Awesome Autoresponse

Finally, someone has perfected the out-of-office email. Yahoo news has been kind enough to publish it in this entertaining article. The article breaks down the cultural nuances of the autoresponse message and analyzes the genius of a man named Josh Kopelman.

I will simply share his message with you so that we can all cut and paste and edit and head to the beach:

I am currently out of the office on vacation.

I know I’m supposed to say that I’ll have limited access to email and won’t be able to respond until I return – but that’s not true. My blackberry will be with me and I can respond if I need to. And I recognize that I’ll probably need to interrupt my vacation from time to time to deal with something urgent.

That said, I promised my wife that I am going to try to disconnect, get away and enjoy our vacation as much as possible. So, I’m going to experiment with something new. I’m going to leave the decision in your hands:

  • If your email truly is urgent and you need a response while I’m on vacation, please resend it to interruptyourvacation@[redacted].com and I’ll try to respond to it promptly.
  • If you think someone else at [the company] might be able to help you, feel free to email my assistant, and she’ll try to point you in the right direction.

Otherwise, I’ll respond when I return…

Warm regards,                                                                                                                Josh

Enjoy the remaining days of summer and, now that you have this helpful template, any future vacations without any interruptions from the workplace.

Lost Albino Llama

On my way to a meeting in Center City today, came across this stapled to a phone poll on Locust Street. As usual, I had many questions. Oddly, though, my first thought upon seeing this was, what makes an albino llama burp?

Transition 101: High School to College – An Overview

Exciting news! On Wednesday July 20, 2011 at 9pm EST, I have been invited to present a webinar for the Attention Deficit Disorder Association (ADDA).

So many elements have changed dramatically in the college application process. Things are very different today than they were just four or five years ago, not to mention back when the parents of today’s college applicants headed off to campus. Often, because the process and the environments have changed, parents are unaware of what can and must be done in order to ensure their child a successful college placement.

Entitled Transition 101: High School to College – An Overview, my workshop will provide an overview to inform parents of what needs to be done – from their child’s freshman year of high school until his or her first day of college. The goal is to provide clarity by breaking the process down into manageable steps that will make life easier for both parents and students.

Check out ADDA’s website for more information and be sure to join me on Wednesday, July 7th for the webinar. It’s never too early to start preparing for college!

2011 NCAA Division III Women’s Lacrosse Champions

Congrats Katie Blumenthal and Gettysburg Lax on winning the 2011 NCAA Division III Women’s Lacrosse Champions! Way to go!

Leahy Learning Coat Drive

A big THANK YOU to everyone who came out to the Bowling Party at Overbrook Golf Club last week! We collected more than enough coats to call the coat drive a success.

For those of you who could not make it and would still like to donate coats, we will be collecting them at the office until this Thursday, February 10. We will be delivering the coats to the Salvation Army in West Philadelphia next week. If anyone would like to help load the cars or transport the coats, let Meghan know. Everyone’s efforts are appreciated in our latest community project!

Homework Hassles

Attention Magazine asked six experts:
If you could advise parents of children with ADHD about the subject of homework, what would you consider the three most helpful pieces of information?

Thrilled to be asked to contribute to CHADD’s Attention Magazine article on homework. Here’s an excerpt of my three most helpful strategies:

by Meghan S. Leahy, MS, NCC

Homework can be very stressful for both adults and students. The best approach is to find a system that works for everyone and make it a habit. Discovering the system that works best can be tricky. It takes experimentation, creativity, and patience. Also, the system needs to be flexible, re-examined, and tweaked over time. For students with ADHD, the key is flexible structure. Adults have to remember that it is their job to implement this structure for students in a positive manner. It is the student’s job to engage in the homework process and complete the work. This is an important relationship. Adults need to find a balance and model productive behaviors while allowing responsibility for quality homework completion to remain with the student. Students are empowered by adults who can honestly and enthusiastically help them discover success in small, continuous steps.

Here are a few helpful tips:

 Image Make a plan. Know what is required; awareness is key. Each night, have the student make a list of all the work that needs to be done, for that night and for the week. Discuss a plan of attack for completion. How will the work be broken down?
 Image Use your words and laugh a lot. Research has proven that positive reinforcement is the most successful way to motivate students with ADHD. Avoid negative language and always ask open-ended questions—remember to wait for a reply. Realistically, not too many students enjoy homework. Don’t judge. Address the fact that it is a reality that must be accepted and talk it through. Some students need to vent. Let them discuss how hard life can be—as long as they are talking while they work.
 Image Redefine “perfect.” There is no such thing as perfect, so help your students to set reasonable goals that will make them (and you) “perfectly” happy. At the end of each marking period, reward progress, examine setbacks and set new goals.
Meghan S. Leahy, MS, NCC, is the director of Leahy Learning and a clinical associate at the Penn Adult ADHD Treatment and Research Program at the University of Pennsylvania.

Leahy Learning College Coaching Program

Students and parents asked for it! Over the last five years, I have met with students and parents who have told me:

“If I knew I had to check in with you, I would have gone to class.”

“Meghan, if she could have called you for help, she would have gotten her assignments in on time.”

“If I had just been able to call you and break the work down into smaller chunks over the semester, I would have done better.”

So…with advances in technology and a summer of planning, I have developed the Leahy Learning College Coaching Program. For many students an hour phone session was too much, but they still needed some support while in college. After much research and discussion with students, parents and other professionals, I believe I have developed a workable program that will help all of our college students find success.

The deal:

  • Two (2) twenty (20) minute sessions per week. These sessions are to be utilized for planning, discussion of study strategies and a general check in regarding progress. They may be either phone or video sessions, per the student’s request.
  • Unlimited* access to Meghan via email and text messages.
  • Monthly parental updates on progress.

* Within reason, of course. If you text me at 4am about a paper due for your 8.30am class, there is not much I can do, except tell you to say your prayers.

As always, regular phone/video tutoring sessions are still available to students who need additional help with writing, editing, organization or counseling.

Please contact Meghan for more details or if you have any questions.
484.222.0272 or

Change of Address

Leahy Learning officially has a new home. (9 East Athens Avenue, Suite 9A Ardmore, PA 19003) After a summer of preparations, we are looking forward to the school year. Thanks everyone for all of your support! Here’s a sneak peak at the new spot. If you are in the area, be sure to pop over and say hello!

Technology Makes Notetaking Easier

Many students at Leahy Learning have trouble with note-taking. But it’s not just a struggle for kids, many adults I work with find it difficult to stay focused, take comprehensive notes and contribute effectively to a meeting, class or presentation. This smartpen is one of the best tools I have seen in a long time. And our students are actually using it and getting excited about it. The Livescribe SmartPen is using technology for good and making a difference. Check it out.

ADHD: What Works For Whom

On Saturday, October 3, 2009 I have been invited to be a part of the “Ask The Expert” Panel, at the Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Conference: What Works for Whom. Sponsored by The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, the conference will begin at 8 am on October 3, 2009 in the Stokes Rotunda, on the 1st floor of the main hospital.

This full-day conference convenes health, mental health and educational professionals, as well as adults with ADHD and parents, to discuss strategies for addressing the challenges of ADHD across systems. The inverventions discussed will include medication, behavioral, educational and alternative approaches. Workshops specifically targeted for the professional community, adults with ADHD, and parents of children with ADHD will be provided. Invited experts and faculty from the Center for Management of ADHD at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and the University of Pennsylvania Adult ADHD Treatment and Research Program will provide presentations and facilitate discussions among participants.

For more information and registration materials, please call  215-590-5263 or go to

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