Once that first step is taken by parents to have their child tested because he or she is struggling with learning it’s time to take action. What is the next step? Parents are encouraged to have their child’s vision and hearing tested, to rule out any other factors affecting the learning. At this point, psycho-educational testing is recommended, if the child is in grade three or above. Teachers use the results of this to plan their program and accommodate the child’s learning. At this point, an educational therapist is able, through direct intervention, to unlock the potential of the child and through individualized therapy make changes to their lives.
Freda comes to the therapy station with a feeling of regret, but also a feeling of relief. No longer does she have to try to hide the fact that reading is difficult for her, and writing is even harder. The words on the page seem to float around in front of her when she tries to tackle reading. Freda struggles with the rhythmic writing and memory exercises, and her head aches by the time the 80 minutes are finished. She fights the homework, and her mother is almost ready to give up, but she sees a small change happening. Is there now a small window of hope? Freda is going to school with more confidence than she has, and she doesn’t mind leaving class any more. Working in the one on one therapy station is a time where she can show her progress, and her therapist is very encouraging. Slowly some words are starting to make sense, and writing a simple sentence gives her a feeling of mastery. Her therapist doesn’t give her the answers, but encourages her to THINK!
Working as a therapist, I have seen lives change! Frustration is very common among students with learning disabilities, but educational therapy empowers the student to feel much more positive. Freda still struggles, but she has accepted that she learns differently, and feels increased confidence. Now she walks down the hall with her head up, and greets her classmates with a cheery hello, rather than huddling in the corner as she used to do.
Thomas greets everyone with a cheery hello in the morning, and even though he often forgets to bring his homework to the therapy station, he smiles his way through every session. His memory and reading is improving, and he’s proud of the gains he has made, as are his parents. After two and a half years in therapy, he is finally beginning to take ownership of his learning. He is beginning to be excited about learning, and is developing excellent independent learning skills! We celebrate each new achievement!
Knowing that many of our children’s lives have changed makes being an educational therapist an amazing career choice! NILD has served over 100,000 students in its 40 years of success, and has developed satellite schools in many different countries! The students I have worked with in educational therapy have attended university and found meaningful careers, or successfully maneuvered their way through a community college to become competent, skilled workers in their field.
Taking the next step and diving into educational therapy is very rewarding! Who knows where it will lead you?
Read about the First Step in last week’s blog post.