Executive Functioning

What is educational therapy?

What is involved in the practice of educational therapy? Find out everything you need to know.

If your child is struggling with school, you may have been recommended educational therapy.

An educational therapist can help children who have difficulty paying attention, are disorganized, have trouble with writing or suffer from test-taking anxiety.

But what is involved in the practice of educational therapy? And how can it benefit your child’s learning?

Find out everything you need to know below.

What is educational therapy?

Educational therapy combines therapeutic and educational strategies to benefit all types of learners. Clinicians work one-on-one with your child in a comfortable setting with the goal to achieve independent learning.

The practice of educational therapy can cover a number of things. This could include working with a reading specialist, helping kids with ADHD, or improving organizational skills. 

The type of remediation is specifically tailored to each child’s needs and learning style. This may include:

  • Teaching time management and focus skills
  • Identifying underlying behavioral issues
  • Improving study habits and methods
  • Providing a personalized study plan
  • Inspiring self-confidence and autonomous learning
  • A trustworthy clinician to speak to about issues at school

What educational therapy is not...

Educational therapy is often mistaken for tutoring, however, these two fields are very different. 

Tutors vs. educational therapists

Traditional tutors support specific curriculum content. This often includes reteaching academic lessons until your child has an improved understanding.

Educational therapists have a broader scope, focusing on the skills and strategies required to sustain autonomous learning. This involves working on foundational skills and coping techniques which go beyond what is taught in the classroom. Social and emotional learning is a common focus as are improving areas such as problem-solving, time management, organization, and anxiety.

Signs that your child might need educational therapy, and how it can help!

If your child is struggling with any aspect of their learning experience, outside services can provide the support that’s not available at their school. 

Frequently, children benefit from educational therapy when they have ADHD. In fact, quick decision-making without assessing the bigger picture is more common. 

It’s not always simple to spot issues with impulse control. However, with educational therapy, you can define and resolve your child’s learning difficulties.

Below are four of the most common pitfalls in executive functioning that can be supported with educational therapy…

Last minute decision making

Does your child make a choice and then pivot at the last minute? Over and over again, we see students change their minds at the eleventh hour and waste hours of previous study time. This commonly happens when faced with a choice of topics or mediums. The child dedicates ample time to planning and research before deciding to restart the night before submission. 

Educational therapy helps children to realize the importance of making and committing to a decision. It’s not always important to love a topic, even if the other one could have been a better choice! The grass is not always greener.

Prioritizing the wrong task

Students often hyperfocus on the wrong assignment. For example, focusing on a task worth 10% of overall marks rather than studying for a big exam in the coming weeks or spending too much time on the font and design of a project over the content. This is due to an inability to evaluate the bigger picture and determine the value of certain tasks over others. 

Learning how to prioritize time is a skill that can be learned in educational therapy. Children often look at a task’s due date before the proportion of a score or look for the easiest option first or what low-worth assignment is due sooner. 

On the other hand, others feel overwhelmed believing that everything is significant and therefore struggle to take notes in lectures or read large chunks of text. Clinicians help these students to realize what’s important and therefore manage the time accordingly.

Missing deadlines and distractions

Our brains are designed to forget information so we can continue to learn and adapt. However, children are often too reliant on memory, assuming they will remember due dates and deadlines. This leads to a pattern of increased frustration and anxiety. 

Educational therapy establishes successful calendaring so that children can understand how to plan ahead and adapt chunking skills. By breaking up a project into smaller, achievable tasks, we are more likely to avoid distractions. This works just as well for assignments as it does for non-academic tasks such as tidying their room.

Poor time management

Time management is perhaps the most frequently seen pitfall. Students tend to mispredict how long tasks will take. Underestimating leads to running out of time, whilst thinking it will take longer means they may put it off completely.

Working with an educational therapist means children feel understood and can get ahead of this common issue. Having a regular conversation about their functioning habits and strategies for learning helps to inspire effective decision-making that will benefit future success.

How to find an educational therapy program near you

Educational therapy is a private practice, therefore you’ll want to take time to look for the right therapist for your child. 

The Association of Educational Therapists (AET) is an excellent resource that offers a certification program to registered members. This means a professional must complete specific training and continue to meet special education requirements.

It’s also important to look for an educational therapist who meets your child’s needs and is familiar with their learning challenges.

Kapp Educational Therapy Group is a team of AET registered clinicians that specializes in supporting children with ADHD and/or executive functioning struggles.

We offer in-house and virtual learning solutions to families with various needs including ADHD, reading and writing remediation, dyscalculia, and processing disorders. 

If your child is struggling or anxious about school, get in touch to see how we can support you.

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