What is Educational Therapy?
Educational therapists are trained professionals who work with children specifically in the area of academic performance. They combine educational and therapeutic approaches for evaluation, remediation, case management, and communication/advocacy on behalf of children, adolescents and adults with learning disabilities or learning problems. Please visit the Association of Educational Therapists for more information.
Many educational therapists have a background in a related field, including general education, special education, child development, speech and language, or psychology and counseling. Because they have also had classroom experience, they are uniquely qualified to help you navigate your child’s school and classroom environment.
Common Learning Difficulties
Common learning difficulties, experienced by 10 to 15 percent of the population, include:
- Dyslexia, other reading and writing difficulties
- Non-verbal Learning Disorder
- Math disabilities
- ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder)
- ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)
- Executive Skills Deficits, e.g., poor organization and study skills
- Poor Motivation
- Low Academic Self-Esteem
- School and Test Anxiety
- Poor Social Skills
- School Placement and Retention
- Asperger’s Syndrome, Fragile X, Tourette Syndrome, etc.
Educational Therapy vs. Tutoring
As opposed to tutors, who can typically demonstrate subject matter expertise, Educational Therapists are required to obtain a Master’s Degree and have teaching experience before they can be certified in the field of Educational Therapy. They look at underlying causes for learning difficulties, including cognitive, behavioral and temperamental differences. They examine the context of the child’s environments and help identify ways to improve communication and understanding for all parties concerned. An educational therapist is a case manager. A tutor, on the other hand, is someone who is knowledgeable about a specific subject matter. He or she is responsible for increasing the amount of information the client knows about that subject. Tutors are not expected to look beyond the scope of the particular subject matter into deeper learning structures, or learning obstructions.
Is There A Cure?
Many learning difficulties, disabilities, and related challenges can be mitigated, remediated, and improved with instruction and practice, but most cannot be “cured.” Education therapy is particularly helpful in developing the skills and reinforcing successful strategies to address negative feelings and behaviors and to achieve productive educational outcomes: greater motivation, improved grades, a better attitude toward school, and a more positive self-image. Improving attitudes can improve outcomes.