The best books to help children with ADHD boost executive functioning skills

Rebecca Branstetter Author Of The Everything Parent's Guide to Children with Executive Functioning Disorder: Strategies to help your child achieve the time-management skills, ... needed to succeed in school and life
By Rebecca Branstetter

The Books I Picked & Why

Make Social and Emotional Learning Stick!: Practical Activities to Help Your Child Manage Emotions, Navigate Social Situations & Reduce Anxiety

By Elizabeth Sautter

Make Social and Emotional Learning Stick!: Practical Activities to Help Your Child Manage Emotions, Navigate Social Situations & Reduce Anxiety

Why this book?

So often, executive functioning challenges like impulse control, difficulties with attention, and trouble with organization are thought of as isolated skills to be taught as an “add on” lesson. However, there are easy ways to teach executive functioning skills as an “add IN” to what parents and educators are already doing throughout the day. I recommend this book because it helps teach executive functioning in everyday routines, like cooking, going to the store, and on the playground. I really love the colorful and ready-to-use pages in this book! The author also sells a really cool card deck you can get to take with you “on the go” to boost not only executive functioning but also emotional regulation and social communication.


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Lost at School: Why Our Kids with Behavioral Challenges Are Falling Through the Cracks and How We Can Help Them

By Ross W. Greene

Lost at School: Why Our Kids with Behavioral Challenges Are Falling Through the Cracks and How We Can Help Them

Why this book?

I’ve been a huge fan of Ross Greene’s work for a long time because he is changing the way parents and educators look at children with behavioral challenges. His powerful motto, “Kids do well when they can” is a call for teaching lagging executive skills, instead of punishing kids for having executive functioning challenges. Instead of thinking of a child with ADHD as being a “behavior problem” or “unmotivated”, Dr. Greene's Collaborative & Proactive Solutions (CPS) approach helps parents and educators focus on the true factors contributing to challenging behaviors, empowering educators to address these factors and create helping relationships with their most at-risk kids.


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Executive Skills in Children and Adolescents: A Practical Guide to Assessment and Intervention

By Peg Dawson, Richard Guare

Executive Skills in Children and Adolescents: A Practical Guide to Assessment and Intervention

Why this book?

I love a book you can pick up and use right away with students with ADHD and executive functioning, which is why I love this book. Filled with practical and easy photocopying, there’s great reproducible forms and handouts. Great for educators and mental health professionals!


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Self-Reg: How to Help Your Child (and You) Break the Stress Cycle and Successfully Engage with Life

By Stuart Shanker

Self-Reg: How to Help Your Child (and You) Break the Stress Cycle and Successfully Engage with Life

Why this book?

This book is great for parents because it not only explains why children with executive functioning struggle with managing their behaviors, but it also explains how parents can respond differently. He provides examples of how parents can shift from reacting with anger and frustration to a child’s difficulties to modeling and teaching children to calm themselves and bring their rational thinking brain back online.


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The Classroom Mystery: A Book about ADHD

By Tracy Packiam Alloway, Ana Sanfelippo

The Classroom Mystery: A Book about ADHD

Why this book?

This picture book for elementary-aged students is a great one because it helps shift the focus of ADHD as a “deficit” to a potential strength. I’m a big believer in educating children with ADHD and executive functioning about how their brain works differently, which can sometimes be a good thing! This book can be read to students with or without ADHD and includes a page of discussion questions to build awareness and empathy for students with ADHD.


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