Enjoy today’s guest post by one of our therapists, Naomi Cunningham.
I learned about NILD Educational Therapy when I was in a brain development class, while doing my Honours Bachelor of Child Development. As I listened, a light switched on for me, Educational Therapy made total sense! Based on research in brain plasticity, I was passionate about making a difference in students’ lives and I saw that NILD Educational Therapy was a great solution!
I have worked with children with learning difficulties for 22 years, accommodating and modifying classroom conditions to help them get through their day.
I started my Level 1 NILD Educational Therapy training and was so impressed. I quickly realized that I would move forward with all three Levels of training in order to meet the needs of my developing students. Each level brought new inspiration and challenges including reading and interpreting psycho-educational assessments, learning the cognitive functions, and understanding the concept of Mediated Learning. We were taught the specific therapy techniques that focused on our students’ weak processing areas, in order to help them succeed.
Now, as a Professionally Certified Educational Therapist, I’m very aware that my education didn’t stop with my training; it continues each day through each one of my students. They are all unique with different needs, challenges and personalities. They push me to try new ideas, to help them ’see’ concepts that many children take for granted. My role in therapy is to mediate their thinking, knowing when to push and when to pull back. All the while, I am cheering them on to achieve their goals by developing their confidence and competence.
Our students bring their strengths and weaknesses to each session and navigating that has taught me to strive for excellence. This requires thorough preparation on my part, expecting curveballs, and challenging me to be flexible in my thinking and accept tough sessions along with uplifting ones.
Changing the brain takes time. We must be vigilant, always looking for and noting each success, celebrating them one step at a time. Some days we see significant breakthroughs, and the reward for the work we do becomes evident. This is what motivates us to go on.
Changing one student, one session at a time is my motto as an Educational Therapist – not just for today but for a lifetime of independent learning.
Without therapists, our students would be a statistic, but through educational therapists, they become an exception.
Naomi Cunningham worked in the UK school system with children with Special Needs for 18 years before coming to Canada in 2012. Since then she has completed an Honours Bachelor of Child Development, and NILD Educational Therapist training Level 1-3. She is now a Professionally Certified Educational Therapist and is accredited by the International Dyslexia Association as a Certified Dyslexia Therapist. She opened REACH Learning Centre in Stouffville, ON in 2016 and is working one-on-one to help children REACH their potential.