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What is Educational Therapy?

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  • Written By: Deneatra Harmon
  • Edited By: R. Halprin
  • Last Modified Date: 27 October 2016
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Educational therapy helps children and adults with learning challenges. Therapists often design educational intervention plans that focus on the academic, social, and emotional aspects of learning. Most educational therapists gain their experience from fields such as childhood development or special education. Most schools employ educational therapists to work with students who need learning assistance.

Educational therapy assists children and adults with learning, developmental, and neurological disabilities. Some of these include autism, Asperger's syndrome, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and dyslexia. In general, signs that indicate a learning disability may include problems with concentration, difficulty interacting with other students, language development delays, and issues with retaining facts. The student may also have trouble staying focused as well as having math, reading, and writing difficulties. A child or adult may experience anxiety, depression, or low self-esteem as a result of these learning problems.

Educational therapy goes above and beyond tutoring because it combines educational and therapeutic elements with learning. For example, the therapist not only helps the student in math, but identifies that student's strengths and weaknesses through assessment, evaluation, and remediation. The therapist also relies on case management studies to identify the student's learning issues in relation to home life or another environment. Afterward, the educational therapist works with the student to develop a treatment plan specific to learning style. The goal in educational therapy is to help the student overcome learning problems by focusing on strengths and overcoming weaknesses.

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When assessing academic aspects of learning, the educational therapist works with the student to develop organizational skills, active learning, and concentration strategies, and reading comprehension in various subjects. The student also develops short- and long-term memory skills and alternative studying methods. Educational therapy overall helps to improve the student's reading, language development, writing, and problem-solving skills.

Emotional and social educational intervention focuses creating a comfortable learning environment. In this treatment area, the educational therapist creates an academic remediation program to improve the student's self-esteem and increase the motivation to learn. Educational therapy treatment also includes "therapeutic listening" to determine why student behavior affects learning. The therapist must also provide a safe environment that enables the student to openly discuss concerns related to school and learning.

Aspiring educational therapists must complete a bachelor's and master's degree in related fields such as elementary education, special education, speech, and language instruction, and child development. The field also requires an educational therapy certificate from an accredited college or university. Educational therapists work one-on-one with a student in the home, in private practice, in school, or at a learning center by appointment.

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