Promote Executive Skills

II. Interventions for Specific Problem Situations and Specific Executive Skills

6. Specific Teaching Routines to Promote Executive Skill Development

7. Interventions for Specific Executive Skills Domains

8. Strategies and Guidelines for Managing Executive Skills in Children with ADHD

9. Executive Skills in Autism, with Colin Guare

10. Coaching Students with Executive Skills Deficits

11. Planning for Transitions

III. Whole-School Applications

12. Implementation and Accessibility of Executive Skills, Mara Berzins & Nicola Daykin

13. EFS 2 The Rescue Pedagogy, Laurie Faith

14. Building an Executive Functioning Culture in the Classroom: How a Small Group of Teachers Changed a School, Timothy McElroy

Appendix. Reproducible Forms



About the Authors

Peg Dawson, EdD, is a psychologist on the staff of the Center for Learning and Attention Disorders at Seacoast Mental Health Center in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. She also does professional development training on executive skills for schools and organizations nationally and internationally. Dr. Dawson is a past president of the New Hampshire Association of School Psychologists, the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP), and the International School Psychology Association, and a recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from NASP. She is coauthor of bestselling books for general readers, including Smart but Scattered, Smart but Scattered Teens, Smart but Scattered—and Stalled (with a focus on emerging adults), and The Smart but Scattered Guide to Success (with a focus on adults). Dr. Dawson is also coauthor of The Work-Smart Academic Planner, Revised Edition, and books for professionals including Executive Skills in Children and Adolescents, Third Edition.

Richard Guare, PhD, is Director of the Center for Learning and Attention Disorders at Seacoast Mental Health Center in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Dr. Guare's research and publications focus on the understanding and treatment of learning and attention difficulties. He is a neuropsychologist and board-certified behavior analyst who frequently consults to schools and agencies. He is coauthor of bestselling books for general readers, including Smart but Scattered, Smart but Scattered Teens, Smart but Scattered—and Stalled (with a focus on emerging adults), and The Smart but Scattered Guide to Success (with a focus on adults). Dr. Guare is also coauthor of The Work-Smart Academic Planner, Revised Edition, and books for professionals including Executive Skills in Children and Adolescents, Third Edition.


School psychologists and counselors working with children ages 6–17 (grades K–12), classroom teachers and special educators, behavior specialists, and school social workers; also of interest to speech–language pathologists, occupational therapists, child/adolescent clinical psychologists, neuropsychologists, and pediatricians.

Course Use

May serve as a text in courses on behavioral interventions in school psychology or special education programs.
Previous editions published by Guilford:

Second Edition, © 2010
ISBN: 9781606235713

First Edition, © 2004
ISBN: 9781572309289
New to this edition: