Peg’s Take: Executive Skills in Everyday (Adult) Life

February 22, 2014
by: Peg Dawson

Procrastination is usually not an issue for me. In fact, task initiation is one of my strongest executive skills. But ever since we got this website up and running, I’ve put off writing the blog I had every intention of writing when the whole thing started.  Now, with a new school year looming, I decided it’s time to make good on my promise. Here’s the process I went through to get this going. First, I wanted to understand why, if task initiation is one of my stronger executive skills, I had delayed for so long in updating this blog. I can use the usual excuses—too much to do, too little time, but that doesn’t work because I manage to fit in computer solitaire games and (almost) daily exercise. I’ve even planted a vegetable garden and mopped a few floors along the way—things that involve some tedious labor that one would think I would choose not to do if I could get away with it. One might suspect that I hate to write and that explains it, but that doesn’t hold water either. After all, I’m the author of several books  and while admittedly book-writing can be a painful process when… Continue reading Peg’s Take: Executive Skills in Everyday (Adult) Life

Tools of the Mind: Thinking about Executive Skills on Many Levels

February 17, 2014
by: Peg Dawson

Tools of the Mind: Thinking about Executive Skills on Many Levels Peg Dawson When I first started thinking about executive skills, I came at it from my experience working with students with ADHD. With that population, problems with task initiation, sustained attention, and response inhibition are paramount, and I spent a lot of time thinking first about how to structure the environment to better accommodate kids with these skill deficits and then thinking about how to teach them to initiate and stick with tasks and control their impulses more successfully. Working with these skills in particular usually involves an adult (teacher, parent, coach) providing a lot of direction—cues, structure, schedules, routines, checklists, social reinforcement if not more formal incentive systems, and providing students with lots of opportunity to practice under controlled and supervised conditions. By doing all these things described above, we can shape kids up. They’ll be more likely to complete classwork and homework, they’ll stay out of trouble on the playground and with their friends, and they’ll make life easier not only for themselves but for their parents and teachers as well. But is that really the goal? Recently I’ve begun thinking about executive skill development from a… Continue reading Tools of the Mind: Thinking about Executive Skills on Many Levels