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Welcome from me, Seth Perler. If you’re a parent or educator who wants practical and unconventional approaches to helping struggling students, without b.s. or misinformation, you’re in the right place.
What parents and teachers ask me?
It goes something like this, “I’ve got a bright student, but things are falling apart and I’m at a loss. If we don’t figure out what to do, I’m afraid it’ll negatively impact their future. How do I help this complicated kid? How do I deal with their resistance? And how do I deal with teachers who don’t get my child?”
I wish I could tell you there was a quick fix, but the solution is complicated, and it has a lot to do with something called “executive function.” Helping these students turn it around requires persistently attacking the problem from many different angles. But don’t worry, my entire blog is about how to help. I’ve been an executive function specialist and blogging about it since 2010.
One of the coolest things is when I see a family decide to proactively start solving these problems. To see the change in how they feel is remarkable. Parents move from a worried, baffled state to a sense of relief, knowing that their child has turned the corner. Students move from a place of chaos and scattered energy to a place of confidence and groundedness. Seeing a child transform their educational experience is a tremendous gift.
How do I know if my child struggles with “Executive Function”?
- Your child’s grades do not reflect their ability or “potential.”
- Homework problems: missing and incomplete assignments, zeros, forget to turn in homework, lose homework, forget what the homework was, no names, etc..
- Don’t use a planner to effectively track schoolwork or other responsibilities.
- Often unprepared and late for class or other events.
- Trouble self-starting, procrastinate, appear unmotivated, don’t know where or how to start.
- Wait until the last minute with important deadlines or miss them altogether.
- Unrealistic perception of how much time and energy is needed for homework, studying, chores, responsibilities, getting out of the house in the morning, etc..
- Can’t focus on one thing to completion, gets off task, derailed, easily distracted.
- Because of habits that waste time and because of processing issues, these kids can take a very long time to do homework (as well as taking care of other responsibilities).
- Resist your help. Resist most help.
- Unrealistic perception of how they are doing in school.
- Get behind in school and the vicious cycle gets a bit worse with each passing semester.
- They have excellent excuses, know how to wear you down.
- Do not self-advocate effectively, don’t ask teachers for help early enough or at all.
- Overwhelmed by the demands of school, leading to denial or anxiety about school, and avoid dealing with it effectively.
- They often want to do well and have great intentions but don’t have the skills.
- These students don’t understand their challenges well enough to know what to do about them.
- Often remarkably bright, have tremendous talents, gifts, passions and skills in high interest areas.
- Many are diagnosed with ADHD, ASD, Dyslexia, or another diagnosis. Some have no diagnosis whatsoever.
About 1 in 10 students struggle with Executive Function, and since many adults don’t understand how EF impacts these complex kids, they often don’t get the help they need. This causes three massive problems:
- Many of these kids end up feeling shamed, like there is something wrong with them.
- Many of these kids don’t develop the necessary skills they need to launch a successful future (aka “Failure to Launch” kids). They can struggle for decades.
- When trying to help, adults sometimes unknowingly make things worse.
The good news
We can help these kids develop the executive function skills they need to succeed in school and life. With the right tools, the brain can and does change. The parents who subscribe here are sick of spinning their wheels. Many have seen their kids struggle year after year and watched helplessly as patterns got worse, and they need real answers.
The teachers and professionals who subscribe here are the ones who challenge the status quo. They’re looking for something different because they’ve seen too many ineffective interventions. They’re sick of cookie cutter approaches and want better tools to decode complicated students.
All of these adults want to figure out what’s going on so they can get on with giving kids the support they need.
Why is Executive Function such a big problem?
You don’t know what you don’t know. Teachers are rarely given the training and resources to meet the needs of all students, and a lot of parents tell me that some teachers “don’t get my kid.” Most schools (private and alternative included) fail to understand Executive Function, and educators sometimes make the mistake of believing that these kids are lazy, unmotivated, incapable, not trying hard enough, or that they don’t care about school.
These beliefs are based on misunderstandings, and with the right tools, we can help these kids change the narrative and receive the tools they need to have a happy, healthy and successful future. Most teachers want to understand, and when they get ahold of helpful information, they use it to support kids.
About me, Seth Perler
I’m Seth, a renegade teacher turned Executive Function Coach/Education Coach based in Boulder, CO. I help struggling students navigate a crazy educational landscape and do my part to “disrupt” and improve education. I specialize in Executive Function and 2e.
School was incredibly challenging for me and it isn’t working for countless outside-the-box learners of today. I use my blog to:
- Give you free, actionable solutions to help your child, &
- Challenge the status quo to improve education.
Sign up here for updates and my free toolkit to help your kids. No spam, no games, no flashy stuff, just a weekly email with solutions for your child (all ages). If you want to know what you get by signing up, click here.
Start exploring my site
- My True Story – Read about my struggles as a student and how I overcame them.
- About Seth now – Here’s a more personal peek into my life.
- Executive Function – This is a MUST READ article for you, the most essential one on my site. It’s about why EF is THE most important thing parents and teachers must understand, but don’t.
- 2e Twice Exceptional Learners – Another MUST READ. Everything you need to know about 2e/twice exceptional kids and how to support them.
- Podcast – Like to listen? Parents and teachers rave about this episode because it’s packed with tips.
- YouTube – My YouTube channel with tons of helpful videos. Please subscribe (this helps my channel grow and can update you).
- Coaching – About my practice for struggling students (online or locally).
- Speaking – How to hire me to speak or run a workshop for conferences, parent groups, teacher trainings, etc..
- My in-depth, unconventional professional background/resume.
- Subscribe HERE for free tools and blog updates to help your child
More About Complex Struggling Students
“The most impressive attribute of Seth is his steadfast dedication. He has never given up on our daughter, even when she has become overwhelmed and wanted to give up. He has taught her to believe in herself. She is now graduating and will walk in the December ceremony. She could not have done it without him.” – Bonnie Auerbach, Los Angeles, CA
As you know, I’m Seth, an Executive Function Coach, Education Consultant & Advocate.
In my blog I teach you exactly how I empower outside-the-box learners to navigate a baffling educational landscape so they can successfully launch a great future after school. Those are the essential steps; Empower students to navigate so they can successfully launch! These steps apply at any age, Elementary-College.
Struggling students are often misunderstood, usually as a result of deep systemic dysfunction (in other words, schools may look great on the surface, but can be off course behind the scenes). Many of these kids are seen as lazy, unmotivated or uncaring, which couldn’t be further from the truth. These kids are expected to conform to an outdated system rather than the system conforming to the legitimate needs of neurodiverse learners.
This drives me crazy, because it causes a ton of unnecessary suffering, for far too many students, way too often, and this can literally knock them off course in life, (which can take people decades to recover from.) Education is not a game.
“Life ain’t a dress rehearsal.” We need to do right by our kids, and in this day & age, it can be hard to even know what that means. But my blog is meant to help you cut through the noise & get results that matter. It’s all about a little-known, yet absolutely critical concept called Executive Function.
I specialize in neurodiverse learning needs like ADHD, twice-exceptional, 2E, stress, avoidance, anxiety, gifted & talented, dyslexia, Aspergers, autism, ASD, sensory integration, etc.. I generally work with kids in middle school through college.
“Sarah absolutely aced this day! I am sitting back in wonderment! She attributes her success to you! Normally, she’d be crying, frustrated, overwhelmed, and angry. Instead, she was quite calm! She took that in stride, I was so impressed with her! I said, “How does it feel?” She said, “Norma!!” Go Sara! I said, “Wow! So much executive skill went into making this day work! What do you think enabled you to be so successful and on top of things?!” She said, “Seth!” Thank you, thank you, thank you! I’m so thrilled for her (and for me) to see her starting to take charge and function more age appropriately in her life.” — Karin A., New Jersey
I have extensive experience working with extraordinarily diverse learners and I specialize in helping complex, struggling students turn it around in school. I was a teacher for 12 years (several grades and subjects), have a B.A. in Education, an M.Ed. in Gifted Education, have worked with teens with substance issues for over 15 years, taught on the Navajo reservation, and much more. Most recently I have been an education coach, consultant and advocate for 9 years.
After all this experience working with all types of struggling students, it became clear that they ALL had ONE thing in common, problems with “executive function” (don’t worry, I’ll teach you all about it). Once I figured this out, the pieces began to come together and the way I helped kids skyrocketed.
Because of these experiences, and because I’ve had to overcome these learning challenges myself, I’m committed to empowering your kids to navigate their education successfully so they can craft an awesome future.
This blog is shared by a tribe of over 9,000 concerned parents and teachers who aren’t willing to sit back and watch dysfunction shortchange kids. They’re everyday people who work hard to advocate in a baffling system, so our kids can get what they need — an education which teaches them how to harnesses their unique gifts, so they can craft extraordinary lives.
I share actionable solutions designed to help these kids turn it around, navigate the system, and get everything they can out of education. I pour my heart into this blog and it’s 100% free. I hope you join us, share it with others who would benefit, and most importantly, I hope you apply what you learn. Subscribe now!
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