Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Book Review: Late, Lost and Unprepared by Cooper-Kahn and Dietzel

Late, Lost and Unprepared: A Parents' Guide to Helping Children with Executive Functioning by Joyce Cooper-Kahn, PhD and Laurie Dietzel, PhD is a breath of fresh air. It offers a positive and practical approach to the maddening issues of Executive Functioning Disorder.

The executive functions are our brain's coordinating and directing functions. They include such skills as planning, organizing, scheduling, initiating, emotional control and working memory, to name a few. These functions can be disordered in anyone and can be affected by upbringing, experience, maturity and disability.

When these functions work smoothly, life goes well; and when they don't, it just doesn't.

From what I have found, there are traditionally 2 approaches to executive functioning difficulties: The first is to write the child off as lazy. The second is to write long, dull, negative, theory-dense, strategy-thin, tomes about it.

Neither of these approaches has helped my family much.

This book breaks that mold. This book is short. It is divided into 2 sections. The first discusses what the Executive Functions are, how they affect our lives and how they are assessed. The second section explains the process of changing behaviors and then has a chapter about each of the 8 components of Executive Functioning.

Each chapter in this section includes explanations, short term strategies, longer-term approaches for reducing support/increasing independence, and advocacy tips for working with your child's school on the issue.

The book is designed so that you can go directly to the chapters you need. So if my son is having trouble getting started on activities, but no difficulty with impulse control you can read the one chapter and not the other.

Each chapter offers lots of strategies for change--the strategies are concrete and doable and the overall tone is positive.

For my son who has Non-Verbal Learning Disorder these issues loom very large and I have been sharing quite a lot of the book with him as I go. For my daughter who has Down syndrome many of the same concepts apply.

The book offers strategies to meet a variety of learning styles with somewhat of an emphasis on auditory prompts and reminders. For my son these are great as-is, for my daughter the auditory prompts in the book require simplifying (a modification I would expect to make with most things.)

I am finding this book useful for helping my son and daughter with their differing diagnoses, I have shared a few nuggets with my other daughter and have even claimed a few strategies for myself!

That's my idea of a helpful book!

Picture and to learn more about this book click here.


Terena said...

sounds fascinating. and may I say, this is a very well written review.

Terri said...

Wow. Thanks, Terena!! I think it is a useful book.