1. What are their qualifications? Does your prospective tutor have a degree in Education or Speech-Language Pathology?
Many do not. It is important to choose a tutor who is trained in identifying underlying missing links that may be contributing factors to your child’s reading delay. Tutors who do not have an education background may not be able to identify these important missing components with your child’s abilities.
– All of the therapists and learning specialists with ETLC have a degree in education or speech-language pathology. We are trained in multiple research-based programs that have proven themselves to be effective over and over. These programs include the Lindamood-Bell reading programs and the Barton Reading and Spelling System.
2. What specific assessments do they use to monitor progress? Does the tutor have specific tools to measure the progress?
If not, a family can invest a significant amount of time and money into the efforts that they are not certain are working. It would be very frustrating to get a year down the road and realize that the approach is not working and needed to be adapted a long time ago.
– When a client first comes to Enrichment TLC, our initial step is to administer a standardized evaluation. This assessment period is individualized to your child based on the concerns that you have expressed and any observations that the Speech-Language Pathologist or Learning Specialist makes during this time with the child. The results of this evaluation allow us to determine the exact services that would most benefit your child and this guides us in writing individualized goals for his/her services. It also helps us to establish a baseline so that we can easily track the child’s progress. Progress is monitored throughout every therapy session and teaching techniques are modified based on student performance and growth. We also administer standardized assessments as needed when additional areas of concern arise or when significant progress has been made and we recognize the need to determine the student’s status. A progress report detailing the students status is completed quarterly and shared with the families.
3. How do they communicate my child’s progress and status to me and how often should I expect that communication? What does that communication look like? Emails, phone calls, and progress notes. What information is conveyed? You should expect at least some data to be collected on a weekly basis.
– At ETLC, Learning Specialists and Speech-Language Pathologists communicate with family members regarding students’ progress weekly. We are flexible in communicating in person, by phone or through email. Along with this informal communication, we also provide written quarterly progress reports and goal updates.
4. What specific strategies do they use for children with reading decoding issues? Are they research based? Is it a “cookie cutter approach”? Does the tutor believe that one program fits all students’ needs?
– While all therapists and learning specialists are trained in Lindamood-Bell and Barton reading programs, we believe in creating a treatment plan for each individual child based on their specific needs. We draw on our clinical experiences and rapport with each child to teach them based on their learning style.
5. Do they work with reading comprehension (understanding) and if so what strategies do they use?
If the tutor’s strategy to work on reading comprehension is something like this, “We have the student read a paragraph and ask him/her questions about the paragraph,” that is really just assessing. That is not giving him/her effective tools to help him/her retain information. If this is the only strategy used, I would seek out another tutor that has training in helping your child to create images in his/her head of what is being said and what he/she is reading. This will help him/her to retain information.
– We know that comprehension is key to being a successful reader. In order for a child to understand what he/she is reading, they need to use strategies that help them retain information. Visualizing is one strategy that is often very effective in helping a child create images in his/her head of what is being said and what he/she is reading. It’s like making a movie in your head. We teach students a step-by-step process on how to visualize details and main ideas within a passage so they can answer higher order thinking questions and process information with greater ease and accuracy.
6. What kind of setting will my child have during the tutoring sessions?
Many children who struggle with reading thrive best in an individual room with limited distractions and noise. Ask to see the facility to assess whether it is an environment that is conducive to learning.
– All sessions at ETLC are held in private rooms with the learning specialist / therapist. Students thrive while working in a quiet environment without distractions.
7. How often do we need to come for sessions, and how long are the sessions?
Some facilities have the child attend their sessions for multiple hours straight. This can create burn-out for the child. Creating a healthy balance between helping your child achieve academic success and letting him/her be a kid is important.
– Expect 1-3 times per week for approximately 30 minutes to an hour. This will vary depending on your child’s needs and your family’s availability.
8. What strategies do they use to keep students on task (if your child has difficulty in this area)?
Does the tutor give specific strategies or just general statements? Are the strategies age-appropriate for your child?
– We pride ourselves on being able to “read” children to help determine what motivates and empowers them to be persistent in their efforts. We provide specific feedback based on a student’s performance, balancing positive reinforcement with techniques to move students progressively toward a stronger understanding and improved skills.
9. How are they different from other tutoring services?
Can your tutor tell you specific ways that they are different?
– Services at ETLC are individualized to your child’s needs. We create a specific plan that works, utilizing research-based strategies, that parallels your child’s learning style. We provide an environment that is quiet and conducive to learning, and focus on building your child’s self-confidence to achieve success.
10. Is the tutor willing to work with the schools? At what capacity is your tutor willing to do that?
– We are happy to collaborate with other professionals, including teachers and schools. Our goal is to help each child be successful, and we know that children learn best when the same effective strategies are used across all learning environments.
Sonia Culver is a Speech-Language Pathologist at Enrichment Therapy and Learning Center. ETLC has locations in the Iowa City, IA area and Des Moines, IA area. We provide individual speech language therapy and tutoring as well as offer a unique group, the Language Enrichment Academic Program (LEAP). At Enrichment Therapy and Learning Center our passion is to help kids achieve effective communication skills and gain academic success. Contact us for more information on how we can help your child succeed.
1210 Jordan Street, Suite 2A
North Liberty, IA 52317
2570 106th Street, Suite E
Urbandale, IA 50322