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Educational Therapy and Tutoring: Same, Similar or Different?

Oftentimes, parents of students ask: What is the difference between educational therapy and tutoring? At times, there can be overlap between both of these academic interventions. The most significant difference between tutors and educational therapists lies in the training, experience, approaches and goals of each respective professional.

Tutoring focuses on improving a student’s grades in a variety of subjects including math, science, history, foreign language or any other subject where the student requires re-teaching or reinforcement of subject-specific material. It is up to the individual tutor, depending on his or her training and expertise, to implement the techniques and methods introduced to the student.

Traditional teaching strategies are, for the most part, utilized to help students succeed. An essential goal of the tutor is to assist with homework completion and test preparation. Many teachers also work with students in a tutorial capacity. Skills and expertise between tutors can vary greatly depending on many variables. For some students, working with a tutor is the perfect level of required intervention. Tutors can be extremely effective in providing indicated academic support to students of all ages in specific subject areas. This is known as “subject-specific tutoring”.

In contrast, the field of educational therapy reaches far beyond the goals of improving grades and completing homework. First, and most importantly, educational therapists have specific training and experience with learning disabilities, specific neurological-based learning syndromes, as well as training in the emotional and psychosocial effects that negatively impede the learning process. In addition, Educational Therapy includes formal and informal assessment, ongoing communication with teachers, therapists and other involved professionals, as well as the implementation of specific and alternative-learning strategies based on the individual student’s learning profile.

An educational therapist designs a specific and goal-directed action plan and applies academic strategies and learning tools, which improve the student’s performance in all subjects across the curriculum. The focus is based on building compensatory skills, working within the framework of the student’s strengths and weaknesses. The Educational Therapist functions as a life coach, fostering self-advocacy, problem solving and self-empowerment skills. The teaching of time management and organizational skills are the building blocks for success.

If you are uncertain about which professional is best suited for your child’s needs, please call me and I will assist you in making the determination best suited for your child’s optimum academic and emotional success.

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