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Educational Therapy

What is Educational Therapy?

Educational Therapy (ET) refers to instruction that provides students with holistic support that addresses academic concerns as well as social-emotional learning.

Educational Therapy demystifies learning differences and stimulates clients’ awareness of their strengths so they can use those strengths to their best advantage to overcome or compensate for areas of weakness.

The main goal and purpose of educational therapy is to optimize learning and school adjustment, with the recognition that emotional, behavioral, and learning problems are intertwined. The Association of Educational Therapists has defined the role of the Educational Therapist as follows:

An Educational Therapist works in the educational domain with persons who exhibit learning disabilities and learning problems. An Educational Therapist is skilled in:

  • Formal and informal educational assessment;
  • Synthesis of information from other specialists, and from parents;
  • Development and implementation of appropriate remedial programs for school-related learning and behavior problems;
  • Strategies for addressing social and emotional aspects of learning problems;
  • Formation of supportive relationships with the individual and with those involved in his or her educational development;
  • Facilitation of communication between the individual, the family, the school, and involved professionals.

Who is an Educational Therapist?

Educational therapists help build a child’s academic skills and self-confidence. The work they do is quite varied and they come from a wide range of professional backgrounds. They may be:

  • General or special education teachers
  • Reading or math specialists
  • Social workers
  • Speech and Language Pathologist.
  • Counselors who’ve earned additional certifications

Educational therapists can also review services the school is providing through an IEP or a 504 plan. They can help ensure that what’s happening outside of school complements in-school services.

The Association of Educational Therapists (AET) is a good resource for finding educational therapists. AET offers a certification program. To become an AET member, a professional must complete specific training in special education. They must also meet continuing education requirements.
Because educational therapy can be so broad, it’s important to look at a therapist’s qualifications. The therapist should meet your child’s needs and have the right training.

For additional information on Educational Therapy go to:
The Association of Educational Therapists

What's the difference between an educational therapist and a tutor?

A tutor usually helps the student with one subject or multiple subjects. Tutoring focuses on subject matter, and the goal is to improve the student’s grades.
An educational therapist takes a more holistic approach, with the goals of both improving a student’s academic performance and helping the student reach psycho-educational and social-emotional goals.
While tutoring focuses on “what”, educational therapy focuses on “how”. Some of the hows include:

  • understanding one’s unique learning profile (both strengths and challenges)
  • developing certain learning and social-emotional strategies
  • fostering a growth mindset
  • building communication and self-advocacy skills

To support students across academic, psycho-educational, and social-emotional goals, educational therapists have extensive training in learning disabilities as well as an understanding of the psychology of learning disorders, assessment, and intervention strategies that address the social and emotional aspects that impact learning.

What skills does Educational Therapy address?


  • reading
  • spelling
  • writing
  • math
  • critical thinking
  • study skills


  • planning and prioritizing
  • organization
  • time management
  • self-monitoring
  • flexible thinking
  • focus/attention
  • task initiation


  • self-awareness
  • self-management
  • responsible decision-making
  • relationship skills
  • social awareness