What is educational therapy anyway?
Updated: Jan 16, 2020
“What is educational therapy?” “Is educational therapy the same as tutoring?”
I get asked these questions often, and while there are some similarities between the two they are in fact quite different. It’s true, both tutors and educational therapists work to help improve student’s academic performance, however, it is the way in which they do so, as well as specific training and expertise, that causes the greatest variation in approaches.
Tutors typically focus on and have extensive knowledge in one or two specific academic areas, while educational therapists have been explicitly taught ways in which to facilitate deeper learning across subjects through academic courses, as well as have had instruction in many of the learning differences that can make academia more difficult, such as language-based learning disabilities, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and executive functioning challenges.
This makes educational therapists uniquely qualified to provide academic remediation to students with these learning profiles, something important to keep in consideration because tutoring has been proven to be ineffective in the treatment of learning disabilities.
The main goal of tutoring is to improve a student’s academic ability and performance in a specific subject area, something that can be accomplished by someone who is very knowledgeable in that particular area.
Educational therapists, however, rely on an underlying basis of educational psychology in order to use each student’s specific strengths to begin to overcome their individualized educational challenges. This is accomplished through teaching life-long strategies that can help the student across multiple environments and subjects, further supported through the implementation and execution of psycho-educational and social emotional goals as related to learning.
Moreover, educational therapists have specific training in the areas of academic assessment, allowing for them to complete educational psychometrics in order to better gain insight into each learner’s individualized learning profile, providing pivotal information necessary to ensure future educational success.
The information gleaned through formal and informal assessment measures allows for more precise remediation of educational skills, by providing a more encompassing view of a child’s strengths and abilities. Having a better understanding of how these many areas are interrelated allows an educational therapist the ability to provide more nuanced intervention, something especially important for those diagnosed with learning differences and disabilities.
While both areas provide invaluable skills for the students they help, it is important to better understand the similarities, and most importantly the differences, between both fields in order to better decipher what will be a better fit for your child’s learning challenges.