How is a Learning Difficulty Diagnosed?

Extra Lessons

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

How Can Students With Learning Disabilities Be Helped?

There are two basic approaches to dealing with learning disabilities – accommodation and direct intervention.

Accommodation

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

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. 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 similar to occupational and speech therapies. Our focus is to strengthen the underlying causes of learning difficulties rather than simply treating the symptoms. Our therapy is individualized and aims the intervention just above the student’s level of functioning and raises expectations for performance. Students are trained to view themselves as competent, confident learners.

Does My Child Need Extra Lessons or Educational Therapy?

Child Testing

If 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?

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NILD 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.

Who is a Candidate?

Potential students for NILD Educational Therapy® are those experiencing obvious frustration in areas of school performance. Poor spelling, illegible handwriting, inability to express thoughts verbally or in writing, and difficulty with reading and math are common indicators of a learning disability.

Learning disabilities are diagnosed through a battery of tests that measure and compare students’ potential with their actual performance. NILD educational therapists work in conjunction with qualified examiners and can assist parents in completing appropriate psychological and educational assessments.

A student is required to have an initial assessment by an educational psychologist before entering NILD Educational Therapy®.  This assists in tailoring a student’s NILD sessions to his/her specific needs. The educational therapist also administers a series of tests to gain a deeper understanding of each student’s learning strengths and challenges.

In addition, annual evaluations are administered to determine the effectiveness of the therapy intervention. The annual evaluation guides the therapist in establishing future learning goals.

Students complete their programmes when they become independent and successful in the regular classroom and this usually takes approximately three years.

Strategies learned in educational therapy should enable students to remain independent and successful throughout their school years. They generally develop skills to pursue a career in the field of their choice.

Learning disabilities can be addressed whenever they are identified, not just in childhood. The NILD techniques are effective regardless of age and can be adapted to all levels of functioning.

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