All You Need to Know About Educational Therapy
Updated: Mar 7
If your child is experiencing difficulties in school, you might be encouraged to consider educational therapy. What exactly does educational therapy entail, and how can it assist your child in reaching their greatest potential? This article will address some common questions and misconceptions about educational therapy in Singapore.
1. What is educational therapy?
Educational Therapy identifies the areas of support for a child with learning differences and provides the child with academic strategies tailored to the child’s unique needs. Areas of support may include spelling, writing, listening, oral and communication, numeracy, problem-solving, comprehension and composition, time management, exam-taking and social skills.
2. Who are educational therapists, and what do they do?
An educational therapist is an a therapist/ teacher who works with your child to understand their learning differences, and develop strategies tailored to their learning styles. An Educational Therapist is trained to engage a child using different means so that they will be open to learning new academic concepts. Sometimes when children have difficulty in their school work, it might just mean that they need another way to learn and this requires experience and training that an Educational Therapist is required to have.
3. Isn’t educational therapy the same as tuition?
Contrary to popular belief, educational therapy is not the same as tuition. While both types of intervention aim to improve academic performance, they are fundamentally different. Tutoring focuses primarily on content and rote memorisation, and is suitable for children who do not experience any difficulties in learning. If the lack of understanding is due to missed classes, then tutoring will be helpful in plugging in any informational gaps.
On the other hand, educational therapy focuses on the learning process – “how” the student learns. If the child faces difficulties in reading and comprehension, for example, teaching strategies to improve reading skills will help. Otherwise, they will continue to struggle each time when new material is presented, resulting in a weak foundation for learning.
To compensate for specific learning weaknesses, educational therapy leverages the child’s learning strengths and derives teaching methods and strategies that suit their learning style.
There are four main types of learning styles:
Visual (learn through seeing)
Auditory (learn through hearing)
Tactile (learn through touch)
Kinesthetic (learn through doing and moving)
Children who struggle to learn through rote memorisation may benefit from a multi-sensory approach. Apart from hearing and saying the sounds of the letters (auditory), they may find it easier to learn spelling through writing the letters in the air or on the carpet, or making them with plasticine (visual and tactile).
Other forms of intervention can include:
Auditory exercises like Earobics and having children answer questions based on short passages that were read
Visual exercises, such as the visual tracking of letters or words
Teaching of life skills and interpersonal skills to cope with difficult emotions through odelling, a technique based on observation and imitation
4. Who should go for educational therapy?
Educational therapy will benefit children with learning differences and who are struggling to adapt and learn independently in a mainstream school environment. It will also help children with mild autism, or who require assistance to understand social rules.
Parents who are concerned about their child's transition from kindergarten to primary school, or are unsure of how to help their child learn better may also find educational therapy helpful.