When Is Tutoring NOT the Answer?

February 7, 2015

The mother on the other end of the line sounded tired and frustrated. She told a familiar story. Her daughter Mira, was midway through third grade, but reading at first grade level. When two years of meetings at school and pull-out help for Mira had been unproductive, this mom had taken her daughter to a well-known national tutoring company. Now, after months of effort and $12,000 spent, Mira was still not at grade level, and this mom was desperate.

 

Sadly, calls like this are common at Abba’s Child Learning Center. As the conversation progressed, it became apparent that Mira had more than a reading problem; she had an undiagnosed learning problem. An assessment confirmed that Mira was dealing with an auditory processing problem. Over the next 3 months, using brain-based remediation methods, Mira resolved her auditory processing problem and became proficient at decoding words quickly and easily. Increased reading fluency and comprehension followed. At the end of the third grade, she received a special award for being the most improved student in her class.

 

Although Mira is not a real person, this story is a common one at Abba’s Child. Tutoring and special education services generally provide the same type of educational approach that has already proved unsuccessful in the classroom. This approach can be pursued year after year to help a student pass each grade, without ever helping the student become an independent learner, no longer needing special help. Traditional tutoring for a child with learning problems is like trying to fill a barrel that has a gaping hole in its side – exhausting for everyone and ineffective. But once the hole is repaired, the barrel will fill easily.

 

Traditional tutoring companies, even those that are nationally known, do not identify and resolve learning problems. This is a major deficit at a time when UCLA has estimated that 30% of public school students have a learning problem that is impairing their ability to succeed in school. These learning problems include:

  • Dyslexia

  • Visual processing problems

  • Auditory processing problems

  • Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD/ADD)

  • Developmental delays, including autistic spectrum disorders

 

In recent years, some brain-based learning centers have become established that do resolve learning problems. While their results can be excellent, their time-consuming, expensive programs rely on many months of intervention provided by their staff. In contrast, in 3 months at Abba’s Child Learning Center, many students have:

  • Resolved learning problems

  • Caught-up academically

  • Renewed their confidence

And for many students, our programs can be used effectively at home, saving the cost of professional services and the time and inconvenience of traveling to a center.

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