Frequently Asked Questions
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Is educational therapy the same as tutoring?
Educational Therapy is not the same as tutoring. Traditionally, tutors focus on teaching a specific subject matter, while educational therapists focus more broadly. We collaborate with the significant professionals concerned with our clients’ learning. We focus not only on remediation, but also on building the underlying learning skills to help build self-awareness, efficiency, and resilience.
For some students, Executive Function coaching will be the key to success, and for others it may be remediation of their dyslexia or other specific language disability.
In tutoring, the curriculum is the subject matter; in educational therapy, the curriculum is the client.
My son is already in college. Is it too late to help?
A considerable proportion of our clients are adults, and the eagerness with which they approach professional and educational difficulties can be as impressive as it is inspiring. When adversity hits, many can finally push through the shame that has prevented them from seeking help. As fewer and fewer college students complete their degrees in four years, executive functioning support and educational therapy can play instrumental roles in overcoming learning and production struggles.
I know my child is smart. How can he have a learning disability?
Learning disabilities generally exist independent from intelligence. Many of our greatest thinkers, artists, entrepreneurs, academics, and sharpest cultural minds have coexisting learning disabilities. In fact, their process of recognizing their learning strengths and struggles often propels them into excellence in their areas of interest and expertise. The frustration of parents not seeing their child’s natural intelligence manifest on traditional classroom tests can help fuel a transformation through demystification (learning about one’s own learning) and using strengths to compensate for weaknesses.
We understand these inconsistencies in learning, and we help our clients manifest their intelligence.
How serious is this? Maybe she will outgrow it? Should we wait?
The seriousness of a learning disability can vary. Some learning disabilities appear very serious but will only need very simple remediation strategies. Other disabilities may appear very mild but their treatment may be more involved.
While a learning disability is generally not outgrown, many students with learning disabilities do evolve effective “workarounds” that allow them to excel academically and professionally. In general, the earlier that processing difficulties are identified, the more directly they can be addressed at their root before taking a toll on self-confidence, social stigma, or secondary psychological struggles.
The research is unequivocal – early intervention for learning disabilities maximizes academic and social success.
We’ve already had tutoring and we don’t see much progress. How will your clinic make a difference?
Many practitioners in the field utilize their favorite techniques rather than customizing support and strategies for the specific learner in front of them. At the North Shore Learning Clinic, we maximize educational benefit by using diagnostic evaluations to pinpoint specific strengths and struggles and collaborate to glean the benefit of multiple top practitioners in their fields.
My daughter hates tests, and we fight all the time to get her to study. I wish I could just be her dad.
This is a common complaint that we hear. Our first priority to is find out about your daughter’s obstacles to studying. We’ll talk with you and your child, and then we’ll discuss with you whether or not we recommend a formal evaluation. Parents report that while they are delighted to step out of the power struggle of forcing their children to study, they are even more pleased with the long term results of Educational Therapy.
We will help your child develop effective, healthy, and independent study habits through their work with us. Above all, we tailor the Educational Therapy to your child’s learning style and learning needs – no two treatment plans are exactly alike.
Being a mom is already a full-time job - how am I supposed to learn about my son's dyslexia on top of everything else?
You can’t do it all! Of course, to be sure your child is getting all the support they need, you must be well informed about your child’s educational environment as well as their specific learning disability. But it’s unrealistic for every parent to fully educate themselves like a professional from the ground up.
We will work with you to answer any questions you have and help you guide your child and their educators. If you are ready to learn even more, we’ll make sure you get resources that are specific to what you need to know. There’s lots of information out there, and while you will inevitably learn deeply in your child’s area of need, you DON’T need to learn broadly about every kind of learning disability.
Most of all, we’ll help you learn about the interventions and accommodations that are right for your child so you can feel informed when it comes to advocating for your child. Your skilled advocacy is extremely important in obtaining all the support your child needs. We can help you help.
We haven’t done testing yet, but I suspect a problem. Is it too early to help my young child?
Our evaluations utilize standardized instruments that are calibrated for children aged four and up. Because of our long standing and broad experience, we are often able to perform screening exams for younger children which may indicate the need to conduct more extensive comprehensive evaluations.
Consistent findings across the literature point to the efficacy of early intervention.
The teachers say there’s a problem, but they don’t seem to understand how bright my child is.
Teachers have a valuable perception of your child, but it will of course never include aspects that parents alone can see. You have been watching your child grow, and you alone know how far they have come from year to year, and what makes them unique. In our clinic, your child’s particular talents and skills will be honored while we evaluate them for additional challenges.
Can you help if there’s no disability? I think my child is just not motivated or bored.
Our psychoeducational and neuropsychological testing can help distinguish between a child who has an undiagnosed learning disability, or an unidentified area of giftedness, and one whose school-based difficulties have other roots. Research has shown unequivocally that early and effective intervention is key to providing a learning-disabled student with the tools for educational success.
For this reason, we strongly encourage any parent with a “lazy”, “bored”, or distracted child to seek a thorough evaluation. Failure to identify a true need can burden a child with years of needless frustration and hinder their access to opportunities.
That being said, many of the strategies we utilize in coaching are based on “best practices” and help learners regardless of their diagnosis. Our clinicians often utilize a technique called Diagnostic Teaching, in which they adjust their instruction based on how the client responds to specific strategies.
Isn’t standardized test success just about how much you study?
Unfortunately, no. For many learners, the way they learn – their learning profile – is not compatible with cookie-cutter approaches to standardized test preparation. Our ACT/SAT/GRE Test preparation services are individualized, often making gains when more traditional approaches have not. Our approach is to help the student match their learning style with their study needs, and to teach them approaches for demonstrating their knowledge in the required format. Overall, the standardized test preparation programs we utilize teach skills that can be utilized not just on the specific test but also on high school, college, and graduate school content.
What’s a learning disability vs. a learning difference?
Many people use the terms interchangeably. When it comes to a student getting help through an IEP or a 504 plan, those services are, by legal definition, only available to people with learning disabilities. It is important to use that term where appropriate and where insurance coverage or access to services may be affected.
Students may resonate more with one term than with another and their evolving self-identity is an important part of addressing learning issues – in this we follow their lead as individuals.
When should I push the school to do more, and when is it really just up to me or my child?
As professionals in education, we have the experience and knowledge base to know how hard to push. We have cooperative relationships with many schools on the North Shore, and we can distinguish between the situations that call for more from the school vs. more from the family or child. Once that has been clarified, we’re also available to help implement the additional help that is needed. We can liaise with your child’s school directly, or guide you in effective engagement that you can do yourself. Ultimately, these are the same decisions your child will face on their own in college or even in the workplace.
There are so many approaches to addressing dyslexia - how do I know which one to choose for my child?
There are a lot of therapies for learning differences, all with various levels of efficacy and research behind them. Many families come to us after experiencing frustration and minimal progress using a program that is not a good fit for their child. Using the best approach to support your child’s needs is extremely important. A detailed understanding of your child’s challenges is crucial for choosing the best treatment program.
That’s where professional evaluations come in. Once we have that detailed understanding, we at the North Shore Learning Clinic can give you the research-based rationale for using the specific approaches that are truly based on your child.
We homeschool, so we ARE the IEP! What can we do?
Homeschooling parents do a tremendous amount of work, and when it comes to homeschooling children with learning disabilites, that amount of work can be exponentially greater. With a professional evaluation comes the potential for a diagnosis that may open doors to supplemental help for homeschooling families (eg. occupational therapy, speech/language therapy.)
Homeschooled children with learning disabilities often have the advantage of having experienced less frustration in a classroom setting with typical learners. To maximize this benefit, they should receive instruction that is tailored to their needs. We will help you distinguish which approach is best, and where possible, we’ll help you – the parent/ teacher – develop your own skills to better instruct your child.
A moment’s insight is sometimes worth a life’s experience.
Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-1894)