Sometimes it Takes More Than a Tutor

5 Differences Between Tutoring and Cognitive Educational Therapy

(Part 1)

“Jackson HATES school!  He feels like the dumbest kid in the class.  He gets very frustrated and angry doing homework.”

“As a family, we can’t stand this anymore.  We need to get Jackson a tutor!”

Are you sure?  Will getting a tutor really be enough to solve this problem?

Sometimes, tutoring is exactly what is needed.  But more often, when a child has a learning problem, tutoring is like putting on a band aide.  It covers up some of the symptoms, but doesn’t really solve the problem.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be talking about 5 big differences between tutoring and cognitive educational therapy, and how you know which is right for your situation.


Tutoring typically focuses on academic skills or school subjects and cognitive educational therapy addresses the underlying processing or thinking skills that are needed in order for a someone to learn easily in school.

Here’s a way you can think about this.  Think of learning like a tree.  When you look at a tree, the most obvious, noticeable part is the top…the branches and leaves.  But without a good root system and trunk, those branches and leaves can’t grow and thrive.  Learning is like that.  The top of the tree is the academic skills – reading, writing, math, history, science…

LearningTreeImage (1)

Growth and learning in these areas is dependent upon a strong root system and trunk. The roots are what we call the underlying processing skills. These are things like memory, attention, processing speed, auditory and visual processing (or how we think about and understand things that we hear or see). If there are problems at the root, or processing skills level, there will be problems at the top.

The trunk is like what we call executive function. This is the part of the brain that takes all the information that comes in through the roots and organizes it for learning. Again, if the student has problems with organization, planning, and reasoning (or executive function skills) it will affect school performance.

Traditional tutoring assumes that these underlying processing and executive function skills are in place and it works at the top of the tree, with the academics.

In most cases learning problems are the result of weak or incompletely developed skills at the root level, so working on the academics without a solid foundation of processing skills may provide short-term support, but will not usually eliminate the problem.

To permanently solve a learning problem, the underlying skills must be developed. The great thing is that we know now, through current brain research, that the brain can be retrained – these skills can be developed – so students don’t have to go through life crippled by their learning challenges.

Join us for a parent information meeting – To understand more about what is keeping your child from learning as easily and independently as he could be and what can be done about it. Go to for dates and location.

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