In this Episode
The new school year is upon us and we’re here to help you prepare.
This week's podcast guest is Seth Perler, an Executive Function and ADHD coach, and the creator of The Executive Function Online Summit which is a free 3-day immersion with over 30 experts.
In this week's episode, you'll learn:
- The destructive messages that kids get
- Tips for parents on how to prepare for the new school year
- Takeaways and words of encouragement for your kids
“In first grade, I started hearing: He's lazy, unmotivated. He's not trying. He needs to work harder. He needs to apply himself. He's got so much potential." - Seth Perler
- The Executive Function Online Summit (TEFOS) - Register for free
- Executive Profiles: Characteristics and Strategies - Handout that Jill will be going over in more detail at her TEFOS workshop
[00:00:11.050] - Jill Stowell
Don't you just love a sneak peek behind the scenes? Today, my guest Seth Perler is going to give you a behind the scenes look at the upcoming three day Executive Function Summit. I can't wait for you to meet Seth, if you haven't already, and to learn about this incredible free conference for parents and teachers of neurodiverse kids.
[00:00:43.410] - Seth Perler
Welcome to the LD Expert Podcast, your place for answers and solutions for learning differences, dyslexia, and auditory and attention challenges. I'm your host, Jill Stowell, founder of Stowell Learning Centers and author of the new Amazon number one best seller Take the Stone Out of the Shoe: A Must Have Guide to Understanding, Supporting and Correcting Dyslexia, Learning and Attention challenges. I get the pleasure today of interviewing Seth Perler. Hi, Seth.
[00:01:15.950] - Seth Perler
Hey. Hi, everybody.
[00:01:17.790] - Jill Stowell
Seth is an Executive Function and ADHD coach. He has helped so many kids and families, both individually and through all of the online resources that he provides. Seth, it's just so great to have you back with us.
[00:01:33.170] - Seth Perler
Thanks, Jill. So good to see you. Jill is phenomenal. I'm sure you all know how much Jill does for everybody, but thank you so much for how you show up in the world and contribute.
[00:01:44.090] - Jill Stowell
Thank you. Welcome. So, Seth, for the last four years, you've been hosting TEFOS, the Executive Function Online Summit. And it's coming up right around the corner on August 5 through 7th. School has been so challenging for parents, teachers, and students. Over the last two years. I think one of the biggest areas in kids learning that has taken a huge hit has been executive function. So this summit is coming at a perfect time, and it's such a tremendous opportunity for parents and teachers to get some understanding and strategies that will help make this coming school year smoother. So, Seth, what do people need to know about TEFOS?
[00:02:35.730] - Seth Perler
Well, it's designed for parents, but we get a lot of teachers, therapists, and other professionals and grandparents and other people who are interested in supporting their children who attend. And what we do is really, as I'm interviewing all the experts, I'm asking them really for two things. I want knowledge and I want action. So after doing what I do for a long time, and I'm sure you as well, when we're working with parents, parents want knowledge. They want to understand models, important vocabulary words, important things that they may not have been taught about, but they also want action. They want to know what to do, but they want it practical. They want to understand, how can I actually implement this to help my child?
[00:03:19.680] - Seth Perler
So I really focus in. We have 30 experts and really focus in on what can people know and what can they do to support their child's executive function. And then we have all sorts of themes that really come up with most speakers. And it's really interesting that these themes keep repeating and repeating and repeating. Different experts say the same thing in different ways, and why I think that's so cool and why I think that's so important and why I think that's so empowering to parents is that when you hear these same concepts in different ways and it starts to gel, the mud starts to settle.
[00:03:55.650] - Seth Perler
In the weeks after the summit, it brings together this sort of common wisdom that we have, and it's very affirming to parents to hear that, okay, these are really the same themes. I can do this. I really understand how I can do my job. So it makes it very more practical and more doable and deeper.
[00:04:25.330] - Jill Stowell
Yeah, absolutely. Let's just take a quick look at the TEFOS website so you can quickly walk us through what people are going to find there and what they can look forward to.
[00:04:40.060] - Seth Perler
Jill, I have a link right here: https://executivefunctionsummit.com/. This will take you to the home page of the site, the executive function site, and you pop your email right in there where it says "Register Free". When you register there, it'll take you to a confirmation page that you know you're registered. Then there's a video where I describe the summit right there. And then down below you can look at the lineup of all the speakers. And then below that, if you want to understand what executive function is, or neurodiversity, I have some descriptions down below that will explain everything to you. And there's more Q and A, but on the home page at least, it gives you the basics so that you know exactly what's going on.
[00:05:20.770] - Jill Stowell
Great. And we will be putting the registration link up on the screen, and we'll also put it in the show notes so that you can find it. So I promised people a sneak peek behind the scenes of TEFOS. What is the most challenging thing about putting this all together and also the thing that you enjoy the most about it?
[00:05:47.110] - Seth Perler
I guess one of the challenging things seems to be I'm losing my voice. I've been talking a lot because I've been talking to a lot of people for weeks. I would say the most challenging thing about putting it together is all the moving pieces behind the scenes that happens. So in order to get 30 speakers, I research about 400 people. I contact probably 150 people, and I don't hear back from so many of them. Like, you don't know if you're getting their correct email. One person, I got four email addresses from for that person. And I make, like, individual little loom videos for almost every speaker. So it's a lot of work and you don't know if they're ever going to receive it. So that's one of the moving pieces that's really hard. And then all of the making the buttons. And I'm not a very techy person. We have a really small team. It's really me and my main assistant and then a couple of other people that help us. And it's just so many moving pieces just to make a button or just to write the copy. I have been working when I say endlessly and tirelessly, I mean it has been months that I basically wake up and just like plow away at making little things.
[00:06:59.360] - Seth Perler
Like we're making a little resource to share your top three favorite resources. Like I ask every expert, who's your favorite three? So then we are creating this resource, so we have to make the cover and then we put all the links in where Joe says, I love this podcast and this book. We put all the links we didn't even ask you guys the speakers for the links. We found them all. Put them all in so that parents can grab that resource and just click it and see what all those resources are or whatever. Everything is a billion little steps. So that's the most challenging.
[00:07:36.200] - Jill Stowell
It is. And it's such a big event. I mean, three days with so many different speakers, but it's amazing.
[00:07:45.340] - Seth Perler
Yeah. And two bonus days. We're doing Monday and part of Tuesday for bonus days where you can see all 30. Yeah, it's a lot of moving pieces. So when I started it four years ago, like the night before it happened, we were uploading our last speaker. So this year we're more ahead of the curve.
[00:08:04.510] - Seth Perler
And then the most rewarding thing, I would say there are two things that are the most rewarding. One is that I get to have the opportunity to interview all the speakers. So I get to find all these people that I think are awesome in the world and pick their brains. So that is one of the most fun things. It's just getting to know you all the speakers and really dive deep because it's what I nerd out about is how to help kids. So it's like that's fun for me. And then the other thing that is really cool for me is seeing how it's impacting people.
[00:08:45.340] - Seth Perler
So what happens is in the Facebook group or in the emails that we receive or in any of the connection that I have with people when I do. Like a lot of Facebook lives during the weekend, but to see how it impacts people, to see light bulb moments and AHA moments and people just like, wow, this shifted something for me. Wow, this person said something in just the right way that I needed to hear it, that I finally understand this thing about my child and like, I never have. So seeing people have little wins is the other thing.
[00:09:19.660] - Jill Stowell
That is huge. And so often you go to a conference or you hear speakers and it may just be one tiny thing, but it makes a huge shift for you in how things operate in your family or for your child. Yeah, those are great moments.
[00:09:47.430] - Jill Stowell
You have been in this field of executive function and ADHD for a long time and have worked with so many students and families. And I love your passion and your compassion in your approach. So how did all of this come about for you?
[00:10:07.350] - Seth Perler
Yeah, well, thank you for saying that. The passion and the compassion both I think the way that it came about is why I'm passionate and have the compassion. And so that the way that it came about was essentially first I was that kid, I was the kid who struggled and who, basically in kindergarten I was successful. But literally in first grade, all throughout school, but in first grade it started "He's lazy, unmotivated. He's not trying. He needs to work harder, he needs to apply himself. He's got so much potential."
[00:10:41.800] - Seth Perler
These sorts of messages that really don't take into consideration the legitimacy of executive function challenges, they're very shaming and very destructive. I ended up feeling horrible about myself almost failing out of high school, failing out of college, almost failing out of another college, but figuring out that I could drop out before I failed out. So this whole sense that I just couldn't do anything and I wasn't capable and then turning my life around and really figuring out wow, I can do things, I am not like other people, I should not be like other people. And this is what I feel about my students.
[00:11:16.480] - Seth Perler
This is why I'm so passionate. I'm really building kids strengths and helping teach to their strengths and understanding that the system, while there are amazing teachers that are lifesavers in the system, the system itself is archaic and is in dire need of a lot of reform and change and rethinking. Thank goodness for the teachers who really do close the door and do what they need to do in their classroom to really serve all the kids in their classroom.
[00:11:42.230] - Seth Perler
But the reason I'm passionate and compassionate is it matters to me. If I didn't have the people who helped me in my life to turn things around, I don't know where I'd be today. I have a good life today and that's really because I certainly don't have perfect executive function, but it's so much better and I understand what I need in order to execute on the levels needed to have a good life.
[00:12:11.000] - Seth Perler
So I really want for my students to be able to overcome I don't like the word overcome, but for lack of a better word for right now, overcome the challenges that they have. Have what I call good enough executive function to be able to really create a good future for themselves and really do things that build their strengths, build who they are, that capitalize on how awesome and incredible and talented they are in the areas that may not be measured by traditional schooling.And to build that out, to build a fantastic life.
[00:12:39.970] - Seth Perler
So I believe in education, I believe in the power of education to help somebody do that, to be able to build a great future when education is done right, if you will, or in a way that really meets the needs of neurodiverse kids.
[00:12:54.450] - Jill Stowell
Absolutely. Thank you so much for sharing that. I'm sure that really spoke to a tremendous number of parents and students if they're also listening because we feel the same way. I mean, if you find yourself looking at a child of any age and saying they're lazy, they're unmotivated, they're not trying hard enough, they're not working to their potential, well, there's a reason for that and we need to figure that out and support them. And also look at all those other things that are not typically measured or all those other strengths and amazing things about them that they have because the self esteem can take a huge hit day after day if it's not recognized.
[00:13:46.650] - Seth Perler
It doesn't have to be that way, right?
[00:13:48.880] - Jill Stowell
It does not. So what would you really want to say to parents right now? We're heading back into the school year shortly. So is there anything that you think would be really helpful to parents right now as they are getting ready for the new school year?
[00:14:13.710] - Seth Perler
Yeah, one of the things is, I would say probably the most important thing before the school year starts is to really just enjoy your child. Have quality time with them, laugh with them. It's totally okay to argue with them and bicker and have the problems, but make sure to notice everything that's awesome about them. Spend quality time with them, build their strengths, do fun things with them, connect and really just focus on the relationship. Anything and everything you can do to have that quality time in this precious quick summer that's just going to go by in a Blip. You're going to be in the throes of the fall craziness before you know it. So enjoy as much spacious quality time connecting, looking each other in the eye, not with electronics all over the place and really doing just normal things where you can connect. So that's the first thing.
[00:15:16.160] - Seth Perler
The second thing that I would say is look for the opportunities that are called teachable moments. So you want teachable moments in two ways. One, you want teachable moments in ways that can improve for, again, lack of a better word, but academics or where there's like learning going on all over the place.
[00:15:35.010] - Seth Perler
So a lot of what great teachers do is they take normal everyday things and help kids connect the dots about what's going on educationally behind this cool thing in the world or just normal typical things in the world. So find teachable moments to really help them be more inspired to appreciate whatever the things are. And the other thing is the teachable moments with executive function. So like during the summer. If you are going through all the closets and all the clothes. Giveaway clothes the Goodwill and old books and things that your kids are growing out of toys and this. That and the other. As you're doing your spring cleaning during the summer and reorganizing things and helping them set up their study space for this fall. Their backpack and their folders and everything for this fall.
[00:16:26.830] - Seth Perler
Use those teachable moments to build in as much executive function stuff as you can. So really talking through, "What's your strategy? How are you going to organize this? How are you going to plan this? Why are you going to do this? Even in terms of reorganizing your bedroom, your study space, where is the home for this? Where's the home for that? How can we make a cool label for it would be the coolest label ever to organize all of your electronics or all of these things or those things."
[00:16:55.990] - Seth Perler
So those things are reinforcing. How can we make really cool plan? We're going to go on a little trip next week. How can we make a really cool plan? And color code it involve them as much as possible and things that are going to build executive functions. So I would say that too.
[00:17:13.650] - Seth Perler
And then the other thing that I would say is really be really self compassionate and self caring with yourself right now. You're modeling it. And even if you don't think you're modeling it, your nervous system is modeling it. And really do all of the things you need to do to love yourself and care for yourself and be compassionate with yourself and gentle and kind and accepting of yourself. Do as much of that as you can this summer before school starts because it's going to pay big dividends.
[00:17:45.020] - Jill Stowell
[00:17:46.930] - Seth Perler
The other thing I would say is and there's so many things you'll see on the summit, but make a little note to teachers of how awesome your kid is and three things that your kid responds well to from teachers that will help support them.
[00:18:03.860] - Jill Stowell
You know, that is a fantastic idea because I think teachers really want to connect and relate to their kids really well, but they come in and they don't know them and it takes a while to figure it out. So if right off the bat, they know something that your child really responds to or is interested in, it helps them start to make that relationship.
[00:18:31.670] - Jill Stowell
What you were talking about with kind of solving problems, planning things together, the relationship and the laughter and getting their ideas. Our kids have great ideas. We just need to give them opportunity to share them and try them out as opposed to always solving the problem or directing it for them. Do it together and man, it pays huge dividends in all kinds of ways.
[00:19:04.450] - Jill Stowell
One thing that you would want to say to kids as they head back to school, especially if they have traditionally had some struggles or anxiety around school.
[00:19:16.770] - Seth Perler
Yeah. So for parents watching, if you're watching this, you might just show your kid this part of it. They might not be interested in the rest of it. But the thing that I would say to students, whether you're in elementary, middle school, or high school, look, students, you may or may not know who I am, but I am somebody who really struggled in school. Again, the messages for me was I felt like I was lazy, unmotivated, undisciplined, like I was a failure, like I had so much potential and I couldn't meet it and all these things, and it felt really pretty horrible. And what I have to say to you students is that myself and I have so many friends, adult friends nowadays, who we have really made amazing things of our lives. So whatever challenges you may be facing and whatever self talk you may have where you're not being kind yourself in your own mind, really question those thoughts and try to really focus on how absolutely awesome and incredible you are. And I'm not just saying that how awesome and incredible you truly are. Really look at what your strengths are.
[00:20:23.840] - Seth Perler
Now, when I'm working with students, I'm looking at a few things.I'm looking at things called strengths, interests, gifts, talents, things that matter to you, things that are purposeful to you, things you're curious about, things you wonder about. Your future life is going to be built upon, hopefully built upon your strengths, your interests, your passions, your curiosities, the things that matter to you, the things that are purposeful to you. So that's what you want to do is always build those things. Whatever you're good at, whatever you're interested in, build those parts of yourselves.
[00:21:02.190] - Seth Perler
Yes, you're going to have challenges, yes, always. But what's really going to create a great future is just finding how awesome you are and building that. You are incredible. No matter what your mind may say, sometimes you are incredible. Be kind to yourself and never, ever "NEGU": never ever give up. Never give up. It's baby steps.
[00:21:26.830] - Seth Perler
The way that I work with students and the way that I help them completely revolutionize and change everything that's going on in their lives with the challenges that they have is baby steps. Little steps. Always be taking little tiny steps. Just little things. And when we try to do giant things, it gets overwhelming. And we often give up because we're so overwhelmed and it's not good enough for ourselves. It's the baby steps. So that gets us there. It really is.
[00:21:58.990] - Jill Stowell
Thank you so much. That was an incredible message for kids. Thank you.
[00:22:06.310] - Seth Perler
One more thing, students. The world needs you. And I'm not saying that in a cheesy way. Literally true.
[00:22:14.560] - Jill Stowell
[00:22:15.440] - Seth Perler
You are the future. The world needs your specific, unique set of strengths and awesomeness that you bring to the world. Your community needs you. Your family needs you. Your friends need you. Believe it or not, we need you. So you're just awesome. Figure out how awesome you are. If you're not aware of it, which I certainly wasn't. I was only aware of the things I felt like were wrong. Figure out how awesome you are and build that.
[00:22:42.970] - Jill Stowell
And keep saying to yourself, the world needs me. That's awesome. Well, I always enjoy connecting with you. That's awesome, too. Putting together a summit is a lot of work, and I know you put your heart and soul into this and it is such a gift to parents and teachers and students too. That's why I wanted to do this podcast, because I want people to know and take advantage of this.
[00:23:13.300] - Jill Stowell
So we'll put the registration link for TEFOS for this free three day event on the screen and in the show notes. There is also an option to purchase an all access pass. So Seth, can you remind us about the additional benefits if they decide to do that?
[00:23:36.800] - Seth Perler
Yeah, so there's a page that you can look at that as well, and it's really easy to find once you're on the link that Jill has here for you. But basically the benefits of the all access pass is that you get and own and keep the entire summit. So you keep all 30 of the speakers, but we also have the audio, the transcripts, we have the special resources that all the experts put together. We have a bonus for teachers, which is great for parents as well, to watch what the experts say to the teachers. So each expert had a tip for teachers and then each expert had an insight, like kind of what I was just saying to the students. Each expert does one of those where they speak to the students their heartfelt message. Parents love to share these with their kids. And we have a special workbook that guides how you take notes. So I don't even know what else is in there.
[00:24:33.290] - Jill Stowell
That's really amazing.
[00:24:34.770] - Seth Perler
Really just made it so that you could say, wow, this is a no brainer. Absolutely. We love this. This will help our family, and we just try to make it very just really exceptional value.
[00:24:51.350] - Jill Stowell
Fantastic. Well, I really want to encourage all of our listeners or viewers to take advantage of this incredible conference and spread the word about it. I will be talking about three executive function profiles that will help you understand your child's challenges better and then some specific strategies for supporting them. And I personally can't wait to hear all the other speakers at TEFOS this year.
[00:25:22.610] - Jill Stowell
So, Seth, I know things are super busy for you right now with the summit coming up so soon, so thank you again for being here today.
[00:25:32.220] - Seth Perler
Thanks Jill, and thanks everybody who's listening for taking time to invest in yourself.
[00:25:37.500] - Jill Stowell
Absolutely. Stowell Learning Centers are open for onsite and virtual sessions and evaluations. We work with children and adults doing targeted brain training to permanently eliminate struggles associated with dyslexia, learning disabilities, and auditory and attention challenges so that students can become independent learners and thrive in school. If you would like to speak with someone about your child, go to stowellcenter.com. That's stowellcenter.com, and you can register to connect with someone. Thank you for listening. Seth and I will see you at TEFOS, The Executive Function Online Summit, on August 5 through 7th.
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