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November/December 2009               Dealing with  Procrastination
In This Issue
Procrastination Assessment
Why Students Procrastinate
Help Your Child Overcome Procrastination
Myths About Distractability
Client Feedback
Events and Meetings
About Students First Coaching
Join Our Mailing List
Forward to a Friend
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Hello everyone,
This month's newsletter is in response to comments and conversations that have been held at my front door.
My hope is you will find some useful pointers that will support your day to day life with your child. 
The Globe & Mail recently published an article exploring the link between exercise and better academic performance.  Read the full article here.
If you wish to have an official receipt for the tutoring services please let me know so I can have my bookkeeper prepare it for you.
All tutoring/coaching sessions will end as of Thursday, December 17, 2009 for Christmas and resume again on Monday, January 4, 2010.
Ann Imrie-Howlett  
Phone:  905-823-7215

Procrastination Assessment

Sure, we all put off a few unpleasant tasks. But psychologists say that some of us poison our success with chronic procrastination. Is your child a chronic procrastinator? Try this simple quiz to find out........
They  procrastinate excessively if you agree with five or more of the following statements:
  1. They often put off starting a task they find difficult.
  2. They often give up on a task as soon as they start to find it difficult.
  3. They often wonder why they should be bothered doing a task.
  4. They often have difficulty getting started on a task.
  5. They often try to do so many tasks at once that they don't finish any.
  6. They often put off a task in which they have little or no interest.
  7. They often try to come up with reasons to do something else.
  8. They often ignore a task when they are not certain about how to start it.
  9. They often start a task but stop before completing it.
  10. They often think that if they ignore a task, it will go away.
  11. They often cannot decide which to begin first.
  12. They often find their minds wandering off to other things.
Why Do Students Procrastinate?
There are many reasons why students procrastinate. Here are the most common reasons:
  1. Perfectionism. A student's standard of performance may be so high for a task that it does not seem possible to meet that standard.
  2. Fear of Failure. A student may lack confidence and fear that he/she will be unable to accomplish a task successfully.
  3. Confusion. A student may be unsure about how to start a task or how it should be completed.
  4. Task Difficulty. A student may lack the skills and abilities needed to accomplish a task.
  5. Poor Motivation. A student may have little or no interest in completing a task because he/she finds the task boring or lacking in relevance. 
  6. Difficulty Concentrating. A student may have too many things around that distract him/her from doing a task.
  7. Task Unpleasantness. A student may dislike doing what a task requires.
  8. Lack of Priorities. A student may have little or no sense about which tasks are most important to do.

How Can I Help My Child Overcome Procrastination?

Here are some things you can do to control excessive procrastination.
  1. Motivation and Positive Self-Talk.  "There is no time like the present," or "Nobody's perfect." "The sooner I get at it the sooner I'm free" etc.
  2. Make a schedule of the tasks you have to do and stick to it.
  3. Prioritize the tasks you have to do.
  4. Set clear goals and be specific with time. Set a timer.
  5. Work on tasks at the times they are most alert and positive.
  6. Break large tasks into small manageable parts.
  7. Work on difficult and/or unpleasant tasks first.
  8. Work on a task you find easier after you complete a difficult task.
  9. Work on tasks as part of a study group.
  10. Get help from teachers and other students when you find a task difficult.
  11. Find a good place to work on tasks.
  12. Eliminate distractions that interfere with working on tasks.
  13. Set reasonable expectations that you can meet for a task. Don't be a perfectionist!!!
  14. Take breaks when working on a task so that you do not wear down.
  15. Rewards when the task is done.

Myths about Distractability and Solutions That WORK

Myth: Tapping pencils, doodling, and rocking back and forth in the chair equals distraction. 

Truth: We now know that children attend better when they move around or are given something to hold or touch.  Provide sensory input to help the child to focus.  Stress balls, chewing gum, and weighted lap pads provide an outlet for the 'fidgeter'. In  
addition, a recent study found the twistable Tangle Toy Jr. ( helped students to sustain effort and complete assignments accurately.  Movement is also essential.  Allow work to be done while standing up or pacing the room.

Myth: Students should quietly study in their room. 

Truth: Distractible students do best when an adult checks in periodically.
Choose a place away from the household action but close enough for you to monitor, such as the dining room.  Assist your child with getting started on the task at hand.  Have him set a timer for a short period of time with the goal of working consistently. By checking in when the timer rings, you'll be allowing him independence and creating accountability at the same time.   A portable 'study zone' with all materials (paper, pens, highlighters) in one place, is also helpful for students who always seem to be searching for supplies.
Myth: If a student wanted to pay attention, he could.
Kids that struggle to focus are consistently inconsistent.  One day they can concentrate perfectly, and the next day is a battle.  Their distractibility can be neurobiological in nature and they must be taught effective coping mechanisms.
Rather than nagging, use positive reinforcement and effective rewards.  Try a 'mystery motivator' - after your child is on task for an allotted period of time, he can choose a reward card from an envelope (15 minutes extra on Wii, 10 minute later bedtime, etc.).  The suspense of working towards an unknown prize is quite powerful for many.   
Additionally, research shows that placing a mirror in your child's work space will help him monitor his own attention. Your child is likely to refocus if he looks up and sees that he's off task. As an added benefit, keeping a mirror in the workspace was found to improve the accuracy of assignments

Client Feedback

"Ann has taught our child the fundamentals for school and life.  She has instilled a sense of ownership when it comes to homework and has instilled an appreciation for learning.  The days of micromanaging homework completion are behind us.  When we discuss homework now, it is on a much higher level -
how what they are learning applies to real life.  We also see our child as a "go-to" person when peers are struggling.  Thanks to Ann for her energy, her discipline and most importantly, her deep concern for our child."
- Christine.

Events and Meetings

LDAO (Provincial)Workshop Series
Practical Applications of Current Research for Parents and Professionals
The Individual Education Plan 101                December 11, 2009
Memory Assessment and its Importance        March 1, 2010
All workshops are held at Sick Kids Hospital  Main Auditorium
For more information contact: Bindi Gandhi []
call:   416-929-4311 ext 21
Toronto ADHD Clinic
ADHD in Children & Adolescents: Dr. Atilla Turgay & Dr. Llewellyn Joseph
Date: Monday, December 7th, 2009 6:00 p.m. -9:00 pm
Locations: Hart House-The University of Toronto
                 7 Hart House Circle, Toronto, ON,  M4S 3H3
Registration is free but you must call to reserve a place.
Toronto ADHD Clinic
416-304-1779 or fax: 416-304-0257  
ADDressing ADDult ADD
This is a facilitated monthly support group organized by and for adults with ADHD. It is an ADHD-friendly opportunity to share stories, experiences and coping strategies with others.
Dates: Every third Wednesday of the month
Time:  7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Place:  Glen Abbey United Church
1469 Nottinghill Gate, Oakville, ON

For more information contact:
"ADDressing ADDult ADD" []
PASS - Parent Advocates 4 Struggling Students
This is a group in Burlington who serve Halton and Peel Regions. There are monthly meetings with guest speakers as well as an informative web site.
They support the parents of children whose academic results are not consistent with their potential.

About Students First Coaching

 Students First Educational Coaching and Tutoring offers:
- one on one strategic tutoring assistance to LD/ADD students in middle school
- coaching support for LD/ADD students from high school through college and university

Through confidential inquiry, discovery, and collaboration, Ann works to move her clients forward by finding out what works best for them and then helping to define specific action plans whether it is coaching or tutoring.  Ann provides focus, accountability, support, direction, and guided reflection. 
Coaching and Strategic tutoring is a personal, one-on-one relationship.  Sessions can occur in person, through e-mail, over the phone or a unique combination of all of these methods.

Phone:  905-823-7215
Students First Educational Coaching and Tutoring | 1693 Wedmore Way | Mississauga | ON | L5J 2J7 | Canada