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What is Educational Therapy?

Could your child benefit from ed. therapy, and what are the qualifications to look for in an ed. therapist?

As part of our community, you've got a glimpse of the work our team of educational experts does to help our neurodivergent learners thrive in school and beyond–it’s what we are passionate about! While almost everyone knows what a tutor is, many don't fully understand what educational therapists offer students.

"An educational therapist is a professional trained to understand an individual child's learning challenges, and the patterns and behaviors they have developed to work around, or mask, their deficits." Read more about educational therapy at Child Mind Institute.

Simply put, educational therapists work directly with complex kids to help them improve their academic performance and develop skills for success in school AND life!

Who benefits from educational therapy?

Students who

  • Have a dwindled curiosity and love of learning–a drastic change in their aptitude for learning and competency

  • Avoid schoolwork, specific subjects, and homework

  • Have low confidence in skills

  • Are emotionally dysregulated–low-stress tolerance, feel fatigued, or have extreme overwhelm

  • Have difficulty retaining information presented or keeping up with the pace of the class

Also, students can benefit significantly from ed. therapy if they need support in identifying what help they need to be successful, or how to use the resources available to them. Many times students can’t identify or verbalize what help they need from the support around them, which can be frustrating for students and parents alike!

In various subjects, this can look like

  • Math: Students who have math anxiety, have poor overall math literacy, struggle to make sense of operations, word problems, and part-whole thinking (memorize sequences and rules and then forget them)

  • Writing: Students who struggle to express themselves, answer open-ended questions, or have a lot of great ideas but can't seem to organize them or stay on topic

  • Reading: Students can't recall what they've just read

As educational therapists, it's our job to teach students how they learn best. This means reteaching a concept and content in a way that makes sense to the learner, using a variety of evidence-based strategies to activate their brain and engage them in their learning. Learning should be fun!

Educational therapists

  • Use specialized instruction, customized and tailored to the unique needs of each student.

  • View the learner as a whole to guide our sessions! We look at their strengths, social-emotional needs, environment, interests, and the emotional and cognitive factors impacting their learning.

  • Collaborate with a team of supporters–teachers, parents, therapists, neuropsychologists, etc.

  • Use assessments, reports, feedback, and progress monitoring to understand the student's skills and needs.

  • Empower the student to advocate for themselves, re-engage their curiosity in learning, recognize what works for them, and learn to reframe their mindset on mistakes and challenges.

  • Don't teach for a test or grade! We teach them to become lifelong learners and instill skills they can use with any subject and beyond (i.e., problem-solving, advocating, taking a bird's-eye view of situations, etc.)

It's important to note that not all educational therapists have the same qualifications. Qualified ed. therapists have a certification in educational therapy and often have a master's degree in special education, education, or a specialization in a learning difference. Qualified ed. therapists are usually members of the Association of Educational Therapy and typically specialize in specific support services.

At WeThrive, we specialize in

  • Dyscalculia

  • Language processing

  • ADHD

  • “Resistant” or “Unmotivated” students

  • Parent support

Maybe you've read the above lists and think your child could benefit from more than just help in passing Advanced Algebra. Perhaps you've got a middle schooler who you can't get to write anything and it's leaving you and your child frustrated and feeling like throwing in the towel. We'd love to chat with you! If you have more questions about how educational therapy could benefit your child, we invite you to schedule a free consultation so we can discuss ways that we can support you and your family from the comfort of your own home. We help all of our students go from struggle to success in school and in life!

Be sure to check back soon as we discuss ADHD Coaching and what it looks like for our students!

Written by Jenny Drennan (M. Ed., ET/P) and Geneva Walsh (M. Ed.)


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