Executive Function Strategies Blog

Pia Cisternino

Pia Cisternino, M.A., M.S. is an executive function coach at Beyond BookSmart and a speech-language pathologist, with over a decade of experience working with students diagnosed with ADHD, autism, Asperger’s, and learning disabilities. She received her B.A. from Tufts University, where she majored in English and Italian, and continued to study literature at Johns Hopkins University, where she received an Master’s degree in Creative Writing and Poetry. She went on to receive a Master’s degree in Speech and Language Pathology from Teacher’s College at Columbia University. A strong advocate for students with special education needs, Pia founded and facilitated a support group for parents of 2e (twice exceptional) children, and served for two years as co-chair of the Parent Advisory Council on Special Education (C-PAC) within her local school district.. Pia’s approach to coaching centers around enabling students to build skills by utilizing their own individual strengths. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts with her husband and children.

Recent Posts by Pia Cisternino:

Back to School Tips for the Family with Executive Function Challenges

The lazy days of summer are nearing an end and the kids are finally heading back to school. This time of year can be a relief for many parents, but it can also feel overwhelming: How will we be ready for that hectic first day? Where is that school supply list? Did my child complete their summer reading log? If your child has Executive Function issues, much of the burden often falls on you, as a parent, to help your child to be prepared for the first day of school. But what if you also struggle to stay organized?



A Day in the Life: Parenting a Child with Executive Function Challenges

No matter what the age or disposition of your child, parenting is a tough job. Add Executive Function challenges to the mix and life can go from joy to confusion in a matter of minutes. 

If your child has Executive Function challenges, your entire day is a potential minefield of frustrating scenarios — but hold on, your friendly neighborhood Executive Function coach has some solutions for you to regain some calmness in your life!



A Day in the Life of a 4th Grader With Executive Function Challenges

As an adult, you may think that being a fourth-grader is the easiest life around — no bills to pay, no worries about your career, no responsibilities other than some homework and a couple simple household chores. But can you imagine being a fourth grader whose everyday world of school and home feels overwhelming because they lack the Executive Function skills needed to keep focused, manage their time, and stay organized? Consider the stress that’s a daily part of the life of a fourth grade student with Executive Function challenges in these three typical scenarios - and see some solutions that Executive Function coaches use to support students who are struggling.



A Day in the Life of a 7th Grader with Executive Function Challenges

When thinking back to your middle school years, I’ll bet you recall a time in your life when your peers were always accepting, your teachers understood you, and your retainer never, ever got lost.

No? I didn't think so. It turns out, not too much has changed since the Pleistocene era we grew up in, pre-interwebs. Middle school is still an awkward time, to say the least, for even the most “together” students. But for adolescents with Executive Function challenges, daily life in middle school can feel downright unmanageable without the proper supports.