1What is an Educational Therapist?
An educational therapist is a professional who combines educational and therapeutic approaches for evaluation, remediation, case management, and communication/advocacy on behalf of children, adolescents and adults with learning disabilities or learning problems. (definition from the Association of Educational Therapists – AET)
2What is the difference between Educational Therapy and Tutoring?
Educational Therapy is targeted remediation done by a person trained to work with correcting these types of needs. The therapist works with the child to help them learn strategies and techniques to achieve their academic goals. Tutoring generally is helping with homework and general skills. While homework is a powerful tool in conjunction with Educational Therapy, individual remediation is most often designed with research-based programs.
3How do you individualize instruction?
First, in consultation with parents, we look at the student’s academic goals, learning style, executive function skills, and kinesthetic needs. This determines the percentage of time spent on each subject or skill. There usually are 12-15 planned possible activities/foci for each student’s hour session, which allows for fluidity and ease with students depending on what they “bring to the table” that day. Just like adults to their workplace, children and teens can arrive at a session in any number of moods and energy levels. For our daytime program, we look at how much play/free time is best, how long to schedule activities, and whether there should be additional homework. If a student, for example, is a tennis player and trains several hours a day after a 4-hour program, we might emphasize solid academic skills in core subjects with less free play time. If a child has attention challenges, for example, shorter “chunks” of intense work and more breaks are scheduled. If a child needs intensive reading instruction, more one-on-one educational therapy would be emphasized.
4How do you assess progress?
Assessment includes formative, summative and project-based assessments. Formative assessment means that there is on-going informal monitoring of students to see where they are in terms of challenge and success. Summative assessments and diagnostics are used in conjunction with your child’s program and needs. Many programs we use tie directly into tracking progress, giving specific data as to grade or age level equivalencies. For educational remediation and tutoring programs, we look at school work, grades, conduct interviews, and talk to parents and teachers, if needed. Assessment takes place as well when students show their learning through design, projects and on-going passion. In our Flex Program, Blue Marble encourages experimentation and gives ample opportunity to invent and create.
5What is the role of technology?
Technology is part of our Flex Program as a reinforcement in math and language arts. It is only occasionally used in educational remediation. Technology is used with homework as needed for research papers, keyboarding skills, etc.
6How did you decide on the hours of the Flex Daytime Program?
Blue Marble’s Flex Program is designed to be a shorter academic day to meet both the educational needs of students as well as California requirements for a school day. A sixteen-hour academic week is slightly over the amount of hours required for homeschool students. Harvard Medical School neurological research states that the brain of students from puberty on “pours out” adrenal hormones far into the night and early morning, making it difficult to get up for traditional school hours. In fact, getting up each morning for a school day that starts at 8 a.m. is like asking them to fly across the country and instantly adjust to a new time zone. Starting at 10 a.m. means their brains are awake and ready to optimally learn.
7 What are Executive Functioning (EF) Skills?
One formal definition of Executive Functioning Skills comes from ldonline: The executive functions are a set of processes that all have to do with managing oneself and one's resources in order to achieve a goal. It is an umbrella term for the neurologically-based skills involving mental control and self-regulation. Executive Functioning skills are the skills that help a person manage life’s daily tasks and achieve goals. Included in this set of skills are planning, organization, time management, working memory, response inhibition, emotional control, task initiation, goal directed persistence and sustained attention.