What is an Educational Therapist?


What is an Educational Therapist?

Educational Therapy is a one-on-one, individualized program of instruction designed to address specific processing disorders interfering with learning.  An educational therapist is concerned with the entire process of learning, not just a specific subject or skill.  The goal of the educational therapist is to attempt to discover how a client learns, the processes interfering with learning, the optimal modality needed to help the client learn better, and the client’s learning strengths.  Educational Therapy demystifies learning problems and helps to increase the clients’ awareness of their strengths.  Educational Therapy helps clients use their strengths to overcome or compensate for areas of weakness.
Educational therapy is often confused with tutoring, but it is very different.  A tutor is a person concerned with teaching and/or remediating a specific academic subject or skill.  The job of a tutor is to assist a student to master specific skills related to specific subjects or to increase the understanding of a subject so the student can improve his or her grade in that subject.  A tutor can be trained to deliver instruction in a very limited subject or skill area to help a struggling student, or can be knowledgeable in a wide range of academic subjects. 
An educational therapist is a highly trained, professional individual, with at least a Master’s Degree, or the equivalent in post B.A. work.  Through careful listening, observation, and interaction, the educational therapist seeks to discover patterns, habits and thinking processes that may beinterfering with learning and/or optimal achievement.  The educational therapist then assists the client to fill in gaps in instruction, discover learning strengths, introduce new learning habits and behaviors, and develop strategies to cope with learning difficulties.
The educational therapist provides specific remedial instruction, as needed, such as phonemic awareness, reading fluency/comprehension, spelling, written expression, basic math skills, etc.  However, the goal of the educational therapist is to not only provide over-all remedial instruction, but to also assist the client to identify his or her strengths and by using those strengths, develop strategies for coping with learning difficulties, learning differences, and/or processing disorders that are interfering with his or her learning or achievement.