While school may be wrapping up, Summer is an ideal time to embark on transition assessment and services to ensure that your child’s IEP process is preparing them for learning, living, and working after their public education. The ultimate goal of transition assessment is to identify the necessary skills and services to ready a student age 13-21 for transitioning from high school to the next phase of life. To book an intake and consultation appointment, visit: www.nesca-newton.com/intake. Not sure if you need an assessment? You can schedule a one-hour parent/caregiver intake and consultation.

Changing Habits to Become a More Effective Student

By Dot Lucci, M.Ed., CAGS
Director of Consultation and Psychoeducational Services, NESCA

In 1989, Stephen Covey wrote “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” and it continues to be a book that is still relevant today, used by many Fortune 500 companies. He was a change-agent, a best-selling author, educator, and business leader, and through his down-to-earth approach, he created a wave of change. He helped people think about “being good” and create habits from the human race’s best instincts. He was named one of the 25 most influential people by TIME magazine in 1996 and authored numerous books that highlight his “inside out” approach to change. He thought who you are and how you view the world is at the core of how you engage with the world. This is such a simple view yet so powerful and one that holds much truth. He thought change started internally and by developing those 7 habits was the way to create a world that functioned better and in more of an us/we mentality versus a me/my mentality. He developed programs, led workshops and inspired change in children and adults. There are curriculums that have been developed for use with children through young adults in schools and colleges. These programs created individual change as well as cultural and system change.

His work has been changing the world one person at a time through his books and his programs for years. He believed that organizational behavior was individualized behavior. His 7 habits of being are about taking responsibility for oneself and through this creating a community of mutual goals, trust and more. In schools, the programs include developing behavioral change through the development of new habits and 5 core paradigms. The five paradigms are:

  1. Everyone can be a leader; NOT Leadership is for the few;
  2. Everyone has genius; NOT A few people are gifted;
  3. Change starts with me; NOT To improve schools the system needs to change first;
  4. Educators empower students to lead their own learning; NOT Educators control and direct student learning; and
  5. Develop the whole person; NOT Focus solely on academic achievement.

These paradigm shifts guide administrators and educators to see and think differently about how they see their role, student potential and the school culture. It allows all students whether they have disabilities or not to be valued, included and take ownership for themselves and each other, and change the culture of the class and school. The 7 habits of highly effective people are:

Social-emotional learning (SEL) is as important as academics, if not more important. Many schools have goals related to SEL, and the vision statements of many districts reflect that. Most vision statements express something like, “We prepare students to be life-long learners who contribute to a global world and demonstrate respect and acceptance for the diversity of our humanity.” How do they bring their vision to life and practice it day in and day out in through their policies, conversations, classrooms and schools? There are many different tools, programs, curriculums and approaches that address SEL and help schools meet their visions and prepare students to be contributing and caring members of society. Stephen Covey’s 7 habits are an example of one of these approaches. Think about how you, as a parent or caregiver, can embrace and reinforce these 7 habits at home as they can help family members thrive individually as well as within the family unit.



Covey, Stephen. R. (2020). The 7 habits of highly effective people; 30th anniversary edition. N.Y., N.Y. Simon & Schuster.

Covey, Stephen. R. (2022). The 7 habits of highly effective families Creating a nurturing family in a turbulent world. N.Y., N.Y. St. Martins Publishing Group.

Covey, Sean (2014). The 7 Habits of highly effective teens. N.Y., N.Y. Simon & Schuster.

Covey, S (2008). The 7 Habits of happy kids. N.Y., N.Y.  Simon & Schuster.


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About the Author

NESCA’s Director of Consultation and Psychoeducational Services Dot Lucci has been active in the fields of education, psychology, research and academia for over 30 years. She is a national consultant and speaker on program design and the inclusion of children and adolescents with special needs, especially those diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Prior to joining NESCA, Ms. Lucci was the Principal of the Partners Program/EDCO Collaborative and previously the Program Director and Director of Consultation at MGH/Aspire for 13 years, where she built child, teen and young adult programs and established the 3-Ss (self-awareness, social competency and stress management) as the programming backbone. She also served as director of the Autism Support Center. Ms. Lucci was previously an elementary classroom teacher, special educator, researcher, school psychologist, college professor and director of public schools, a private special education school and an education collaborative.

Ms. Lucci directs NESCA’s consultation services to public and private schools, colleges and universities, businesses and community agencies. She also provides psychoeducational counseling directly to students and parents. Ms. Lucci’s clinical interests include mind-body practices, positive psychology, and the use of technology and biofeedback devices in the instruction of social and emotional learning, especially as they apply to neurodiverse individuals.


To book a consultation with Ms. Lucci or one of our many expert neuropsychologists, complete NESCA’s online intake form. Indicate whether you are seeking an “evaluation” or “consultation” and your preferred clinician/consultant in the referral line.


Neuropsychology & Education Services for Children & Adolescents (NESCA) is a pediatric neuropsychology practice and integrative treatment center with offices in Newton, Massachusetts, Plainville, Massachusetts, and Londonderry, New Hampshire, serving clients from preschool through young adulthood and their families. For more information, please email info@nesca-newton.com or call 617-658-9800.