The Borten Institute
“Put your ear down close to your soul and listen hard.’-Anne Sexton
My many years working with children with learning disabilities, have taught me that parents are the experts on their children. Professionals may be the experts on the disability, but parents are the experts on the child. Parents have valuable insight into how their child thinks, or feels, or responds when learning new things. They are the most knowledgeable about how their child is impacted by a learning disability.
Based on this truth, parents are in the best position to determine which type of tutoring is the best fit for their child. The Borten Institute for Learning Disabilities has taken out the guesswork when it comes to paring types of tutoring and types of learning disabilities. Below are a few tips to consider when selecting tutoring services for children with learning disabilities. But, remember parents, “Put your ear down close to your soul and listen hard”- it is the truest guide in your decision making. Read on and be empowered!
Types of Tutoring vs Types of Learning Disabilities
Online Tutoring vs In-Person Tutoring
In this year of COVID school closures, parents witnessed up close how well their child learns attending school online vs in person. In numerous parent consultations, I heard statements such as, “He does better with someone next to him”, or “she does better in class.`` Learning in-person lends itself to understanding concepts more clearly because of something as simple as body language. The way teachers use voice inflections, facial expressions, and hand gestures all help to increase a child’s ability to understand concepts being taught; especially in instances of learning disabilities.
In-person tutoring is a great match for learning disabilities that impact a child’s comprehension. This can include but is not limited to:
● Physical conditions such as visual impairments and auditory impairments
●Behavioral conditions such as autism, ADHD, or emotional disturbance
●Learning disabilities in reading comprehension, math problem solving, and speech
However, some parents reported their children improved drastically while learning online. They attributed this progress to self-paced coursework, decreased demands for social interactions, and learning in a comfortable environment. Parents also championed the use of technology when doing class assignments. Online dictionaries, speech to text/text to speech software, and word processors all help to aid weakness in their learning.
Online Tutoring is a great match for learning disabilities that impact social skills, reading ability, and/or writing ability. This can include but is not limited to:
● Behavior conditions such as ADHD, anxiety, autism, and emotional disturbance
●Learning disabilities in basic reading skills, dyslexia, written expression, and speech
● For children identified as gifted
Individual Tutoring vs Group Tutoring
Now for the advantages associated with individual tutoring vs group tutoring. The most obvious advantage of individual tutoring is individualized attention. The tutee has the full attention and expertise of the tutor for the entire session. The undivided attention of an expert tutor is undoubtedly beneficial for children with learning disabilities. Another benefit is the tutor being able to customize and design the tutoring session to your child’s needs. This customized approach can really boost a child’s performance academically.
Individualized Tutoring is a great match for any child! But, it is especially beneficial for children with more severe learning disabilities. It is also ideal for students who have difficulty with peer interactions and social skills. This can include but is not limited to:
● Learning disabilities such as intellectual disabilities, severe cases of dyslexia, or children who have multiple disabilities
● Behavioral conditions such as severer cases of Autism, ADHD, and emotional disturbances
●Physical conditions such as severer visual impairments and auditory impairments
The advantage of group tutoring is peer interaction. There is a saying among educators that children teach children best. Discussion with peers who think like them and see the world from a similar perspective is a very valuable tool in learning. Not to mention other secondary benefits like turn-taking, leadership roles, and building self-confidence.
Group tutoring is a great fit for children with less severe learning disabilities and for children that are less than one year behind grade level. This includes but is not limited to:
●General math and reading disabilities, dyslexia, and speech impairments
●Behavior conditions such as mild cases of autism, ADHD, and emotional disturbance
● Physical conditions such as mild visual impairments and auditory impairments
Looking for tutoring services that fit the needs of a child with learning disabilities can be a challenge. But, with these tips and your great insight as a parent, we hope your search will be a little less cumbersome. But, remember parents, “Put your ear down close to your soul and listen hard”- it is the truest guide in your decision making!
For help with finding a tutor for children with learning disabilities, click here.
Private tutoring vs group tutoring. Independent tutors vs tutoring companies. Online tutoring vs in-person tutoring. There are so many options for tutoring services these days it can be overwhelming!
It is particularly overwhelming if your child has a learning disability.
Typically developing children with average attention spans, average reading abilities, or average social skills, have a plethora of tutoring options available to them. The tutoring industry as a whole is geared toward traditional learners. This is a gross oversight by the tutoring industry! But, The Borten Institute for Learning Disabilities wants you to be empowered. Here are a few tips to consider when looking for tutors for children with learning disabilities.
Finding A Tutor for Children with Learning Disabilities
Consider the Disability
It is recommended that you have general knowledge about your child’s learning disability. Find out what their unique set of needs are and how the disability condition impacts their learning. You want to be able to communicate those needs when speaking with prospective tutors.
For example, if your child has anxiety, be able to explain their specific socio-emotional and academic needs. Anxiety comes in many different forms. So, just saying “anxiety” does not give a clear perspective on the specific needs of your child. Overall, you want to have a clear understanding of how well they understand the disability condition and if they have the skill set to address your child’s unique needs.
Consider Asking A Friend
Sometimes the best recommendations for tutors may come from friends, teachers, and other associates in your concentric circle. Actively seek out parent groups and interest clubs surrounding topics that relate to your child’s disability. It very likely that a parent like you, is also looking for tutorials for their child who has similar needs as yours. Parent groups or interest clubs are typically located at community churches, counseling facilities, and even medical offices. Also, you are certain to find virtual groups on various social media platforms as well. Inquire about who they know, use, and trust. Sometimes the best recommendations are just one conversation or text message away.
Consider Tutoring Philosophies
Lastly, when considering individual tutors and tutoring companies, be sure to research their respective philosophies on education. Lots of different individuals and companies tout following educational philosophies that originate in a variety of regions across the globe.
For example, one popular tutoring franchise in Texas aligns closely with ancient Asian practices of education. Their beliefs are that children should be individualistic in their learning and explore learning material at their free will. They believe learning occurs in self-directed exploration and unguided discovery. Tutors at this company serve more like guides or facilitators, as opposed to teachers. This approach may be suitable for traditional learners or children without learning disabilities. But, this may not be the best option if your child needs a more structured approach or becomes easily overwhelmed. It is beneficial to research tutoring philosophies when looking for a tutor.
Consider the Cost
Last, but certainly not least, another main factor is cost. Nationally, the average cost for tutoring per hour is $60. Throw in conditions such as dyslexia, autism, or ADD and you are looking at paying upwards of $120 per hour! Tutoring for special needs learners can be 2x more expensive. Parents should not be penalized price-wise for needing academic services that traditional learners access at half the price! A few suggestions that may help curve cost are: considering using medical insurance where possible, decrease the frequency of sessions, or ask if there is a cheaper group rate available.
In summary, when seeking tutoring services for children with learning disabilities consider the disability condition, ask a friend, consider tutoring philosophies, and count the cost.
For help with finding a tutor for children with learning disabilities, click here.
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