How is a Learning Difficulty Diagnosed?

Extra LessonsA psycho-educational battery of formal and informal tests are used to determine patterns of strength and weakness as compared to intellectual ability.

If your child is found to have a learning difficulty, there are two basic approaches to dealing with it:

1) Compensation

The first and most common is compensation – helping students work around their deficit areas by utilising their strengths. In an academic setting, this usually takes the form of tutoring and classroom modifications such as untimed tests and reduced workload. Compensation allows students to succeed with outside help, but leaves them limited in what they can do on their own.

2) Direct Intervention

The second approach is direct intervention – helping students strengthen their areas of deficit so they are no longer handicapped by them. Teaching students HOW to learn allows students the eventual freedom of succeeding on their own as independent learners.

Both approaches are generally necessary in dealing effectively with a learning disability. Compensation allows students to succeed academically until the necessary skills are developed for independence. Direct intervention and the resulting competence and confidence allow students to gain the skills needed to become independent learners for a lifetime. NILD Educational Therapy® is a direct, language based intervention for students with learning difficulties.

Does My Child Need Extra Lessons or Educational Therapy?

Child TestingIf your child is showing frustration or difficulty at school in areas such as spelling, reading, math, an inability to express thoughts either verbally or in writing, and demonstrating illegible handwriting even after assistance, he or she is exhibiting common indicators of a learning disability.

As a parent you will probably have more questions than answers, and concerns regarding your child’s progress.  The first step is to schedule an appointment with an educational psychologist. Educational psychologists will report on the child’s IQ – general cognitive ability, and compare it with his/her actual performance. The educational psychologist will be able to identify the causes for a student’s struggles and advise you accordingly.

How Does NILD Differ from Extra Lessons?

splash07NILD Educational Therapy® looks at developing underlying skills and teaching the brain how to think and process effectively. As a result it takes longer, for it is building concepts and thinking skills so students can learn for a lifetime.

NILD educational therapists, have met rigorous training requirements and want to know how the student learns and how to make them into efficient and independent learners. They offer metacognitive and compensatory learning strategies to improve mental functioning of the student, strengthening specific areas of cognition that are weak.

NILD educational therapists look at the underlying thinking and processing skills. NILD sessions are one-on-one. NILD Educational Therapy® teaches children “how to think” rather than “what to think”. The scope of practice of educational therapy is broader than that of tutoring.

Extra lessons teachers/tutors focus on academic skills and specific school subjects and are not necessarily trained in learning difficulties. A tutor deals with what the student is learning, and will focus on improving the grades. This private instructor has expertise in a specific school subject. Tutors usually offer group teaching and it is assumed processing and function skills are already in place. Students are taught or re-taught classroom concepts. Tutoring typically focuses on content, e.g. improving grades for one specific subject.