This is a guest post by Asha Jaleel, Lexercise Teletherapy Partner
Note: this blog article is the first in a series about educational therapy and educational therapists and their role in helping struggling learners achieve academic success.
Do these statements describe your child?
- says he/she is not smart
- has low self-confidence about school work
- is discouraged about his/her academic progress
- hates school and/or resists going to school
- is unusually tired after school
- requires much longer than peers to complete homework and school work
- continues to struggle despite special help and tutoring
If this sound familiar your child might benefit from working with an educational therapist.
Educational therapy is dramatically different from traditional tutoring
- Tutors typically use the same or very similar education methods as are used in classroom learning. In contrast, educational therapists use methods that are individualized and unique to the specific learner.
- Tutors typically focus on current classwork, homework, and tests while educational therapists address the causes of academic struggles.
- Tutors typically re-teach or review material that has been taught in the classroom whereas educational therapists focus on teaching clear and efficient ways of thinking and remembering that enable efficient learning for all academic subjects (e.g., reading, writing, mathematics).
- One educational therapist suggested an analogy to a struggling swimmer: Educational therapy teaches a person to swim while tutoring just works on keeping them afloat.
Educational therapists are trained to work with issues like:
- dyslexia and other reading disorders
- dysgraphia and other writing disorders
- dyscalculia and other math disorders
- attention-deficit /hyperactivity disorders (ADHD)
- working memory problems
- auditory and visual processing problems
- executive functioning (e.g., organization and time management) problems
Educational therapists use the power of a personal relationship to encourage student motivation and to set up a relaxing, safe, and rewarding learning atmosphere.
Katrina de Hirsch, an early education therapy pioneer, said that the aim of educational therapy is to develop a “treatment alliance” with the student, fostering the student’s understanding of their learning patterns and teaching them how to manage them.
The next articles in this series will present some examples of how educational therapy has helped children and review some recent research on the effectiveness of educational therapy for specific types of difficulties.
- Association Educational Therapists Organization (2013). www.aetonline.org
- de Hirsch, K. (1973). Early language development and minimal brain dysfunction. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, Vol. 205, 158–163.
- NILD About Educational Therapy