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Empowering You to Reach Your Full Potential

Ask Elizabeth – Punctuality

Dear Elizabeth,

When I was a kid, I was always the last one to get picked up from everything. My parents were always running late, and I swore that I’d do a better job when I was on my own. So…maybe it’s genetics? I’m late a lot, and it really bugs me. What can I do?



Dear Late-a-lot,

Everyone is late sometimes, and it’s understandable when something unavoidable rears its ugly head to delay us.  Chronic lateness, as your story points out, isn’t just a problem for the tardy party, but also for those left waiting. You could just move someplace like Spain, where start and end times are hardly more than suggestions. Before we get too drastic, however, let’s see how else we might nip this issue in the bud.

You could:

  • Set your clocks and watches 5 – 10 minutes fast. Even though you’ll know they’re ahead, you might feel just the right amount of extra pressure.
  • Give yourself ample time for transit. How many mornings is traffic especially bad, or the train held in the station just when every minute counts? Check travel times online before you go (try Google Maps, HopStop, or the local transit authority), and take note of exactly how long it takes to get to your favorite spots so you can plan better in the future.
  • Trim lagtime when ending an activity. If you give yourself a half hour to travel to your next commitment, but spend a third of that time chatting with someone in the hall, you’re probably going to be late. Take note of whether cutting back on socializing might give you the extra time you need.

A friend of mine who stage manages in a New York City theatre reminds his actors on day one: “If you’re on time, you’re late.” A true professional, at least according to my friend, is always there early so that the second rehearsal begins, he or she is ready to go. Try changing your habit up by making a conscious effort to be early to each engagement for a few days. Even if you find that to be an unrealistic lifestyle, you might learn a few tricks that can be incorporated into your daily life.

Let me know how it goes, and if anyone else has suggestions, please submit them in the comments form below.

Wishing you success in all you do,




Ask Elizabeth: Learning Disabilities

Q: How do you convince a teacher that providing the child with reasonable accommodations is not giving the student an advantage, but merely leveling the playing field?

A: This question is one of my favorites to answer. If I were to run across a teacher—general education or otherwise—who believed that providing a child with an IEP (Individualized Education Program) or Section 504 Plan (designed to eliminate discrimination on the basis of disability in any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance) is an advantage, I would ask that teacher the following question: “Do you think that a child wearing glasses or hearing aids; having cochlear implants, a cane, wheelchair or walker; or being assisted by a guide dog, has been given an advantage against a healthy, neuro-typical child?” The answer would be, “Of course not.” I would then go on to add, “Then why do you feel that a child with a learning disability, and in need of accommodations that are allowed and required under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and The Americans with Disabilities Act, is being given an advantage?

Educators need to understand that accommodations such as extended time on tests, quizzes, and assignments, simply act to aid in allowing a child to receive a meaningful education, and to reach his/her potential, just as we want all children to do. Sometimes, it is as simple as pointing out the eye-glasses on the face of the teacher questioning accommodations that have either been requested, or are already in an Individualized Education Program or Section 504 Plan.

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