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Sudoku for Beginners: How to Improve Your Problem-Solving Skills

Are you a beginner when it comes to solving Sudoku puzzles? Do you find yourself frustrated and unsure of where to start? Fear not, as we have compiled a comprehensive guide on how to improve your problem-solving skills through Sudoku.

Understanding the Basics of Sudoku

Before we dive into the strategies and techniques, let’s first understand the basics of Sudoku. A Sudoku puzzle is a 9×9 grid that is divided into nine smaller 3×3 grids. The objective is to fill in each row, column, and smaller grid with numbers 1-9 without repeating any numbers.

Starting Strategies for Beginners

As a beginner, it can be overwhelming to look at an empty Sudoku grid. But don’t worry. There are simple starting strategies that can help you get started. First, look for any rows or columns that only have one missing number. Fill in that number and move on to the next row or column with only one missing number. Another strategy is looking for any smaller grids with only one missing number and filling in that number.

Advanced Strategies for Beginner/Intermediate Level

Once you’ve mastered the starting strategies, it’s time to move on to more advanced techniques. One technique is called “pencil marking.” This involves writing down all possible numbers in each empty square before making any moves. Then use logic and elimination techniques to cross off impossible numbers until you are left with the correct answer.

Another advanced technique is “hidden pairs.” Look for two squares within a row or column that only have two possible numbers left. If those two possible numbers exist in both squares, then those two squares must contain those specific numbers.

Benefits of Solving Sudoku Puzzles

Not only is solving Sudoku puzzles fun and challenging, but it also has many benefits for your brain health. It helps improve your problem-solving skills, enhances memory and concentration, and reduces the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

In conclusion, Sudoku is a great way to improve your problem-solving skills while also providing entertainment. With these starting and advanced strategies, you’ll be able to solve even the toughest Sudoku puzzles. So grab a pencil and paper and start sharpening those brain muscles.

This text was generated using a large language model, and select text has been reviewed and moderated for purposes such as readability.


collaborative problem solving lagging skills checklist

collaborative problem solving lagging skills checklist

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  • ADHD Parenting

What Are the Lagging Skills Holding Your Child Back?

Children don’t act out to gain attention or control their parents. they do it because they can’t meet our expectations, and that is incredibly frustrating. what they need is not punishment, but help identifying and strengthening the deficient skills that are to blame. here, ross w. greene, ph.d., offers a road map for parents..

Ross W. Greene, Ph.D.

Rewards and punishments are virtually worthless if caregivers don’t first spend time doing the following with their behaviorally challenging child :

  • Identify lagging skills and unsolved problems
  • Start solving these problems collaboratively and proactively

This is the central premise behind a proactive, positive parenting model called collaborative and proactive solutions (CPS), which is an empirically-supported, evidence-based treatment approach that really works to solve tough behavior challenges.

Identifying Lagging Skills

Behaviorally challenging kids typically lack one or more of the following:

  • Executive skills
  • Language processing and communication skills
  • Emotion regulation skills
  • Cognitive flexibility skills
  • Social skills

[ Free Download: Is It More Than Just ADHD? ]

To make sense of your child and his or her most challenging behaviors, begin by diving into these categories and investigating lagging skills. Only then can you see your child through a more compassionate, accurate, and productive lens; only then can you stop taking a behavior personally. Specific skills lacking in behaviorally challenging kids may include:

  • Exhibiting empathy
  • Appreciating how one’s behavior is affecting others
  • Resolving disagreements without conflict
  • Taking another’s perspectives
  • Exhibiting honesty

To determine your child’s deficient skills, use The Assessment of Lagging Skills and Unsolved Problems (ALSUP) , in combination with this 45-minute tutorial that teachers parents how to use it.

[Find more CPS Essentials here .]

Solving Problems Proactively and Collaboratively

There are three main ways to solve any family problem:

[ Read: How to Keep the Peace in Your ADHD Family ]

  • Plan A: Solve the problem unilaterally.
  • Plan B: Solve the problem collaboratively.
  • Plan C: Set the problem aside for now to prioritize bigger problems. This can be stabilizing for children with many unsolved problems.

Plan A works if a child is in immediate danger, but it doesn’t create a long-term solution. In the CPS model, you will use plan B, which comprises three parts:

  • Empathy: To solve a problem, you need to first sit down with your child and gather information to find out what is getting in his or her way of meeting an expectation.
  • Define adult concerns: Next, you will explain — calmly and kindly — your concern about the unmet expectation.
  • Invitation: Finally, you invite your child to collaborate on a solution that is realistic and satisfactory to everyone. That means both of you can do what you’re agreeing to do, and the solution has addressed the concerns identified in steps 1 and 2.

To start a CPS session, approach your child proactively and say, “You know what? There is something I would love to understand better than I do. Is there a time that you and I could have a discussion so you could help me understand it? You are not in trouble. I am not mad at you.” Then, it’s a good idea to tell your child what it is you’d like more information about so the problem isn’t sprung upon him. Make an appointment and give kids advanced warning.

It is a common parenting myth that adult-child conflict is inevitable. Conflict often arises from the methods parents typically use to solve behavioral problems. Solving problems unilaterally is about holding power over a child, and that power dynamic causes conflict. Plan B is about collaboration, which brings adults and children together as teammates.

The reality is that children and adults will disagree with each other, and children will have difficulty meeting some parental expectations. But conflict does not have to result from those disagreements. Parents and children can work together to jointly solve the problems that affect their lives.

When you parent collaboratively and proactively, you are simultaneously improving behavior and teaching kids the skills they need next time a challenge rises up. When children help to devise them, the solutions are more effective and more durable.

For more information, visit:

  • www.livesinthebalance.org
  • cpsconnection.com

What if my child won’t collaborate?

When I try to collaborate with my child, he answers, “I don’t know.” How can I get my child interested in teaming up on solution?

It’s important to use the right words when approaching your child. First, talk only about the expectation he is having trouble meeting, not the challenging behavior that results from missing that expectation.

Often, kids shut down when they think they’re in trouble. They get defensive and they don’t communicate. Or, parents try to intervene in the heat of the moment, which rarely works.

“I don’t know” can also mean:

  • “I haven’t thought about my concerns in a very long time because I am so accustomed to them not being acknowledged.”
  • “I don’t trust you or this process yet because adults in my life have never really listened to me.”
  • “I don’t have the words.”

“I don’t know” could mean a lot of different things.

To break through, you can try the five fingers rating system. Five means very true, four means pretty true, three means sort of true, two means not very true, and one means not true at all. Then, you can make statements and your child can respond without having to verbalize. He can just hold up the fingers to respond to each statement.

This advice came from “Beyond Rewards & Consequences: A Better Parenting Strategy for Teens with ADHD and ODD,” ADDitude webinar lead by Ross W. Greene, Ph.D., in June 2018 that is now available for free replay here .

Ross W. Greene, Ph.D. , is a member of ADDitude’s  ADHD Medical Review Panel .

[ Free Resource: Your 13-Step Guide to Raising a Child With ADHD ]

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a Goally Publication

Assessment of Lagging Skills and Unsolved Problems

Home » Parent Press » Parenting Hacks » Assessment of Lagging Skills and Unsolved Problems

Ever felt like you’re trying to solve a puzzle with missing pieces when it comes to an understanding your neurodivergent child’s challenges? The “assessment of lagging skills and unsolved problems” (ALSUP) approach can be a game-changer for parents like you. In this blog post, we’ll guide you through the ALSUP process, helping you identify your child’s unique strengths and areas for growth. We’ll also discuss practical strategies to address these challenges and foster a supportive environment for your child’s development. So, let’s embark on this enlightening journey together!

Table of Contents

For Kids Learning Social Skills:

Goally’s Kid’s Tablet has one of the largest libraries of skill-building videos (like “How to Share” and “What To Do When You’re Lost”) in the Goal Mine app.👇

2 blue Goallys, one with a "keep it up!" reward screen and the other showing a mid-lesson practice on Goally's TV App Channel called Goal Mine. The question on the second Goally's screen says "How Do You Raise Your Hand When in Class?

Understanding the ALSUP Approach

First things first, let’s grasp the core concept of the ALSUP approach. Developed by Dr. Ross Greene, this method focuses on identifying the specific skills your child may be struggling with and the problems that arise as a result. The goal is to address these issues collaboratively rather than resorting to punitive measures or rewards. In short, it’s about understanding and empathy, not control.

Here are the key components of the ALSUP approach:

  • Lagging Skills: Abilities your child may have difficulty with, such as emotional regulation, communication, or problem-solving.
  • Unsolved Problems: Challenges that emerge due to lagging skills, like difficulty completing tasks, social conflicts, or emotional outbursts.
  • Collaborative Problem Solving: The process of working together with your child to identify solutions to the unsolved problems, fostering a sense of partnership and mutual understanding.

Identifying Your Child’s Lagging Skills and Unsolved Problems

Now that you have a basic understanding of the ALSUP approach let’s dive into the process of identifying your child’s lagging skills and unsolved problems. This step is crucial, as it sets the foundation for effective problem-solving and support.

1. Observe and Reflect

Begin by observing your child in various situations, such as during playtime, mealtime, or social interactions. Take note of any patterns or behaviors that seem challenging for them. Reflect on your observations and consider which skills may be lagging behind. For example, if your child struggles with transitions, they may have difficulty with flexibility or adapting to change.

Here are some common lagging skills to look for:

  • Emotional regulation
  • Communication
  • Problem-solving
  • Flexibility
  • Task initiation

2. Communicate with Others

Reach out to teachers, therapists, or other caregivers who interact with your child regularly. They can provide valuable insights into your child’s strengths and challenges, helping you form a more comprehensive understanding of their needs. By gathering information from multiple sources, you’ll be better equipped to support your child with the help of tools like Goally.

assessment of lagging skills and unsolved problems

3. Use Assessment Tools

There are various assessment tools available to help you identify your child’s lagging skills and unsolved problems. These can include questionnaires, checklists, or even online resources. One popular tool is Dr. Greene’s ALSUP Inventory, which provides a comprehensive list of potential lagging skills and related unsolved problems.

Some helpful assessment tools include:

  • Dr. Greene’s ALSUP Inventory
  • Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function (BRIEF)
  • Social Skills Improvement System (SSIS)

Addressing Your Child’s Challenges: Collaborative Problem Solving

With a clear understanding of your child’s lagging skills and unsolved problems, it’s time to move on to the collaborative problem-solving process. This approach empowers your child by involving them in the solution-finding process, fostering a sense of ownership and responsibility. Goally can be a valuable tool in this process, providing structure and support for your child’s daily routines .

1. Empathy Step

Begin by expressing empathy and understanding for your child’s perspective. This can be through active listening and validating their feelings. For instance, you might say, “I can see that you’re feeling frustrated when it’s time to clean up your toys.”

2. Define the Problem

Next, work together with your child to define the problem clearly. This step involves identifying the specific unsolved problem and the related lagging skill. For example, “The problem is that cleaning up toys is difficult because it’s hard to transition from playtime to cleanup time.”

3. Brainstorm Solutions

Now, engage in a brainstorming session with your child to generate potential solutions to the problem. Encourage creativity and open-mindedness, and remember that no idea is too far-fetched at this stage. The goal is to create a list of possible solutions to explore further.

4. Evaluate and Choose

Together, evaluate the proposed solutions and choose the one that seems most feasible and effective. Consider the pros and cons of each option and how well it addresses the underlying lagging skill.

assessment of lagging skills and unsolved problems

5. Implement and Monitor

Finally, put the chosen solution into action and monitor its effectiveness. Be prepared to make adjustments as needed, and remember that problem-solving is an ongoing process. Goally can help you track progress and make adjustments as needed, ensuring your child receives the support they need.

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Empowerment Through Understanding

In short, the assessment of lagging skills and unsolved problems is a powerful tool for parents seeking to support their neurodivergent kids. By identifying your child’s unique challenges and working collaboratively to address them, you can foster a nurturing environment that empowers your child to thrive. Remember, understanding and empathy are the keys to unlocking your child’s full potential. With the help of tools like Goally, you can provide the structure and support your child needs to succeed.

This post was originally published on 05/18/2023. It was updated on 07/11/2023.

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Collaborative & Proactive Solutions

Paperwork and CPS Materials

All of the instruments and resources of the CPS model — including the Assessment of Lagging Skills and Unsolved Problems — can be found here .


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