Check out our variety of resources and tips on Executive Function support, ADHD, mental health, and more

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By Brittany Peterson | Apr 07, 2022

A Day in the Life of a College Student with Executive Dysfunction

Picture this: You go from a 6:30am wake-ups 5 days a week to 10:00am ones. You go from six intense hours of learning to a 50-minute class followed by a three hour break. You go from abiding by a curfew to being able to stay up as late as you want. These are the kinds of transitions that college freshman eagerly look forward to (and make all of us wish we were still in...

By Brittany Peterson | Sep 02, 2021

The Best Strategy for Building Strong Student-Teacher Relationships

When I had to move when I was in college, I did what most people do: I asked my friends for help. And, despite the busy lives they lead, they did. (Or, at least, many of them did. That’s right, I’m calling you out, Genevieve...) Now, I didn’t offer to pay my friends, but they helped me anyway. (I mean, I did bribe them with plenty of pizza, but no one volunteers to he...

By Brittany Peterson | Mar 24, 2021

Why You Should Stop Rescuing Your Partner (and what to do instead)

“If I don’t wash the towels, then make up the lunches, then go get ice for the cooler, and pack the car up tonight, we’ll never get out the door and to the beach tomorrow.” This is just the sort of thing my friend Dylan would say as he prepares for Cape Cod traffic in the summer. Usually, I reply with something like: “Could Geoff help you with some of that?” Dylan lau...

By Brittany Peterson | Oct 28, 2020

Toxic Positivity: Self Esteem Costs of Poor Executive Function Skills

When I was in grad school, I worked at a gym. One of the things I recall vividly about my time there were the encouraging vibes from personal trainers, group fitness instructors, and the members themselves. People clung to mantras such as “The pain you feel today will be the strength you feel tomorrow” and “The only bad workout is the one you didn’t do”, and “Be stron...

By Brittany Peterson | Sep 16, 2020

Executive Functioning Isn’t Just Kid Stuff: A New Resource for Adults

Mia, a curious 6th grader who was into dinosaurs and art class more than anything else, had been working with me for about two months when she finally settled on her organizational system: Triceratops stickers on her math folder, Ankylosaurus stickers on the English folder, and Velociraptor stickers for the social studies folder. Science and art -- her favorite subjec...

By Brittany Peterson | Jun 25, 2020

Activating Teens with a Summer Project to Build Executive Functioning

This turbulent school year has finally reached its end! But now that summer is here, many of you may be shifting into this new season with some concerns: What will my teen do if they’re not returning to camp? Will my teen be screen-bound for hours on end? Will my teen sleep all day and stay up all night, messing with their circadian rhythm? All of this upcoming downti...

By Brittany Peterson | May 28, 2020

Managing Loneliness While Working From Home

By now, some folks might be going back to work on site -- whether in full force or in a hybrid model. Many of us, though, are cruising past the two-month mark of working from home. If that’s you, you’ve probably gotten into somewhat of a groove. You’ve got the right mindset for working remotely and you’ve got your distractions managed so you can stay productive. But j...

By Brittany Peterson | Apr 07, 2020

How to Regain Your Focus While Working From Home (WFH)

In my last blog post I talked about how to get into a working mindset when you’ve got to work from home (WFH). For some of you, getting into the mindset was just the first hurdle. You might now be thinking: How do I keep that mindset? In this post we’ll explore ways to stay focused in the current WFH climate.

By Brittany Peterson | Mar 17, 2020

How to Get Your Head Into WFH (Work From Home) Mode: 4 Essential Tips

As a college teacher, I’ve kept a weird work schedule for the past 10 years. Until the current school closures with the COVID-19 situation, I would physically go to work to teach my classes, hold office hour appointments, and attend meetings. But a significant portion of the work - such as grading papers - is work I did at home alone.

By Brittany Peterson | Feb 05, 2020

The Anxious, Stressed High School Student: An Executive Function Link

Adults don’t always think of high school as the “real world,” but for students navigating that stage of life, the stress is entirely real. The academic obligations start to get more challenging and the social expectations feel more intense — just when students are beginning to add college and career decisions into the mix that will affect the rest of their lives. Whil...

By Brittany Peterson | Jul 29, 2018

Executive Functioning in the Real World: More Than School Skills

Most people would agree that Mondays can be lousy. But the one thing Monday’s got going for it is that we think of Mondays as “work days,” and when we’ve already got work on the brain it can make getting started on our work a little easier. But Sundays are a whole other story.

By Brittany Peterson | Aug 28, 2017

A Day in the Life of a 10th Grader with Executive Function Challenges

Morning Mad Dash: 6:57 AM - Scrambling Out the Door Olivia has to catch the bus at 7:30, and she likes to sleep in until 6:45 … and maybe hit the snooze button one or two times after that. That leaves her about half an hour to madly dash about the house eating breakfast, choosing an outfit, brushing her teeth, packing her lunch, changing after reconsidering her outfit...

By Brittany Peterson | Jul 24, 2017

A Day in the Life of a College Student with Executive Function Challenges

Picture this: You go from 6:30am wake-ups to 10:00am ones. You go from four intense hours of learning to a 50-minute class followed by a three hour break. You go from abiding by a curfew to having no curfew at all. These are the kinds of transitions that college freshman eagerly look forward to (and make me wish I were still in college…). But the awesomeness of these ...

By Brittany Peterson | Apr 03, 2017

When is the Best Time to Work on Improving Executive Function Skills?

When does a minor problem become a major problem? Sometimes the tipping point is just out of view, but it creeps up over time. In 2013, my primary care doctor came into the room and said to me, “You’ve gained six pounds since you were last here.” Yup. That sounded about right. Seeing as I’m not a scale-watching fanatic, the comment didn’t really affect me. But that wa...

By Brittany Peterson | Nov 14, 2016

A Fun App to Support Executive Function: Habitica Builds Good Habits

If I earned a gold coin for every time a parent complained about their child’s love of video games, I would have stormed the castle, defeated the castle warlords, and earned magical powers to advance me to the next level by now (because what else are gold coins for in video games?)

By Brittany Peterson | Sep 26, 2016

3 Tips for Parents of Struggling Students with Overachieving Siblings

“Please stop graduating.” I remember reading this line quite vividly in an otherwise comical card from my younger brother. It was both a sarcastic comment - he’d suffered through my high school, undergraduate, graduate and second graduate school graduations - and a serious one. He was sick and tired of being outdone academically.

By Brittany Peterson | Aug 22, 2016

Allowing Your Child to Fail: When Rescuing Impedes Learning

With a new school year beginning, it’s a perfect time to anticipate some bumps in the road and have a plan in place to navigate them with your child. If you’ve seen a pattern of needing to rescue your child from poor planning, the odds are that theme will creep up again this year. Before you rush to be a first responder to your child’s next Homework 911 call, consider...

By Brittany Peterson | Jun 27, 2016

Perfectionism in Students: A Case Study in Coping With Academic Anxiety

Are you worried that your child tends toward perfectionism? As coaches, we often encounter students with perfectionistic mindsets in combination with other Executive Function challenges. When students focus on producing “perfect” work, it can not only be counterproductive but research suggests it can even prove harmful. The good news is that the right kind of support ...

By Brittany Peterson | May 09, 2016

Study Tips for Final Exams: Identify the Blind Spots

First, we had “Fail” memes. These came in the form of pictures showing people, animals, and even inanimate objects failing at various things (see here). Then, the “Epic Fail” memes emerged. This caption was reserved for failures that were, well, really incredible on the fail scale (see here). Despite the fact that these memes encourage us to laugh at other people’s mi...

By Brittany Peterson | Apr 25, 2016

Countering Senioritis: Focus on Skills for College Success

Counterintuitive. Counterargument. Counterclockwise. That prefix “counter” means to go against: against instinct, against reason, against the typical way the clock hands shift. And this prefix is exactly how you can get your son or daughter to shake off the rising tide of senioritis and be prepared for living at college next fall. Let me explain...

By Brittany Peterson | Oct 02, 2015

Steps to Writing a Paper: Tracking Quotes

About a month ago I attended a relative’s 60th birthday party where many guests brought delicious homemade items. In true party-goer spirit I proceeded to try nearly every dish on the table, often discussing with the chefs how they were made. Four days later I was standing in aisle 9 at my nearest grocery store, thinking back to the delicious items I’d sampled and fee...

By Brittany Peterson | May 15, 2015

How to Write a Paper: Write the Introduction Last

In 2000, there were two trailers for the movie Cast Away that were released, one of which I’ve linked here. In it you learn the entire plot of the film: a man gets on a plane, the plane crashes, the man is stranded on an island long enough to sport an impressive tan and facial hair, and he eventually makes it home after friends and loved ones have had a funeral for hi...

By Brittany Peterson | Apr 17, 2015

Transition from High School to College: Time Management is Key

Congratulations! Your son or daughter has officially been accepted to The University of All Universities. While your household spent months focusing on getting in school, it’s time to shift attention to staying in school. Today we'll share 3 tips for parents to help smooth your child's transition from high school to college.

By Brittany Peterson | Mar 20, 2015

Self-Advocacy: When NOT to Advocate for Your Child

I’d like to begin this post by being very clear: I am not a parent. Therefore, I cannot fully imagine what it might feel like to know your child is struggling with something -- with something you can resolve -- but resisting the impulse to come to the rescue. I am, however, an Executive Function coach and classroom instructor who has seen countless students struggle w...

By Brittany Peterson | Feb 27, 2015

Can Executive Function Coaching Improve Relationships?

Over the winter break a friend of mine tells me about one of his coworkers, and his story sounds something like this: “I had an important work meeting last month that was scheduled to begin at 9am, sharp. At 9:03 I start pacing a bit because Jackson, my colleague who’s supposed to be presenting with me, hasn’t shown up yet. He texts me at 9:06 saying “running late. st...

By Brittany Peterson | Jan 23, 2015

Medication Strategies for Students with ADHD

Allow me to set the scene: Alison - a high school student with ADHD - is working on a 5-paragraph essay for a book she was less than thrilled to read. She’s finished the book, we’ve got a solid grasp of the prompt, and now she’s stuck. Casually, I ask her, “How does this book compare to something else you’ve read before?” This leads her to launch into a full-out discu...

By Brittany Peterson | Dec 05, 2014

Test Preparation Tips: On the Road to Academic Success

I won’t forget the day I took the road test to earn my license. I’d been (reluctantly) attending three-hour classes on Saturday mornings and cruising around with both my mom and dad (who, by the way, took drastically different approaches to educating me on the nuances of driving). By the time my road test came, I’d felt that I had practiced enough, studied enough, and...

By Brittany Peterson | Nov 07, 2014

Planning and Prioritizing: A Moving Story from an Executive Function Coach

On August 17th I walked away from the closing table with a single key in my hand that had “41” written in marker on the keychain. This item would let me into my new home, my FIRST home ever. And with that realization, I began to panic. I spend the majority of my career working with students on their Executive Functioning as it relates to academic success. I often shar...

By Brittany Peterson | Oct 10, 2014

Executive Function Coaching: Becoming an Academic Athlete

Imagine Tom Brady’s first day of practice as a quarterback: perhaps he misses a snap and gets sacked. He probably throws a few interceptions and fumbles once. Most likely, he forgot two of the play calls and tossed the football to an empty spot on the field. So how does this awkward start eventually transform so that Brady becomes one of the most successful quarterbac...

By Brittany Peterson | Aug 08, 2014

5 Tips to Support Students Struggling with Summer Reading

Summer vacation: that time of year when students spend long days at the pool, longer weeks at camp, and even longer weeks trying to delay required summer reading. For most kids, August is the start of summer reading, which also means the start of panic. I have how much to read? And I have how much time to read it? If your child would rather be the catcher on the ball ...

By Brittany Peterson | Aug 01, 2014

Executive Function Skills: Weathering the Storm of College Applications

If you are the parent or guardian of a rising high school senior, then you know that this time of year has guidance counselors gearing up for their busy season (kind of like tax preparers in April). With the college application process close at your heels, your Executive Function skills are put to the ultimate test: Can I stay cool, calm, and collected throughout this...

By Brittany Peterson | Apr 28, 2014

Essay Test Preparation: Overcoming Test Anxiety

As both an executive function coach and a teacher, I’ve seen students stress over tests again and again. Over the past few months, for example, I’ve been coaching a student whose emotional regulation around test preparation and peformance is nearly debilitating. She experiences acute anxiety when a test is coming up and that anxiety carries through until the moment th...

By Brittany Peterson | Mar 26, 2014

Executive Function Skills Help Students Prepare for New SAT in 2016

Standardized testing is one of those buzz phrases that elicit immediate reactions and responses from parents and students alike. By now, the SAT is one of the most well-known and widely-used standardized tests currently geared toward high school students. However, that test is about to get a makeover. Are you prepared for the new SAT in 2016?

What are Executive Function skills?

Executive Function Skills are a set of cognitive skills that help individuals plan ahead, stay organized, regulate thoughts and behaviors, stay focused, and achieve their goals. Each of these skills can be taught, learned, and applied at any stage of life.

  • Time Management
  • Maintained Focus
  • Task Initiation
  • Stress Management
  • Organization
  • Prioritization