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What is Educational Therapy?

Educational therapy is a supplementary program designed to help students with learning difficulties who have experienced frustration and/or failure in school.  The program was developed by the National Institute for Learning Development (NILD) in Norfolk, VA and uses intervention techniques in two 80 minute, one-on-one, educational sessions per week.  The focus of the intense, individual therapy sessions is on continual stimulation and development of the deficit areas of perception, basic skills, and critical thinking skills.  


 Distinctives of NILD Educational Therapy® intervention include:


 1.  An approach that is individualized, allowing a specially trained therapist to design an educational program specifically aimed to stimulate areas of deficit.


  2.  Educational therapy is non-tutorial in nature.  The goal is not to simply pass the next test or complete an assignment that is due.  The goal of educational therapy is to teach the student how to learn through process stimulation.  A step-by-step approach is used to develop basic skills and strategies for problem solving.  This is to allow the student to become an independent and successful learner in the classroom and in real life situations. The intention of educational therapy is to develop skills for lifetime learning.


       If you have tried Sylvan, Huntington, or other tutoring centers with little or no results, you have come to the right place.  Educational Therapy is a completely different approach- no comparison.


3.  As educational therapy implies, there is an association with the medical model.  Following this model, through continual stimulation, weak cognitive areas are strengthened and the results can be normal or near normal functioning.  This “stimulation” is accomplished through twice a week, 80 minute, interactive therapy sessions.  This precise process, rather than teaching compensatory techniques for weak areas, provides intense stimulation and development of deficit areas.  It is possible, in many cases, to overcome the learning difficulties rather than simply learning to “cope” with the difficulties.  


4.  Educational therapy techniques are designed to emphasize various learning strategies.  Throughout each work segment there is an emphasis on the integration of techniques designed to teach the student to perceive information correctly and cognitively connect it to previously learned material, structure and organize the information into a logical pattern, and then articulate the information clearly and correctly to the therapist.  There is a focus on the underlying skills of perception, thinking, and verbal expression that will help the student to be successful in the classroom.  The actual content of the session becomes secondary.  In other words, the process of thinking is very important, and therefore, thinking skills will be learned and developed during educational therapy sessions.


 5.   Most students develop a positive self-image rather quickly after beginning educational therapy because it provides a trusting, safe learning environment where the student learns through experience that he/she is capable of learning, even in the areas that are difficult.  Students are also given an explanation to understand why some areas of learning are difficult for them, and what they need to do to succeed.


6.  Educational therapy is effective for students age 7 through adult.  There are often positive changes on the retesting of intelligence after educational therapy intervention.  Significant changes are often reported by parents and teachers in social maturity, grades, self-image, and ease of managing class work and assignments.  


While journeying to independence, students’ abilities to learn become stronger because they are better able to:

  • pay attention and stay focused on the teacher’s voice
  • accurately hear and remember what the teacher is saying
  • read visual information on the board, transparencies, or computer
  • identify and comprehend the main points of what is being taught and accurately determine the significant information to record
  • remember how to spell words needing to be written
  • Write legibly
  • Complete homework accurately and independently

Educational specialists  foster students’ journeys to independent thinking and learning by individualizing intervention:

  • focusing specifically on students’ areas of difficulty and dealing with
    challenges as they arise during the actual learning process
  • maintaining the intensity of focus needed to help the student work
    through difficulties
  • developing the trust needed to free the student to accept and work
    on difficult areas

Parents assist their child’s journey to independent thinking and learning by:

  • providing structure and accountability
  • supervising homework
  • maintaining regular contact with the educational specialist to increase
    understanding of the learning process and collaborate in providing
    an effective program for their child