The Difference between a Tutor, Learning Specialist and an Educational Therapist: Choosing Your Best Option

Is your child struggling in school?  Are you considering outside help, but
you just don’t know where to start?  Finding the right individual to work with your child is often
a difficult task.  What’s more,
it’s challenging to determine the type of professional that is required.  To help you with the process, here is a
breakdown of the responsibilities and expertise you should expect from these
three professions. 
A tutor is a private instructor that has an expertise in a specific school subject.  They teach or re-teach classroom concepts, and they may or may not have
formal experience or training in education.  Many offer assistance with homework, and some can offer
advice with time management or study skills. 
Learning Specialist:
A learning specialist is a private instructor for students,
parents, and teachers.  They focus
on metacognitive as well as compensatory learning strategies.  Many also offer instruction, training and
remediation in specific academic areas such as reading, writing or math.  A learning specialist should have
advanced training and degrees in education and significant coursework, if not
degrees in special education, psychology, school psychology, educational
psychology, and neuropsychology.  Specific understanding of learning disorders, psycho-educational
evaluations, and intervention strategies is paramount.  An expertise in multisensory learning, alternative
learning and teaching strategies, self advocacy techniques, and schooling
accommodations is a must too.  In
addition, they should be versed in assistive technology, software tools,
educational websites and apps. 
Educational Therapist
An educational therapist is a private instructor for
students and other individuals that wish to improve their mental
functioning.  They too offer
metacognitive and compensatory learning strategies but also include cognitive
remedial training.  This involves
strengthening specific areas of cognition that are weak, such as auditory
discrimination or visual memory.  Moreover,
the educational therapist should be versed in strategies that address social
and emotional aspects that impact learning.  Many also have an expertise in working with students who struggle with executive functioning as well as attentional difficulties.  Like the learning specialist,
educational therapists have degrees in education and significant
coursework, if not a degree, in special education, psychology, school psychology,
educational psychology, and neuropsychology.  Specific training in learning disorders, psycho-educational
evaluations, and interventions strategies is vital.

What’s most important is that you speak with each professional to learn more about their approach and educational training.  If you have any questions, I would love to here your thoughts!

If you are interested in purchasing learning specialist / educational therapist materials, go to:


Dr. Erica Warren, Learning Specialist and Educational Therapist

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  1. […] or educational therapist in your area that can offer the remedial help needed.   Click here to read an article on finding the right professional.  Be sure to speak with each potential […]

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