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Dr. Sheri's Blog

How to Map Out a Project

As a student, a mom, and a teacher, I've experienced many late nights spent cramming to get a project completed and turned in on time. Unfortunately, for individuals with executive function deficits, planning can be an area of great weakness. This lack of planning can result in leaving things to the last minute, or not getting started with a project at all because it just seems too overwhelming.

Project mapping is a method whereby sticky notes are used to identify the different components of a project.

How to Make a Visual Scale

Visual scales are terrific tools for helping young people with executive function challenges to see and understand the subtleties of everyday life. Clickherefor a document with instructions on how to make a visual scale. And clickherefor a short YouTube video showing how to make a visual scale.

Visual scales can be used in a variety of ways: to show voice or noise levels, to communicate state of mind, to indicate physical health, or to show proximity. Visual scales work by showing the current level in relation to the desired level, and by tracking progress toward the desired level.

Checking In Down Under

I'm sitting and relaxing in the comfortable and relatively quiet Qantas club in Sydney, after my decidedly uncomfortable and noisy red-eye flight from Darwin. I have a few hours before I leave to visit family in Canberra, so it seemed a good time to catch up on my blog.
 
I arrived in Darwin just two weeks ago, for my third trip to my three schools in the Outback. I was excited to check in; to be honest, I had missed my Australian friends and the children I've grown so fond of. I arrived to a different climate than what I've experienced in my past visits.

Tips and Tricks for Dealing with Mental Inflexibility

Inmy last blog postI wrote about the concept of mental flexibility, how it relates to executive function (EF), and gave some ideas for strategies you might use when working (or living) with someone who is not very flexible (mentally speaking).

Today I'd like to share my top three tips for a peaceful co-existence with your mentally inflexible student, child, spouse, friend, co-worker, boss, or parent. Please keep in mind that these tips come from my own personal experience, so they may or may not apply in your position.

Brain Yoga: Mental Flexibility and Executive Function

I've never considered myself to be very flexible. In fact, when I was eight years old and taking ballet classes, my Russian ballet instructor was dismayed at how my young body simply refused to bend on command. I've found that doing yoga regularly can contribute to a more flexible body, but what can one do when the problem is an inflexible brain?

Last week I discussed executive function (EF), which is a set of cognitive functions that help us to be more mentally flexible, less impulsive, able to control our emotions, and capable of planning and problem solving.

Help Me!! I'm Surrounded by Chaos!!


Do you work with a student, have a child, or live with someone who is disorganized, inflexible, impulsive, and who struggles with planning and problem solving?  Did you know that these traits fall into a category of skills called executive functions? Your student, child, or significant other may find it difficult to achieve in school, follow through with responsibilities at home, and/or interact appropriately in work and community settings – not because of a lack of effort or desire to do well but due to a lack of executive function (EF) skills.

Back to the Outback

I'm back in Darwin for the weekend, after spending the past week in two of my three remote community schools. I honestly didn't know how I'd feel to be back, as I was definitely ready to be home at the end of my last trip. However, I must say that it was really nice to return to Australia, and I have enjoyed being back at my schools. Another nice bonus is that I've actually traveled with someone else during this trip, which has been fun. 

On Monday we flew out to my most remote school to find out how they are coming along with implementing Direct Instruction at their school.

Winding Down, Down Under


Here it is, the middle of my last week in Australia, and I'm definitely due for some reflection. In some ways this time has gone by so quickly, in other ways I feel like I've been here forever. I'm currently in my third school, which is another small school (around 30 students), with students in grades kindergarten (transition) through 7th grade. The school is beautiful; the path into the school is paved with stones and the school is beautifully decorated with posters and indigenous art.

Going Even Deeper Down Under


Well, I'm in Darwin for the night, after flying on a single engine plane in and out of a very small town in the Australian bush. I've spent two days there in the school, flying back each evening to a larger town (large, as in, over 100 residents). I hardly slept the night before my first flight, but I soon found that I'm not frightened and, in fact, the views are amazing!


My new school is small (around 25 students, K-7th grade) and in a community sheltered by an amazing escarpment, with picturesque waterfalls and rough-hewn walls.

Things That Go Bump in the Night: Australian Bush Version

I'm rounding out my first week at my biggest school (approximately 125 students, preschool through grade 10) and so I thought I'd take a few moments to sum up my experiences here.

New Friends
On Saturday night I had a terrific time at a potluck featuring Australian dishes. Everyone brought something to share and we had some really terrific tucker (aka food). There was chicken parma, Australian lamb, quiche, coleslaw, Australian meatballs, cheesymite rolls (cheese and Vegemite on homemade Australian bread), berry and apple crisp, anzac biscuits, and pavlova (I brought cheesy potatoes - kind of a French/American thing).
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Recent Posts

How to Map Out a Project
How to Make a Visual Scale
Checking In Down Under
Tips and Tricks for Dealing with Mental Inflexibility
Brain Yoga: Mental Flexibility and Executive Function

Categories

Autism Spectrum Disorders
Behavior
CCSS
Direct Instruction
Discipline
Evidence-based practices
Executive Function
Leadership
PBIS
Reflections
TBI
Traumatic Brain Injury
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