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Book Review: The Survival Guide for School Success

ADDitude reviews “The Survival Guide for School Success: Use Your Brain’s Built-In Apps to Sharpen Attention, Battle Boredom, and Build Mental Muscle.”

The Survival Guide for School Success

BY RON SHUMSKY, Psy.D., SUSAN M. ISLASCOX, M.A., AND ROB BELL, M.Ed. (Free Spirit Publishing; $12.90 paperback, $10.49 Kindle)

It’s common for kids with ADHD and/or LD to flounder in school around sixth grade, as teachers begin to expect them to take on more responsibility and be more independent. It requires tapping into executive functions our kids are weak in. This book is here to help. The authors developed a clever approach to explaining executive function, and teaching kids to combat its deficits. They compare the brain to a computer or smartphone, and executive function skills to apps. The apps described in the book “enable you to use your brain in ways you might not have known about before or haven’t been very good at.”

The “Site Selector” app teaches kids strategies for paying attention to the teacher and avoiding being distracted by competing thoughts. It encourages the student to develop a visual cue card, based on a worksheet that can be downloaded and printed. The other apps the book explores are “Your Mind’s Pizza Cutter” (cutting large, intimidating tasks down to size), “Your Mind’s Video Screen” (visualizing the benefits of working), and “Your Mind’s Cheerleader” (giving yourself messages that encourage you to keep trying). There are 10 apps in all — every one a strategy that will help your child in school.

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