Educational Therapy: What is it and how does it compare to other services?

By Jess Corinne
October 30, 2021

How Does it Compare to Other Service

As a caregiver, when you become aware that your child struggles inside the classroom it can be stressful and scary.  A teacher or school administrator might even recommend educational therapy. In this article, we will provide an overview of educational therapy and discuss how it can help kids with learning and thinking differences.

What is Educational Therapy?

According to the Association of Educational Therapists (AET), “Educational Therapy offers children and adults with learning disabilities and other learning challenges a wide range of intensive, individualized interventions designed to remediate learning problems. The ultimate goal of educational therapy is to foster development of self-confident, independent individuals who feel positively about themselves and their potential as lifelong learners.” Generally speaking, Educational Therapists combine multisensory, evidence-based methodologies to address both academic and underlying social-emotional challenges in order for learners to see and feel success. 

Who benefits from Educational Therapy?

Learners with and without diagnoses benefit from Educational Therapy, especially those facing obstacles in:

  • stress/anxiety
  • behavior
  • self-advocacy
  • mindset
  • phonemic awareness
  • phonological processing
  • decoding/encoding
  • reading fluency
  • language processing and/or comprehension
  • written expression,
  • critical thinking,
  • executive functioning (i.e. sustained attention, self regulation, working memory, time management, organization and planning)
  • mathematical computation/problem solving 

What types of programs would generally be used in Educational Therapy?

Multisensory, research-oriented programming based on a learner’s holistic needs are utilized in Educational Therapy. Examples include, but are not limited to Orton-Gillingham®, Social Thinking®, Zones of Regulation®, SMARTS-EF®, Growth Mindset®, Lindamood-Bell®, Wilson Reading System®, Step up to Writing®, Handwriting Without Tears®, Making Math Real®, to name just a few!

Is Educational Therapy the same thing as tutoring?

This is a common misconception, tutoring and Educational Therapy differ in many ways. Traditional tutors focus on content and curriculum to support academic performance whereas Educational Therapists target the underlying sensory-cognitive functions that allow learners to strengthen, develop and apply their skills into academics and beyond. Therefore, tutors focus on the what while Educational Therapists focus on the how of learning. Tutors do not need any specific training or credentialing to support learners, whereas Educational Therapists undergo extensive training in a multitude of behavioral, emotional, psychological and educational modalities to support learners from all angles. Additionally, Educational Therapists utilize assessments to ascertain a learner’s present levels, create instructional plans, generate program recommendations, propose accommodations, delineate objectives/goals and gauge progress thereafter. They also serve as a case manager and collaborate with a learner’s team to provide insight into the learner’s profile and to maintain consistency of implementation in and out of their sessions. Tutors can speak with a learner’s ecosystem about their observations, but are unable to evaluate all aspects of a learner’s profile. 

How can you find the right educational therapist for your learner?

Finding an Educational Therapist can be overwhelming for caregivers. There is an undeniable high demand and low supply for highly skilled specialists who have both the certifications and personality to establish a strong rapport and expedite progress. While the disparity between performance and potential widens, learners continue to fall further and further behind, compromising their self-esteem and feelings of self-worth along the way. At Learnfully, we are on a mission to minimize the amount of time learners wait while searching for the best fit Educational Therapist by providing families access to our personalized platform, highly curated specialist network, proactive communication channels and transparent progress monitoring. Starting with an introductory discussion and, if desired, an educational assessment that pinpoints the learner’s strengths and challenges, you’ll quickly get matched to a program and educational therapist that will unlock their potential.

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