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Marburn Academy Welcomes Nationally Renowned Author, Dr. Peg Dawson

Dawson Shares Expertise on Executive Skills

Success in anything takes a delicate combination of many factors. Determination, perseverance, resilience, and opportunity are often cited as critical ingredients. While these are incredibly important components, it is often ones’ executive skills that allow full access to those critical ingredients. According to Dr. Peg Dawson, a school psychologist and the co-author of the book Smart But Scattered, executive skills are defined as the “cognitive processes that regulate behavior, make decisions and set and achieve goals”. For many students, developing these executive skills can be an elusive and non-intuitive process, and so few school programs actually spend time directly instructing them. At Marburn Academy, we not only recognize the importance of executive skills in our work with students, but we directly teach these skills and fold them into our day to day instruction.

Marburn Academy is dedicated to serving students with learning differences and their families. We see students that have struggled with either dyslexia, writing, math, and/or attentional issues at every step of their academic career. As a school, we do transformational work for 262 students within the walls of our program, but our mission compels us to reach the many other students throughout the greater Columbus community who need our help.

In mid-September, we had the honor and pleasure of hosting Dr. Peg Dawson for our Inaugural Learning Differences Conference. More than 200 parents attended a parent seminar which was followed by a day-long workshop for 150 professionals from all over the region. In that discussion, Dr. Dawson outlined what she and her colleague Dr. Richard Guare found in their research as the most important executive skills, how they developed over time, and how to teach students that are struggling with these skills. In this work, Dr. Dawson and Dr. Guare outline the following eleven critical executive skills: response inhibition, working memory, emotional control, flexibility, sustained attention, task initiation, planning and prioritization, organization, time management, goal-directed persistence, and metacognition.

In our work at Marburn, we get to see the impact of these lagging skills in students first hand. Therefore, it is critical that we as a program work to help students build those skills so they can fully access the academic skills that they are working tirelessly to grow.  

Over the next few months, we will do a series of blog posts highlighting these executive skills and offer useful tips and suggestions for families. Stay tuned!


Jamie Williamson, Marburn Academy Head of School






  • Dr. Peg Dawson visits Marburn Academy