An Educational Therapist provides individualized intervention to a wide range of students with learning disabilities or learning differences and works closely with the family, school and other allied professionals such as Occupational Therapists and Psychologists in an effort to help students achieve academic success. By combining subject matter information and therapeutic approaches for teaching, an Educational Therapist helps students learn about their own cognition and how to make the most of their personal strengths, school placement and personal motivation while managing and overcoming their weaknesses.
An Educational Therapist is not a tutor. A tutor is a subject matter expert who likely provides assistance with homework and direct instruction in single subjects of expertise. A tutor may not have a professional background in education or in working with students with learning disabilities, learning differences or emotional disorders. An Educational Therapist focuses on providing support for the student by integrating all aspects of a student’s life in an effort to find balance.
Educational Therapists are also known as Learning Specialists, Educational Specialists or Specialized Educators. Many Educational Therapists work in schools and/or have private practices. An Educational Therapist should have a background in teaching, a Master’s Degree in Special Education, Education, Speech and Language Therapy or another similar area as well as additional graduate training in assessment and individualized instruction.
Many Educational Therapists also offer comprehensive educational assessment services which help identify both cognitive processing and academic strengths and weaknesses and whether or not a student may have a learning disability. State law mandates that a learning disability diagnosis must be documented if an individual is to receive accommodations or specialized services. An Educational Therapist is trained in analyzing and interpreting the assessments used to identify learning disabilities. Most Educational Therapists have been trained in interpreting neuropsychological and psycho-educational assessments, so they can help teachers and administrators understand how to best support their students with learning differences in the classroom.
There is no specific state licensing for the field; however, some universities offer a Certificate of Educational Therapy (C.E.T.), signifying extensive graduate coursework in assessment and intervention, and the participation in a supervised internship. Most C.E.T. programs have a prerequisite of a Master’s Degree in Special Education or related field of study. In addition, many Educational Therapists belong to the Association of Educational Therapists, a national organization, that requires its members to hold a Master’s Degree or equivalent in post-BA course work, to have completed at least 1,500 hours of supervised direct service hours, and to maintain 40 hours of continuing education every two years.