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Dr. Hallowell's Blog

Academic and Executive Function Help for Middle School to College Age Students

EARS makes students successful adults.

EARS trains students to manage emotions, problem-solve, to work smarter not harder and to get things done –the skills of successful people.

If your student is under-performing academically, overwhelmed with school work and wanting to do better, maybe your student is “all EARS.”

EARS turns failure on its head, making academic problems an opportunity for growth rather than a reason to despair. With the guidance of an EARS coach, students acquire habits and skills of success that will sustain over a lifetime.

Who can benefit from EARS?

EARS succeeds best with middle-school to college-age students who are motivated, trustworthy and “change-ready.” Students with a diagnosis or symptoms of ADHD, executive dysfunction, post-concussion syndrome, anxiety or learning disability are good candidates. It’s good, too, to have a parent or caregiver as a “behind the scenes” support for the student’s progress.

How does EARS work?

The EARS program, administered by Rebecca Shafir M.A.CCC, speech/language pathologist at the Hallowell Center, author and EARS founder, begins with a free phone screening with the student and the parent to learn about the program and to determine whether the student is a good EARS candidate.

A 90 minute intake session is scheduled ($300). The goal of the intake session is to establish a positive problem solving partnership. The intake process begins by identifying the strengths of each student that support change (i.e. sports experience, resilience, achievements, positive traits etc) and the resistances or weak links that have deterred success. A customized course of action with specific objectives with timelines is designed by the student and the EARS coach.

10 one-hour sessions ($150 each) 1-2x a week are set up. The number of sessions or the time spent per session can be extended depending upon several factors, but to keep “the end in sight” we focus on keeping the time commitment to only 10 sessions or less. The sessions can be in person, via Skype or by phone. We start facilitating change from the outside in, making adjustments that will have the greatest impact and are easiest to sustain. Enhancement of sleep, diet and exercise, and responses to stress can ease functioning overall. If medication has been prescribed, we evaluate its effectiveness in helping the student move forward. When students used to failure start to sense positive changes early on, they are more willing to accept next steps.

Next, attention is given to the student’s environment: the physical setting for study, caregiver influence, school accommodations and incentive systems.

As the student’s self care and environmental supports are in place, he or she will be more enabled to address the logistics of planning and efficiency. These include organization of the back pack, homework planning; evening preparation, and study skills based on the most updated research on effective cognitive processing. Dependence on electronics is limited to avoid distraction.

We take on strategies that prevent procrastination and encourage more realistic self-talk and reinforcing strategies. Students are taught ways to monitor their progress, independently troubleshoot sticking points and make needed changes. Reporting schedules with the EARS coach are set up for consistent and frequent communication. Progress is monitored weekly via student, teacher and caregiver feedback.

A stellar report card may spell success for many signing up for the EARS program, but for some, the greater success will be achieved in the form of self-discovery— understanding and accepting oneself, becoming open to new ways of looking at old challenges, and in some situations, choosing a more appropriate educational or career path that could save them time and money down the road.

Payment: Clients pay for the intake session and 5 sessions up front. Training sessions are sold in sets of 5. The student and caregiver are informed that there are no refunds once the student begins each set of sessions. This step helps to insure a short term commitment of the student to the program. Optional monthly maintenance sessions are also available.

For more information on EARS contact Rebecca Shafir at 978 287 0810 or 978 255 1817. Email her at RebeccaShafir@gmail.com.

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