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Late, Lost, and Unprepared

A Parents' Guide to Helping Children with Executive Functioning
Joyce Cooper-Kahn, Ph.D. & Laurie Dietzel, Ph.D.


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isbn# 978-1-890627-84-3
5 1/2" x 8 1/2"
232 pages

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"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."
-Terri Abram, Barriers Bridges and Books blog
Read the entire review here

"Although this is not a new publication, its content is highly relevant and would be very useful for school staff working with parents to improve a child’s ability to develop and maintain strategies to avoid inevitable frustration on all sides.

The book concludes with stressing the need for a delicate balance between support and skill building with children whose performance can be inconsistent.

They refer to the concept of ‘islands of competence in an ocean of inadequacy’ and stress the need to develop resilience and self-belief. This is a useful practical resource."
-SEN Magazine (Special Educational Needs, a UK publication)

"Children with executive functioning (EF) weaknesses may have trouble with tasks like working memory, organization, self-monitoring, and transitioning. EF has long been a subject of confusion--is executive dysfunction a diagnosis in and of itself, or is it tied to other problems? In Late, Lost, and Unprepared, Cooper-Kahn and Dietzel note that 'All children with ADHD have executive weaknesses, although the specific profiles vary,' and outline a whole-child approach to the assessment and treatment of EF problems. Readers will come away with a clear understanding of EF in the context of normal developmental stages, as well as its impact on the children and their families.

Part Two is packed with practical interventions for parents and professionals. I’ve been coaching children with ADHD and EF problems for more than 12 years, and I found many new tips. For instance I think I’ll advise ADHD students who are struggling to get started on a big project to try 'separating the process of brainstorming ideas from the mechanics of completing the project.'

'The goal of interventions is to help our children extend their abilities...working right at the edge of what they can do now and helping them to move on to the next step,' write the authors. Late, Lost, and Unprepared will help you do just that."
-ADDitude Magazine, Spring 2009

"Many children with ADHD and other learning disabilities have trouble with executive functioning, or the brain's ability to process information, interpret events, and react appropriately to life's ups and downs. Our testers found this book helpful because it puts aside the diagnosis and focuses on specific areas that need help. There are sections on strategies to help a child who does homework but does not turn it in, and strategies to help a child who gets upset when peers break the rules or behave in unexpected ways."
-National Parenting Publications Awards 2009 Honors Winner, General Parenting

"Does your child have organizational issues? Well... most of us would say 'yes' at some point or another, but for some of our children it is a true disability. Organizational skills, self-monitoring, impulse control, working memory, and initiating tasks all fall under the heading of 'executive functioning.' Many children with problems in this area also have other diagnoses that correlate with their inability to organize their daily lives, such as ADHD or autism, although this is not always the case.

Late, Lost, and Unprepared, by Joyce Cooper-Kahn, Ph.D, & Laurie Dietzel, Ph.D., not only covers the diagnosis of this disorder, but it gives strategies to help your child build the skills needed to build their confidence and take a little control back in their lives.

The recommendations in this book and based on real-life experience and science bringing practical advice to parents. It begins with the definition of executive function, executive function weaknesses, and its impact on the entire family. It walks you through various types and avenues of testing for disabilities, as well as explaining the results. It doesn’t stop there! It continues on with sensible strategies that will modify behavioral problems, help your child become better organized and learn the art of self-monitoring. Impulse control, staying on task, and improving working memory are important components to helping your child become more successful. This book addresses all of these issues.

Late, Lost and Unprepared helps you, as a parent, develop attainable expectations and advocate for your child. It gives you useful tools to help the development of your child in every area of his life."
-Practical Homeschooling July/August 2009

"'The executive functions are a set of processes that all have to do with managing oneself and one's resources in order to achieve a goal. It is an umbrella term for the neurologically-based skills involving control and self-regulation.'" These skills include the ability to: control emotions, initiate, plan and organize activities, transition from one task to another, and independently solve problems.

The authors, both clinical psychologists, wrote this book for parents, teachers, and other professionals who work with children. They provide a comprehensive discussion about executive functioning and how it affects an individual's learning, social interactions, and ability to cope. At the same time, they stress that executive function weaknesses, or dysfunction, do not provide a complete picture of a person. Executive dysfunction does not influence how smart, engaging, imaginative, nice, etc a person is. Moreover, it does not define an individual's talents or abilities in other areas. Most important, this book provides concrete strategies, and examples that illustrate how to implement these strategies to help children develop the skills they need to compensate for any executive weaknesses and to be successful, both academically and socially.

Just as there are developmental milestones for physical development, for example, when a child learns to walk or talk, there are milestones for the development of executive functions. There is a lot of variability in the rate at which children development executive function control. Children who need more time to develop these controls, or who have executive weaknesses tend to experience a lot of frustration, which puts them at risk for developing low self-esteem. The parent's role is to acknowledge their child's strengths, help them understand their weaknesses, and then figure out the supports they need to solve problems and manage themselves in various situations.

If you suspect your child has executive weaknesses, there is guidance about the types of professionals who test for executive dysfunction. Assessments help rule out other problems and can pinpoint the area or areas of executive function where a child needs support. Parents can share this information with teachers and other professionals and develop partnerships to support the child at school and at home."
-Federation for Children with Special Needs Newsline, Winter 2009

"Executive functioning is a often overlooked problem for kids with neurological and learning disabilities, and it's about time someone gave it this kind of attention. If your child just can't seem to get going or get organized, he may need to be taught those skills just as carefully as you'd teach reading and writing and math. This friendly guide will help you understand and make a difference."
-Terri Mauro, Guide to Parenting Special Needs
Read the entire review at specialchildren.about.com

"Few adults may know the clinical definition of executive functioning, but parents and educators who interact with a child (or adult) with developmental delays can easily relate to words like disorganized, chronically late, forgetful or impulsive. The label might be Asperger’s or ADHD or learning disabilities. These are the often bright kids who seem to never be able to corral their knowledge to meet deadlines or specific assignments. Homework? No problem. Turning it in--well, that’s another story. Science lab project? An easy A, if only he didn’t leave it to the very last minute to complete.

Late, Lost, and Unprepared delves deeply into the world of executive functioning skills, explaining their role in learning and in critical life skills: time management, impulse control (in words and deeds), cognitive flexibility, and initiation, planning and organizing, among others. Part I of the book widens understanding about EF skills in general, including assessing your child or student’s abilities. Part II, the what you can do about it section is page after page of positive strategies, highly practical tips and case studies that cement concepts and learning. A well-organized, well-written book that’s sure to become a well-used addition to your home or professional library."
-Autism Asperger's Digest, January/February 2009

"Here we have [one of the] first practical manuals for parents that is replete with realistic, science-based, and compassionate recommendations for helping children and young adults' weak executive abilities. The authors are to be congratulated for their straightforward, clear, and concise presentation of the material, and their litany of parental recommendations for making accommodations and for managing and improving the self-regulation problems of children."
-Russell A. Barkley, Ph.D.
Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC

"In their powerful and thoughtful book, Drs. Cooper-Kahn and Dietzel have hit a home run for the team of parents and children dealing with organizational issues! This extremely well-written and wide-ranging book will inevitably become the 'go to' guide for parents of children of all ages as they deal with the common problems of following directions, completing work, and monitoring their behavior."
- Patricia O. Quinn, MD
Developmental Pediatrician, Washington, DC
Author of Putting on the Brakes: Understanding and Taking Control of Your ADD

"Drs. Cooper-Kahn and Dietzel have filled a very important need for parents--putting the essential concepts of the executive functions into practical words and actions. They have written a book that families have been asking about for years. This practical guide will be a tremendous help to children, teens, and young adults as they learn the key skills to better manage their learning and problem-solving."
-Gerard Gioia, Ph.D.
Director, Neuropsychology, Children’s National Medical Center

"Late, Lost, and Unprepared is so useful a book for parents and professionals that it's a wonder no one thought of it sooner. [The authors offer strategies] to help kids learn better social skills, get homework done and actually turned in, remember what they've heard and read, and plan and organize--in short, to manage the ever increasing expectations placed on children every day. Whether you're a parent raising a child that struggles to meet daily demands, or a professional helping these kids, this book is a resource chock-full of workable solutions."
-Kathleen G. Nadeau, Ph.D.
Director, Chesapeake ADHD Center of Maryland
Author of ADD-Friendly Ways to Organize Your Life

"Clinical psychologists Cooper-Kahn and Dietzel offer a practical approach through detailed explanations, explorations of causes and effects, and strengthening techniques. Especially helpful are a professional assessment how-to and abundant tips for advocacy at school."
-Library Journal, December 2008

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