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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smortoMonthly Tips

Preparing for a New School Year in the Age of COVID

These last six months have been unusual, to say the least. COVID-19 severely altered our daily lives, and while it is impossible to determine who was impacted the most, many people would agree that children experienced a uniquely difficult time. The sudden transition to distance learning, where they had less classes, less homework, and less structure, was jarring. Many students lost motivation and found it challenging to put forth effort. With a new school year upon us in times that are still uncertain, many parents are rightly concerned that their children might still lack that motivation – especially since many schools are using hybrid models or engaging in virtual-only learning. There are several steps you can take to help ensure that your children are successful this school year.

 

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Erica MechlinskiPreparing for a New School Year in the Age of COVID

Executive Functioning Skills in Standardized Testing

Students with ADHD and executive functioning weaknesses tend to experience academics and testing differently than those without learning disabilities. It is important to remember that these challenges are not a sign of incompetence, nor are they suggestive of a student’s intelligence. What these challenges do suggest is that these students learn differently and require specific structures to perform well in school. This is true not only for achieving high grades, but high scores on standardized tests as well.
To effectively prepare for the SAT, students should seek to strengthen their executive functioning skills while simultaneously reviewing content.

 

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Erica MechlinskiExecutive Functioning Skills in Standardized Testing

Why is Reading Difficult?

You are doing it right now without even thinking about it: reading. Many of us don’t even remember learning to read, but it is actually a complex, multifaceted skill built upon subskills. If children have difficulty with any one component of reading, they will struggle to keep up with their classmates and may avoid the task altogether.

 

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Erica MechlinskiWhy is Reading Difficult?

What is Writing Fluency and Why is it Important?

Parents often hear their student’s teachers, speech-language pathologists, or educational specialists talk about fluency in reading, writing, or speech.
 
Fluency in any of these areas refers to the automaticity and accuracy in which these skills are used. Fluent language speakers can naturally and readily use words in a language to communicate their ideas, and fluent readers smoothly decode words in a printed text. Therefore, fluent writers can easily express their ideas on a page.

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Erica MechlinskiWhat is Writing Fluency and Why is it Important?

Setting Goals for the New Year

What is a better way to ring in the New Year than with a resolution? 2020 is a great time to help your children set new goals and identify areas to improve upon, whether in their academic, professional, or personal lives. However, while our children often begin the year with some well-meaning motivation, they might struggle to create a clear plan for what they want to achieve. As a result, they can feel burned out before they reach their objective. To help your children set a goal, follow through, and see progress, encourage them to use the SMART GoalSetting tool this year.

 

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Erica MechlinskiSetting Goals for the New Year

Executive Functioning and the Winter Holidays

With the winter holidays about to roll around, children (and even adults!) are looking forward to days of pure relaxation. While it is important for students to use this time off to recharge, it is also crucial that they continue to strengthen their executive functioning skills so that they will seamlessly transition back to a regular school day when the new year starts.

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Erica MechlinskiExecutive Functioning and the Winter Holidays

Flexible Thinking for the School Year

We are a quarter of the way through the academic year, and everything is just starting to fall back into a regular pace for kids, where they have to manage their homework while simultaneously juggling their extracurricular activities. In the midst of all the chaos, parents can use this opportunity to help their children hone their flexible thinking skills.
 
Flexible thinking is the ability to shift attentional focus and strategic problem-solving approaches from one aspect of a complex stimulus to another and to move freely from one situation, activity, or aspect of a problem to another as the circumstances demand. This skill is crucial to social development, as it helps children get along with others even if they have differences and makes group work more effective. 
 
Some children with learning and attention issues have trouble seeing other viewpoints and alternative ways of doing things, so it’s important for them to practice strengthening their flexible thinking skills by incorporating them into everyday tasks and activities.  

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Erica MechlinskiFlexible Thinking for the School Year

Making the Most of Study Time

In a world with ever increasing automation and a new smart technology arriving every week, we never have enough of the one thing we’d all like more of: time. With the rigors of school, homework, sports practices, rehearsals, and ever-expanding options for after-school activities, even kids feel they never have enough time. You’re probably not going to have much luck convincing the soccer coach to end practice early (unless you are the soccer coach), but homework is one mountain that can be conquered. However, in order to effectively complete their homework, students need to be able to pay attention to the task at hand.
To help your children build this essential skill, here are a few tips to keep in mind.

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Erica MechlinskiMaking the Most of Study Time

Time Management and Academic Planners

Welcome back to another school year!
To start the year off right, it’s important for your children to develop strong time management skills so that they can avoid late-night study sessions, last-minute projects, and incomplete assignments. Students who do not manage their time well may feel like they are always playing “catch-up,” and procrastination may become a habit that leads to stress, reduced learning, and poor grades. Learning how to properly manage time can enable your children to plan ahead, prioritize tasks, and distribute the correct amount of time needed to complete projects and homework.
While there are a variety of methods to help your children practice time management, one crucial tool is the academic planner. Planners come in various forms and sizes, so it is important that students find the one that works best for them.

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Erica MechlinskiTime Management and Academic Planners

Teaching Students How to Self-Regulate

As adults, we tend to tell our children that something is not as bad as they think it is. Even if they have three hours of homework, two tests to study for, and a project to complete, this does not even compare to the “real world.” However, when we trivialize the frustrations that our children face regarding their academics, we inadvertently dissuade them from  learning how to self-regulate. Our children begin to wonder why they are unable to keep up with their workload, and this may lead to a loss of motivation, resistance to completing their work, or emotional outbursts. With the school year fast approaching, summer is the perfect time to teach and practice self-regulation strategies with your children.

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Erica MechlinskiTeaching Students How to Self-Regulate