Smart But Scattered Webinar

Executive Dysfunction at Home and at School


Peg Dawson, Ed.D., NCSP

On Demand Webinar

(6 hours runtime)

Please note: A 70% passing rate on the post test is required to receive full credit.

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Target Audience

  • Parents
  • Educators, including school psychologists, classroom teachers, school administrators, OTs, speech pathologists, school counselors, ed techs
  • Mental health professionals, including clinical and neuropsychologists, social workers, licensed therapists (including marriage and family therapists), and medical professionals (pediatrician, psychiatrists, nurse practitioners)

Course Level


Course Description

 Youngsters with poor executive skills are disorganized or forgetful, have trouble getting started on tasks, get distracted easily, lose papers or assignments, forget to bring home the materials to complete homework or forget to hand homework in.

They may rush through work or dawdle, they make careless mistakes that they fail to catch. They don’t know where to begin on long-term assignments, and they put the assignment off until the last minute, in part because they have trouble judging the magnitude of the task and how long it will take to complete it.

Their workspaces are disorganized, and teachers may refer to their desks, backpacks, and notebooks as “black holes.” Students with executive skill deficits present tremendous challenges to both parents and teachers who often find themselves frustrated by children whose problems in school seem to have little to do with how smart they are or how easily they learn. 

This course will give educators, clinicians (and parents!) tools to assess and intervene in cases of executive dysfunction. Intervention strategies to be covered include environmental modifications, task modifications, routines for the home and the classroom to help children improve executive functioning, curriculum building to develop executive functioning skills on a school-wide level and procedures for personalized, child-specific interventions.



In over 40 years of clinical practice, Dr. Peg Dawson has worked with thousands of children who struggle at home and in school. At the center of their struggles are often weak executive skills. Along with her colleague, Dr. Richard Guare, she has written numerous books on this topic for educators, mental health professionals, and parents, among them Smart but Scattered, Smart but Scattered Teens, Executive Skills in Children and Adolescents, and Coaching Students with Executive Skills Deficits.

Peg is also a past president of the National Association of School Psychologists, and the International School Psychology Association, and is a recipient of NASP’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

Disclosure: Peg Dawson receives a speaking fee for her presentation. She has no relevant non-financial relationships to disclose.


Educational Credits

6 contact hours. Certificates will be awarded.

Hands on Approaches, Inc. is an AOTA Approved Provider of continuing education. AOTA does not endorse specific course content, products, or clinical procedures.

Approved by AOTA for 0.6 CEUs.

Recognized by NYSED State Board for PT as an approved provider of PT and PTA continuing education. Approved for 0.6 contact hours.

Recognized by NYSED State Board for social workers as an approved provider of social workers continuing education. Approved for 6 contact hours.

Approved for 6  CTLE contact hours.

This course is offered for 0.6 ASHA CEUs (Intermediate level, Professional Area).

Learning Objectives will be assessed via a post-test given at the end of the webinar.  A passing grade of 70% is necessary to receive a certificate of completion.

Time Ordered Agenda

Overview of Executive Skills  

2 hours and 15 minutes 

  • Underlying Theory

In this section, executive skills are introduced—basic terminology, discussion about the lack of consensus in the field—e.g., executive skills versus executive functions lack of consensus about how many skills they are and what the specific skills are; introduction to the Dawson/Guare model (11 skills divided into Foundational Executive Skills and Advanced Executive Skills).

  • Definitions

Introduction to 11 executive skills that form the basis of our model, including descriptions of practical and evidence-based strategies tied to each skill.

1 hour and 15 minutes 

  • Executive Skills in the Context of Brain Function and Child Development

Key brain processes that support executive skill development as well as some discussion about differences in brain development in ADHD and Autism Spectrum Disorder and how executive skills are impacted; gender differences in executive skill development

Assessment of Executive Skills

  • Five components that comprise a comprehensive evaluation of executive skills

These include parent/teacher interview, behavior rating scales, formal assessment, behavior observations, informal assessment. Limitations of formal assessment alone will be emphasized.

  • Assessment as “detective work”

Detective work involves gathering clues, formulating hypotheses and testing hypotheses. A case example will be used to show how this is done.

LUNCH - 30 minutes 

Intervention Strategies  

1 hour and 30 minutes

  • General introduction to interventions

There are 3 key strategies available to parents, teachers, clinicians to support children with weak executive skills: 1) modify the environment; 2) teach the weak or missing skill; 3) use incentives to motivate children to practice the weak skill. Which strategy is used depends on the age of the child and whether the person carrying out the intervention is a parent or a teacher (and the interaction between these two variables). Implications for clinicians or specialists for supporting executive skill development by working through parents or teachers will be discussed.

  • Environmental Modifications to Reduce the Impact of Weak Executive Skills

There are 3 kinds of environmental modifications teachers and parents can use: 1) modify the physical or social environment; 2) modify the tasks we ask kids to do; 3) change the way adults interact with children. Examples of all these strategies will be provided, with an emphasis on two groups of children that struggle with executive skills: children with ADHD and children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

1 hour

  • Teaching Strategies/Routines to Help Youngsters Develop/Improve Executive Functioning

Executive skills can be taught by embedding them in classroom lessons and in daily routines (both at home and at school). Procedures for doing this will be outlined in this section. Approaching behavioral/clinical concerns through a similar approach will be presented. 

  • Embedding executive skills into a whole-school curriculum

Some schools have chosen to build executive skills into their curriculum, so that students are exposed to executive skills in an integrated fashion. Models created by two schools, a K-8 school and an alternative high school, will be presented. 

  • Designing student-centered interventions

Sometimes individual students present with executive skill challenges that need to be addressed in a more personalized and targeted fashion. A procedure that can be used to do this will be outlined, with a case example.

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Learning Objectives

By the end of this workshop, learners will be able to:

  • Describe the brain processes involved in executive skill development both in typically developing children and those with executive dysfunction (such as ADHD).

  • Identify how executive skills impact school performance and daily living.

  • Utilize a variety of formal and informal assessment strategies for evaluating executive skills.

  • Identify environmental modifications to support weak executive skills.

  • Design protocols for teaching executive skills through embedding them in daily classroom lessons or routines and through solving behavior problems commonly found in a clinical practice.

  • Explain the process for designing a “student-centered” intervention targeting problem situations associated with executive skill challenges.

Pricing Information

Seminar Access: $290

Seminar Access + Certificate of Completion: $315

Please note: The recording will be 6.5 hours viewing long (30 minute lunch break). The "recording" does not allow stop and play functionality."

Contact Information

Hands on Approaches, Inc.

(212) 884-9101

Refund and Cancellation Policy


All cancellations must be received in writing via fax, email, or mail. A full refund, less a $75 administrative fee (plus credit card processing fees, where applicable), will be provided if cancellation is received up to four weeks prior to the date of the course. Half tuition, less a $75 administrative fee (plus credit card processing fees, where applicable), will be refunded if cancellation is received up to two weeks prior to the date of the course. No refunds will be made after the two week deadline. Refunds where a coupon was redeemed will result in an adjusted refund amount. Tuition for no-shows or cancellations received after the course has started will be forfeited, no exceptions. Hands On Approaches, Inc. reserves the right to cancel the course for extenuating circumstances. A full refund for the course fee will be provided,less credit card processing fees, where applicable. Hands On Approaches, Inc. is not responsible for any expenses incurred by the participants (ie: non-refundable travel arrangements) if the course is cancelled.

Occasionally, changes are made due to speaker availability, participant demand or unforeseen circumstances. Courses may occasionally be cancelled. You will be notified by email and/or phone at least 24 hours in advance of the class start date. A full refund will be granted,less credit card processing fees, where applicable. While Hands On Approaches, Inc. will do everything possible to ensure participant satisfaction, Hands On Approaches, Inc.'s liability is limited to the tuition fee only.


Full day webinar - a full refund, less a $75 administrative fee (plus credit card processing fees, where applicable) will be granted up to one week before the training date. No refunds will be issued after that time.

Mini Webinar (less than 4 hours) -  A 50% refund will be granted up to 3 weeks before the training date. No refunds will be issued after that time. 

No refunds for recordings or “on demand” webinars.