May 2021 SEPAC Meeting

Executive Function:
Supporting our Students’ Skill Building from Childhood Through Adolescence
Presented by Sophie Bellenis, OTD, OTR/L
Friday, May 14th at 10:00 a.m.
Please email for Zoom info.

In this presentation, Dr. Sophie Bellenis will explain executive function as it relates to success with both academics and life skills. By examining executive function through a developmental lens, she will review tips and strategies to help children and adolescents build up skills in the home. Additionally, she will review some of the executive function demands that present during transitional periods of childhood. Finally, Dr. Bellenis will discuss executive function skills that should be targeted before leaving secondary education to help students be successful with their post-secondary plans.


Dr. Sophie Bellenis is a licensed and registered Occupational Therapist in Massachusetts, specializing in educational occupational therapy and functional life skills development. For the past eight years, her work has primarily been split between children and adolescents on the Autism Spectrum in the United States and marginalized children in Tanzania, East Africa.

Dr. Bellenis graduated from the MGH Institute of Health Professions with a Doctorate in Occupational Therapy, with a focus on pediatrics and international program evaluation. She is a member of the American Occupational Therapy Association, as well as the World Federation of Occupational Therapists.

Dr. Bellenis has worked for the Northshore Education Consortium and the Salem Public Schools providing occupational therapy services across vastly different educational settings. She also has experience working at the Northeast ARC Spotlight Program using a drama-based method to teach social skills to children, adolescents and young adults with autism, Asperger’s Syndrome and related social cognitive challenges.

Internationally, Dr. Bellenis has done extensive work in Tanzania collaborating with fabulous Tanzanian professionals from a few different non-profit organizations. She has spent significant time working with the Tanzanian Children’s Fund, Asali Project and How to Draw a Lion providing educational enrichment and support. She has also spent time working with The Plaster House, a post-surgical, pediatric rehabilitation center, in Ngaramtoni, Tanzania.

Dr. Bellenis currently works as part of NESCA’s transition team and offers educational occupational therapy assessment, consultation and virtual coaching. Additionally, she is the program manager for NESCA’s Real-life Skills Program, providing community- and home-based coaching for functional skill development. She believes that individual sensory needs and visual skills must be taken into account to create comprehensive educational programming.

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