Sarah cringes when the school’s number pops up on caller I.D. Since fourth grade, it has been nothing but bad news. Paul’s teacher calls to discuss his inability to wait his turn, frequently calling out answers in class and interrupting others.
The conversation is always the same. "Paul is such a smart boy, but his lack of self-control and impulsivity in and out of class make it difficult for him to be successful.”
The teacher seems to be getting more and more impatient with him, and wants suggestions on how to help. Punishments or talking to Paul about his behavior just doesn’t seem to work. He agrees to try harder, but fails daily. Sarah tries to follow through at home, but nothing seems to stick.
Self-control is just one of a constellation of skills that also includes organization, planning ahead, remembering, prioritizing, and thinking flexibly – “executive skills” that are essential for success in school.
Children with executive skill issues rarely respond to "talking to's" or punishment as a way to extinguish problematic behaviors. Dr. Peg Dawson, author of Smart But Scattered, and Executive Skills in Children and Adolescents, suggests a six-step plan as one approach to supporting children who have trouble with self-control. This process can be used at home and at school.
You can learn more strategies for helping children who struggle with all of these executive skills when Dr. Dawson visits Cincinnati in March. Springer is partnering with Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center to bring Dr. Dawson for an evening program for parents. Calming the Chaos: Essential Skills That Help Smart but Scattered Students Reach Their Full Potential will be offered on Wednesday, March 18, 7:00 to 9:00 at the Sharonville Convention Center. Visit Springer’s website for more information and to register.