Executive Function Strategies Blog

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 stronger than your excuse.” Phrases such as these were meant to inspire persistence with your workouts. And many times, they did.

As well-intended as these messages were, though, they were sometimes problematic. Sometimes the pain I felt was a sign I should stop the workout -- not push through. Sometimes the excuses were legitimate and necessary reasons for skipping a spin class here and there. It wasn’t until nearly a decade later did I become acquainted with the concept of toxic positivity which allowed me to name what I was feeling in response to these inspirational no-quit quotes.



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 subjects -- were already well-decorated and well-organized. (And besides, how could she ever forget her materials for the courses she loved?)

After the session, as Mia proudly shared her new system with her dad, he turned to me and semi-jokingly asked: “Do you think you could coach me, too?”



Distance Learning for Fall: Helping Students with Learning Differences

It seems like just yesterday parents across the country breathed a huge sigh of relief that the challenges of remote learning were over and summer was finally here. Now, summer is winding down, the new school year peeks around the corner, and uncertainty seems like the only sure thing. Schools are preparing for a variety of scenarios as the fall semester is rapidly approaching and many are opting to start the school year the same way things ended in the spring - with remote learning. Some kids rocked distance learning and are excited to continue. Other families had a much different experience and now have countless questions about how to meet the needs of their kids, especially those that have 504 plans and Individualized Education Plans (IEPs).



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 downtime provides a host of new challenges, especially if you’re beginning to play the perilous game of overseeing your teen’s summer without creating conflict or managing outright rebellion.

But what if this surplus of free time could be viewed as an opportunity for your teen to explore their interests in order to build skills?