Monthly Tips

Each month, a Thinking Organized tip is emailed to our growing list of educators, parents and students who want to improve their executive functioning skills.

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Learning by Touch: Tactile Learners

With over 7 billion humans walking on this Earth, it’s no surprise that each one of them has a unique way of learning and processing information. Some people learn best by listening to an oral lecture, while others grasp information when it’s presented in image form. But for some people, sitting still and being asked to retain information while remaining static can be difficult. These tactile or kinesthetic learners thrive when they are able to directly interact with the material they need to learn. By using their bodies, tactile learners absorb information in a hands-on way.

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Erica MechlinskiLearning by Touch: Tactile Learners

LEARNING AND LIMBIC

Executive functioning skills can be described as the ‘CEO’ of the brain. Just like an effective boss, executive skills are responsible for making decisions, planning, and managing information. Now imagine a boss who is feeling agitated, depressed, or enraged. In any of these situations, he will struggle to manage the demands of his job while his emotions are out of control, leading to unfinished tasks and a sense of frustration. In the same way, if a student has difficulty regulating emotions, his ability to perform executive functions will be compromised. This is especially true during adolescence, when brain development and hormonal changes cause emotions to heighten and fluctuate more dramatically. It is important to recognize that emotion and executive functions are not separate entities; in fact, they are intricately intertwined, especially when it comes to learning.

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Erica MechlinskiLEARNING AND LIMBIC

Executive Functioning Skills + New Year’s Resolution = Happy Child!

By Colette Leudeu Hapi

There is often a sense of excitement with the approach of a new year. This is the time to make resolutions about landing dream jobs, performing well in an academic semester, or taking better care of oneself. It is important to take advantage of such high levels of motivation because this is a perfect time to create realistic and manageable goals for the new year. For children with executive dysfunction, making New Year’s resolutions can empower them to change a behavior or develop a new skill while cultivating their ability to set and accomplish goals.
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Erica MechlinskiExecutive Functioning Skills + New Year’s Resolution = Happy Child!

Executive Functioning Tips for the Holidays

By Jennifer Sax
The holidays are a wonderful time to relax with friends and spend time with family. However, the holidays are also a time when to-do lists get longer, calendars are crowded, and managing everything can feel almost impossible. Keeping track of the times and dates of holiday parties, remembering your shopping list, finding time to clean the house, and recalling the ingredients for grandma’s famous casserole recipe are just a few of the tasks you will likely be faced with this holiday season. When life gets busy, as it inevitably will during the holiday season, a person’s executive functioning skills are put to the test.
So how can you manage all of this without becoming overwhelmed? Use these strategies to get ahead of the holiday hustle and bustle and make a plan to help everything feel more manageable.
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Erica MechlinskiExecutive Functioning Tips for the Holidays

How to Handle the College Application Process

By Kristin Backert

Becoming a mighty senior in high school is a rite of passage for thousands of students every year. No longer are they on the bottom of the food chain; instead, the younger students look to them for guidance. Amidst this newfound sense of power, though, high school seniors find themselves faced with a challenge unlike any other: the college application process. This can be a daunting task, as students are asked to consider what potential path their future should take. However, this process does not have to be stressful if students approach it with a plan.
Here are some tips to help you and your child successfully manage this exciting time in their lives.

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Erica MechlinskiHow to Handle the College Application Process

How to Manage Academic and Personal Obligations

By Kristin Backert

 

Between school, work, and social obligations, everyone has a busy schedule. It seems that we’re always running from one thing to the next, or we’re always finding ourselves tasked with new projects.
For children with executive dysfunction, managing their academic and personal obligations can feel like an impossible task. Often times they don’t realize the importance of recording homework, which causes them to forget about assignments. Other times they don’t realize that they have an essay due the same weekend that they are out of town, which prevents them from budgeting their time appropriately to complete their work.
Happily, there are several methods to help them learn to record and track all of their responsibilities.

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Erica MechlinskiHow to Manage Academic and Personal Obligations

Goal Setting Before School

The beginning of the school year elicits sighs of nostalgia from many parents. Clean, bright notebooks, sharpened pencils, and new clothes all signify the onset of an exciting unknown – the time to launch a fresh start. Before school begins is the perfect time to solidify goals for the upcoming academic year for both parents and children.
Here are a few step-by-step instructions to help your child buy into the concept of goal setting and establish specific, manageable objectives.

 

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Erica MechlinskiGoal Setting Before School

It’s Never Too Late to Have a Productive Summer

“Summer Slide” might sound like a fun amusement park attraction, but it’s actually scarier than the world’s most terrifying ride. Research spanning decades of years has documented the frighteningly true fact that the academic skills of most students “slide” backwards over the long summer months. When school starts in the fall, students who don’t actively use their brains over the summer don’t perform as well in class as those who have been productive.
However, the good news is that this disturbing decline is entirely preventable. Mental stimulation helps the brain grow stronger, faster and better able to complete the millions of daily tasks it is charged with, from memory to problem solving to attention. The brain forms new connections every time it is exercised. To prevent brain drain, or even improve cognition, individuals need frequent opportunities to acquire new skills and practice existing ones. As the phrase goes, “Use it or lose it!”

 

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Erica MechlinskiIt’s Never Too Late to Have a Productive Summer

SUMMER SUCCESSES

As the school year winds to a close, it can be hard to think about planning for summer amidst finals, studying and end-of-school-year events. But a little prep now can help you beat the summer slide. The summer slide happens when students do not continue to engage in reading, math, and writing over the summer months.  This can result in a loss of knowledge from the previous year and may require weeks of makeup work in the fall. We have some simple ways you can incorporate these skills into a fun and meaningful summer to avoid the summer slide. Intentional planning now will help you when that final school bell rings in June.
Here are 5 ways to prepare for summer, today!

 

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Erica MechlinskiSUMMER SUCCESSES

APPS FOR PARENTS…and your children too!

By: Jennifer Sax

If you are the parent of a disorganized child, likely you will have to go the extra mile to keep yourself and them organized! How are you supposed to remember to pack lunch, clean the house, wash the soccer uniform, and remember what is on your grocery list? Phones today have an abundance of apps to keep you organized and remind you of your “to dos.” With so many Apps out there, how do you know which one will be the best fit for you?
We have our “go-to” Apps like 30-30, Evernote, and Tomato Timer, that we have reviewed in the past. Below are two more fantastic apps to add to the list that are great for parents as well as their children!

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Erica MechlinskiAPPS FOR PARENTS…and your children too!