Is your child struggling in school? Are you considering outside help, but you just don’t know where to start? Finding the right individual to work with your child is often a difficult task. What’s more, it’s challenging to determine the type of professional that is required. To help you with the process, here is a breakdown of the responsibilities and expertise you should expect from these three professions.
A tutor is a private instructor that has an expertise in a specific school subject. They teach or re-teach classroom concepts, and they may or may not have formal experience or training in education. Many offer assistance with homework, and some can offer advice with time management or study skills.
A learning specialist is a private instructor for students, parents, and teachers. They focus on metacognitive as well as compensatory learning strategies. Many also offer instruction, training and remediation in specific academic areas such as reading, writing or math. A learning specialist should have advanced training and degrees in education and significant coursework, if not degrees in special education, psychology, school psychology, educational psychology, and neuropsychology. Specific understanding of learning disorders, psycho-educational evaluations, and intervention strategies is paramount. An expertise in multisensory learning, alternative learning and teaching strategies, self advocacy techniques, and schooling accommodations is a must too. In addition, they should be versed in assistive technology, software tools, educational websites and apps.
An educational therapist is a private instructor for students and other individuals that wish to improve their mental functioning. They too offer metacognitive and compensatory learning strategies but also include cognitive remedial training. This involves strengthening specific areas of cognition that are weak, such as auditory discrimination or visual memory. Moreover, the educational therapist should be versed in strategies that address social and emotional aspects that impact learning. Many also have an expertise in working with students who struggle with executive functioning as well as attentional difficulties. Like the learning specialist, educational therapists have degrees in education and significant coursework, if not a degree, in special education, psychology, school psychology, educational psychology, and neuropsychology. Specific training in learning disorders, psycho-educational evaluations, and interventions strategies is vital.
What's most important is that you speak with each professional to learn more about their approach and educational training. If you have any questions, I would love to hear your thoughts!
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Cheers, Dr. Erica Warren
Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator, and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning. She is also the director of Learning to Learn and Learning Specialist Courses.
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