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Making College Affordable: 5 Tips for Securing Scholarships

College planning can be both exciting and stressful. While students and parents ...

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 ...

Freshman Social Jitters? 5 Tips to Making Friends in College

As August nears its end and a new school year waits around the corner, a certain...

Making College Affordable: 5 Tips for Securing Scholarships

College planning can be both exciting and stressful. While students and parents celebrate this new stage and its milestones, for many, one question looms large: “Can we get help paying for this?” The answer to this question is, most often, yes. There are many sources of funding available other than student loans. The five tips below can help simplify your search by offering strategies for planning...

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 help you to move just for a few ...

Freshman Social Jitters? 5 Tips to Making Friends in College

As August nears its end and a new school year waits around the corner, a certain segment of students who recently graduated high school are coming to the same realization that I did three years ago: starting college is scary!  Moving to a new place without parents for the first time where you know few people (if any) is understandably intimidating. Add on a host of new responsibilities, like stayi...

Back to Campus: Insights for Parents' Top 5 College Transition Worries

Transitioning to college is always difficult, but for the semester ahead, students and parents alike are more anxious than ever about the upcoming fall. During a year filled with upheaval and uncertainty, college life shifted dramatically, eliminating the traditional college experience many students had anticipated. But this fall, students are likely looking at a more “normal” semester of in-perso...

Build Your Student’s Self-Worth: 3 Tips to Conquer Imposter Syndrome

If we were to eavesdrop on the inner thoughts of some students, we might hear something like this: "There is no way I belong in this honors-level class with all these geniuses!" "I got into jazz band on a lucky break. Once they hear me play, they'll know I don’t deserve to be here." "Why did I take AP Art? This class is for real artists, not me." Whether it’s in a specific subject area or with one...

Awkward Adolescence: 4 Tips to Help Your Student Master Self-Care

For most of us, simply thinking about our early teen years can quickly produce cringe-worthy memories of awkward social interactions, questionable fashion choices, and hormonal chaos  - all of which feel best left in the corners of our middle school locker. But what can often be equally uncomfortable is the tough landscape of actually parenting adolescent kids. According to our team of Client Serv...

Blank Page Panic? 4 Simple Steps to Write an Essay that Impresses

Does your child start to panic when they get an essay assignment? As coaches, we see this frequently. Writing can be hard for students, especially when they have challenges in Executive Function areas like organization, planning, and task initiation. Here's a useful guide to help your student overcome that hesitation and write a paper they (and their teachers) can feel proud of. Let's dive right i...

Transitioning to College: What I Wish I Knew in High School

Editor's note: This week, we invited Sara Sullivan, a rising senior at Brown University, to share her experience transitioning to college, and the advice that she wished she had known in high school. 

When Perfectionism Paralyzes: 4 Steps to (Actually) Get Writing Done

Put yourself in your student's shoes: You’ve got an essay due in a week, and perhaps you’re not particularly looking forward to it. You set up your study space, turn on your computer, open a blank document, curl your fingers over your keyboard, and…nothing. You’ve got nothing. 

Beyond Rhymes: How Poetry Can Teach Executive Function Skills

If the spoken-word poetry of youth poet Amanda Gorman at Joe Biden’s inauguration made you think, “Hmm, poetry seems a bit more interesting that I thought,” you’re in luck. April is National Poetry Month, and the fact is that not only can poetry be a fun thing to read, write, or hear, it’s also great at promoting Executive Function (EF) skills. In this week's piece, we'll be taking a look at which...

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 laughs and rolls his eyes as he r...

Your Child’s School is Reopening: a RoadMAP for Student Readiness

We can feel the buzz in the air and vibrance in everyone’s step. I’m not talking about spring fever, I’m referring to our hope and excitement as we begin to imagine living in a post-pandemic world. As vaccinations become more widespread, so does everyone’s anticipation for a life resembling what we once had prior to COVID-19.  But will your child be ready?  We will never forget the fear as the pan...

Inside a Master's Mind: How Chess Builds Executive Function Skills

2020 was a year filled with discovering (or rediscovering) new activities to keep us occupied in a COVID world: the joy of baking banana bread, learning a new instrument, decluttering long-neglected areas of our homes - and, more recently, the mental workout of playing chess. Thanks to the popular Netflix series “The Queen’s Gambit,” chess has enjoyed a resurgence in popularity. And unlike the ext...

1000 Calls in 2020: Insights from Frontline Executive Function Support

Moments of quiet and calm - and eruptions of tears and frustration. At night, a tangle of worried thoughts instead of restful sleep.  While this could describe daily life for many of us in 2020, our team has been particularly attuned to the new challenges that parents and professionals have been facing this year. How have we kept our fingers on the pulse?  During the past year, our Client Services...

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

It’s 7:45 on a Thursday night and your son finally gives his eyes a break from the TV just long enough to remember that he has a major essay due for English tomorrow. He might not admit it, but the frantic pacing and backpack digging already reveal everything you need to know - it’s not the first time he’s had a last-minute cramming crisis. Without asking details, you sigh and abandon your own pla...

When Your Technology Fails: 6 Tips for Calm Solutions

Imagine this - it’s the day of your World History exam. You’ve studied all week and are feeling confident. Your workspace is cleared and ready to go. Five minutes before the start time you attempt to log on to the main classroom page. A screen that says “no internet connection” is staring back at you. No, this can’t be happening! There are only four minutes left until everyone else will be startin...

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...

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-decora...

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 ...

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 chal...

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 just when you think you’ve hit...

Distracted & Unproductive: New Survey Shows Work From Home Challenges

Working from home (WFH) inherently has its challenges. Although I imagine many of us are now finding that out (thanks, COVID-19), each of our experiences during this transition likely differs considerably depending on the unique situations we’re finding ourselves in. For some of you, that could mean suddenly having kids at home while you work, while for others it may just be as simple as swapping ...

Can Spending Time in Nature Improve Executive Functioning?

Editor's note: This week, we feature guest blogger Michael Keesler, J.D., Ph.D., a neuropsychologist who practices in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Please see his full bio below. With spring’s arrival, parents and children are shaking off winter’s cabin fever and returning outdoors. On the one hand, it is no great insight to observe that we enjoy spending time outdoors in nice weather. But there may...

Executive Function Skills: A Foundation for Success at School & Beyond

Imagine a builder getting started on a new home. Maybe he’s behind schedule. There’s pressure from the owners. He knows that the foundation has to go in before he can build but maybe he can find a way to get back on schedule by modifying his approach. 

How Executive Function Skills Help Us Achieve (Really Big) Goals

In just under six months, I will be running my first marathon. And it’s a big one: the Boston Marathon. Training for this is going to be a huge endeavor that will require some serious goal-directed persistence and integration of just about all the rest of my executive function skills. As an executive function coach, I am fortunate to have many tools and strategies to approach all that goes into th...

3 Tips for Parents Worried about Executive Function Challenges

Editor's note: This week, we feature guest blogger Dr. Joseph Moldover, a clinical psychologist with a private practice in Wellesley, MA. Read his full bio below. Uncertainty is one thing that is guaranteed to create anxiety. Uncertainty can come from several different places for parents who find out that their child is struggling with executive function challenges. Let's explore 3 main concerns I...

The Relationship Between Executive Function and ADHD in Children

Editor's note: This week, we feature guest blogger Dr. Elizabeth Hayward. Please read her full bio below. Parents of a child who has been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) often learn that their child also struggles with executive functioning. Executive function skills are those self-management skills that help us to set and achieve goals, including prioritizing, plann...

3 Strategies for Parents to Build Children's Executive Function Skills

Executive function is sometimes described as “the CEO of the brain.” It’s responsible for seeing an idea or project through from start to finish, which involves scheduling, organizing, prioritizing, anticipating obstacles, and much more - sometimes all at once! Does that remind you of anyone else? Perhaps you think of yourself, conducting the symphony of a hectic weekday school morning, navigating...

What Factors Influence Executive Function Development?

  Parents often ask us about their children’s Executive Function development. Is my child on track with her peers? Is it unusual that a 4th grader has a poor sense of time? Will my son manage his emotions better by the time he gets to high school? The short answer is that each child develops Executive Function skills on his or her own timeline throughout childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood...

Executive Function Skills Help Students Transition to High School

Did you know that nationwide, more students are held back in 9th grade than in any other grade in school? (Source: betterhighschools.org) Even when your child is not at risk of being held back, this statistic highlights the differences between middle school and high school expectations. Too often, we see students who are unprepared for the pace and rigor of high school. They may have developed bad...

A Speech-Language Pathologist's Approach to Academic Coaching

Have you ever given your child a direction that is met with a blank stare or an excessive delay before he or she follows it? Does it happen even after you make sure that the Candy Crush game is put away and you have your child's undivided attention? It might not be that he or she is ignoring your request; it may actually be a reflection of your child's ability to process the language used before h...

Summer Strategies to Improve Your Child’s Executive Function Skills

So, the kids are done with school and are intent on swimming, hanging out with friends, playing video games, and delaying their summer reading until the last possible moment in August. As a parent, you know that they need this time to recharge after a hectic school year. Yet something keeps nagging at you. That little voice in your head rudely interrupts as you apply the umpteenth layer of sunscre...

Can Electronic Media Impact Your Teenager's Brain?

  NPR’s Fresh Air featured an article and interview with neuroscientist Dr. Frances Jensen a while back entitled “Why Teens Are Impulsive, Addiction-Prone And Should Protect Their Brains”. Within this discussion, we learn that while the frontal lobe brain structures in teens are “built”, they are far from fully-formed.  These structures are the parts of the brain that control executive function sk...

Executive Function Coaching Benefits Families: A Success Story

I love being an Executive Function coach and find it extremely rewarding.  One of my favorite aspects of coaching is working with students of all ages whose needs vary greatly. I particularly enjoy the challenge of working with resistant students who may not yet see the benefit of academic coaching. At times, I have students who may refuse to work with me during a specific session or will not agre...

How Do You Know When Your Child Needs an Academic Coach?

Many parents ask us what’s typical adolescent behavior when it comes to how students manage their academic demands. After all, we know that their frontal lobes, the part of the brain that houses executive functions and helps us set and achieve goals, are still a work in progress until at least their mid-twenties or so. We’d expect some rough patches here and there as they learn to manage their tim...

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. start w/o me.” So, I just dive r...

Does Your Child Need a Neuropsychological Evaluation?

Editor's note: This week, Dr. Anya Dashevsky is our guest blogger. Dr. Dashevsky is a clinical psychologist in MA with over 15 years of experience working with children and families. Please read her complete bio below.

Do Your Child’s Academic Strengths Mask Executive Function Deficits?

In my work supporting gifted students, I see many high achieving children who make it to middle school, and sometimes beyond, without exerting significant effort.  Their cognitive abilities or remarkable memories put them in the highest reading and math groups, earn them advanced scores on standardized tests, and make completing homework packets a breeze. They often excel in afterschool activities...

Poor Academic Performance: Beware The Blame Game

As academic coaches, we have a unique opportunity to observe our students’ learning over time, across subject areas, and through a variety of assignments over the span of a school year. We gain insight into what causes students' poor academic performance and teach them tools and strategies to increase their effectiveness. Some of us (myself included) work with students who are taking the same cour...

IQ and Executive Function Skills: The Engine and the Fuel

Executive Function skills are self-management skills that help us achieve goals. It’s how we manage our emotions and attention, organize and plan our work and time, and reflect upon and revise our tactics as circumstances change. These skills are critical for meeting the challenges of school demands and later, as an adult, our professional and personal lives.  

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 quarterbacks in the NFL? Practice and...

3 Ways to Kickstart Your Executive Function Skills

We’ve all been there.  It’s a Monday morning and you’re feeling pretty good about the week. You are rested from the weekend, the fridge is stocked, everyone has clean clothes for the week, kids’ lunches are packed, you are headed out the door on time, and hey - you even remembered your phone, keys, and wallet.  Smooth sailing.  Ah, glorious Monday! Fast forward to Wednesday.  You are 126 emails be...

Grit + Executive Function skills = Academic Success

One of the latest buzzwords in education these days is “grit”. Educators are shifting from the idea that the student with inherent talent or the greatest intelligence will be the most successful, and instead, considering other factors as predictors of success in school and in life.  Doing well in life depends on much more than learning quickly and easily. 

Can Supermoms Help Children Develop Executive Function Skills?

Here’s the thing: as parents we all want to make our kids’ lives easier and not have to see them struggle. At some point we do have to take a step back and let them try. They may not succeed the first time or even the second or thirteenth time, but I think what is important is to help children develop Executive Function skills such as problem solving strategies and to teach children to advocate fo...

What Cartoon Characters Teach Us About Executive Function Skills

As Executive Function Coaches, we sometimes view this 5-minute Charlie Brown video as a fun way to start the year off with our students. It depicts various beloved characters attempting (in song, occasionally on key) to write a book report. Each character uses a very different strategy for approaching the work, and there are strengths and weaknesses to each. Here, we’ll show you how use this video...

3 Summer Strategies to Boost Your Child’s Executive Function Skills

So, the kids are done with school and are intent on swimming, hanging out with friends, playing video games, and delaying their summer reading until the last possible moment in August. As a parent, you know that they need this time to recharge after a hectic school year. Yet something keeps nagging at you. That little voice in your head rudely interrupts as you apply the umpteenth layer of sunscre...

The Transition from Middle School to High School: Why Parents Lose Sleep

Few phrases are more fraught for families than “now that you’re in high school...”  As if middle school wasn’t challenging enough, with bad hair days, projects, hormones, and science labs that actually expect students to construct a device to prevent a raw egg from breaking from a drop of 20 feet...with JUST STRAWS AND RUBBER BANDS! Well, you get the picture (probably all too clearly). Turns out, ...

Executive Functions Make the Grade

Projects and essays and tests, oh my! Previously we looked at 5 red flag statements that could signal difficulties with your child's Executive Functions, or self-management skills. Maybe they sounded familiar to you. Having coached hundreds of students with Executive Functioning challenges, we've heard a wide variety of statements that set off our coaching alarms. Some of the most commonly heard s...

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?

Self-Advocacy + Executive Function Skills = Academic Success

Teachers often have outsized egos (I know, I was one). When you’re consistently the “smartest person in the room”—and by definition, we’re all hoping that’s the teacher, at least in terms of knowledge base—you can become subject to thinking errors. You might assume that because you said something, other people (the kids) understood it. 

Tutoring vs. Executive Function Coaching: Making an Informed Choice

Editor's note: From time to time, we will be asking guest bloggers to contribute to our blog. Mark Skoskiewicz, founder of MyGuru tutoring services, offers his perspective on how to discern a need for tutoring versus Executive Function coaching in students. Almost everyone I’ve ever met knows what a tutor is – someone with deep expertise in an academic subject or standardized test who teaches a st...

Mommy Brain: From Good Executive Functioning To Goo

According to the urban dictionary, “mommy brain” is “the phenomenon known to mothers where their brains become useless piles of goo after being around their children for too long.” In my world, the useless pile of goo is what remains of my once perfect ability to plan and prioritize, manage my time, sustain attention, and regulate my emotions. In short, my children have devoured my Executive Funct...

An Executive Function Coaching Success Story

"If you're trying to achieve, there will be roadblocks. I've had them; everybody has had them. But obstacles don't have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don't turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it." - Michael Jordan

Pick up the PACE: Positive Attitude, Consistent Effort

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” - Thomas Edison

Using Household Chores as Teachable Moments

"There are three ways to win the young. You can preach at them; that is the hook without the worm; you can say, ‘You must volunteer,’ and that is the work of the devil; and you can tell them, ‘You are needed,’ and that appeal hardly ever fails." - Kurt Hahn, Founder of Outward Bound.

A Personalized Process for Sustainable Success

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