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Educational Therapists

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Therapist for Adult ADD/ADHD

August 2010

Can anyone please give me a recommendation for a therapist who can help me with procrastination and organization? I have diagnoses of and take medication for ADHD (inattentive type) and depression/anxiety. Would especially appreciate someone with an understanding of the particular problems of academic careers and parenting--special bonus if they can do medication management along with therapy/coaching. Appreciative


Alena Hutchinson, LMFT, is fabulous: (415) 397-8300. I've been seeing her for half a year for ADD coaching and have also appreciated her deep compassion, concrete tools for daily living, and personal experiences with ADD and raising a family. Her website: http://therapists.psychologytoday.com/rms/name/Alena_Hutchinson_LMFT_Oakland_California_41869 I can't recommend her enough. I only wish my health benefits would allow me to see her more frequently! Adult Happily Adjusting to ADD, Now
I am adult diagnosed with inattentive ADHD. I can highly recommend Linda Lawton ET/P for whom you can find other references on BPN Linda has been instrumental in helping me establish sound, workable solutions to my procrastination, lack of organization and lack of time management. I believe she also has experience in education and ADHD parenting which may address your other concerns. Working with Linda has been an important part of my overall ADHD therapy which, in addition to her coaching, has included counseling, diet, exercise and is soon to include medication. You can reach Linda at (510) 559-3110 or easy4you@sbcglobal.net.

Have you also looked into CHADD (Children and Adult with ADHD)? It is a wonderful resource for discussions, literature, professional references, local support groups etc. (www.chadd.org) Anon


Educational Therapist for 6th grader w/dyslexia & ADHD

July 2010

Looking for Educational Therapist for sixth grader with dyslexia and inattentive type ADHD in the Berkeley Albany area. There are not many recommendations in the archives, so if you have a great ET that can help our son with reading and writing, organization and self esteem around school, we would appreciate having the reference. Thank you


If you need an Educational Therapist, I highly recommend Richard Sugerman (http://www.richardsugerman.com/). He is an experienced teacher, with an MA in Developmental Psychology, and 30 years of experience working with kids. Been there
Try Jamie Keller (www.learnwithme.com). She is wonderful! Rosie

Educational Therapist for 4th grader with learning disabilities

May 2009

My fourth grader attends public school and struggles with the work although he ''does fine'' on all of the tests at school. I just had him evaluated for learning disabilities, which have been obvious to me since the first grade however I was discouraged by all from having him tested, and am now looking for the right person to work with him. My child is very personable, cooperative, has a good sense of humor and is a little shy. School work is a huge stress for him. His specific issues are: dyslexia, ADD inattentive type, slow processing speed, phonemic awareness problems, poor working memory (although great memory in general), which have all led to much reading and even more writing difficulties. Does anyone know a kind and skilled person in the Berkeley/Albany area that you have had ongoing success with? Thanks


My daughter was having a terrible time in school. She was tested, has some LD (including ADD) but very bright. I had her see an academic coach who helped her get organized, got her do her homework and turn it in. Now she is doing much better. Nancy's info is www.stepbystep4success.com Anonymous

Reading specialist for 1st grade boy

Oct 2008

Hi, our first grade boy is having some trouble reading. Normally we would not be too worried as he is still young, but he is getting pretty frustrated. He excels and math and science, but is having trouble figuring out the reading and writing. We, as parents have no experience in this area and don't really know how to help him. We do guided reading every night, but he seems to have hit a wall.

Does anyone have a suggestion for a reading specialist in the Berkeley area who can evaluate him and help him maybe one day a week after school? He's in a public school but it seems like kind of a hassle to go through the public school process, and I don't want him pulled out of class for this. He already feels badly enough. anon


If your child is in Berkeley Public schools, I strongly recommend that you ask about his eligibility for Reading Recovery. Public School Reading Specialist
What you should look for is an Eduational Thearpist. I posted this just a few weeks ago, so sorry if this is a repeat for you. The guy we used is named Bill Baldyga. halcyonlearning.com is his website.

The following is what I said last time. Bill is personable, quiet and very clam. He listens well and he thinks outside the box using different techniques and approaches to work with your child. He figures out what's missing and starts from there. He worked very well with our daughter. She has a hard time sitting still and focusing (she prefers to stand or move) Bill had her stand on a balance board the whole hour he worked with her (on reading etc) and she loved it. It helped her focus and made the time pass more quickly for her. I think Bill is more expensive than a ''standard tutor'' but that is not what he is. He is much more and definitely worth it.

Our daughter was reading below grade level is 2nd grade and by 3rd grade she read all 7 Harry Potter books herself. It was such a relief when she started to work with Bill, and her reading started to come along. Nancy


Bill Baldyga for tutoring?

Oct 2008

Has anyone used Bill Baldyga for tutoring? He is an educational therapist. One posting said he was great. We are considering his services. What is his personality like? Is he expensive? How did your kids respond to his methods of teaching? Anything that would be helpful would be great. thanks


In response to your inquiry about tutors, Bill is personable, quiet and very calm. He listens well and he thinks outside the box using different techniques and approaches to work with your child. He figures out what's missing and starts from there. He worked very well with our daughter. She has a hard time sitting still and focussing (she prefers to stand or move) Bill had her stand on a balance board the whole hour he worked with her (on reading etc) and she loved it. It helped her focus and made the time pass more quickly for her. I think Bill is more expensive than a ''standard tutor'' but that is not what he is. He is much more and definitely worth it. He does so much more than just going over sight words or math flash cards.

Our daughter was reading below grade level in 2nd grade and by 3rd grade she read all 7 Harry Potter books herself. I actually recommend Bill to alot of people, and I am happy to do so here as well. Nancy


What Does An Educational Therapist Do?

April 2008

What do educational therapists do? I have a teenager who struggles academically and socially. Not a behavioral problem but a kid who takes things pretty literally and often misses the nuances of interactions, then will turn around and surprise you with fairly profound observations. I know about Orion and Arrowsmith, etc but our kid hasn't wanted to explore any of those options. We want to make sure we help our child make it through to college and beyond. So...exactly what does an educational therapist do? mom


Hi - this comes directly from the Association of Educational Therapists website: http://www.aetonline.org/:

''Educational Therapy offers children and adults with learning disabilities and other learning challenges a wide range of intensive, individualized interventions designed to remediate learning problems.

Educational therapy demystifies learning problems and stimulates clients’ awareness of their strengths so they can use those strengths to best advantage to overcome or compensate for areas of weakness.

Educational therapists create and implement a treatment plan that utilizes information from a variety of sources including the client’s social, emotional, psychoeducational, and neuropsychological context.''

If you decide that seeing an educational therapist might be helpful for your child, you can get referrals through the AET website or through the ET graduate program at Holy Names University. It sounds like your child might also benefit from a social skills or pragmatic language group which could provide practice directly aimed at understanding nuances and non-literal language. Jan


At best, help your child improve academically. At worst, take your money. Anyone can be an educational therapist, and since there is no license for this profession, you need to choose carefully. The best educational therapists are special education teachers who are retired or teaching part time. In additon to having a special education education credential and/or masters in special education, they either have a certificate in educational therapy or additional coursework at a school approved by the Association of Educational Therapists (aetonline.org). If an educational therapist is not a member of the association or has never heard of it, you should probably not work with that person.

Educational therapists are expensive, some charging up to one hundred dollars a session four times a week, or more. They help students overcome dyslexia and other learning disabilities. Some educational therapists are so good they can help students improve their reading and math skills by multiple grade levels in a year's time. Others are so inept, they are basically glorified tutors.

I would be suspicious of educational therapists who just a year ago left jobs in corporate America to make a career change. A few quarters of courses at UC Berkeley Extension will not train a person to become an educational therapist, if there isn't substantial special education teaching background. I would also avoid psychotherapists who got tired of working with adults and thought educational therapy would be more fun as they may lack the special education background so crucial for success in this profession.

Finally, be careful of educational therapists who claim they can test your child. While an educational therapist can give assessments, only a licensed educational psychologist can do bona fide testing. Often, educational psychologists will work in tandem with educational therapists. The ed psych does the testing and the ed therapist does the long term one-on-one work.

Finally, there has to be a fit. Pairing a teen with an educational therapist who only works with elementary school kids probably won't work, and vice versa. Both your child and the educational therapist have to be comfortable with each other, if it is going to work. Remember, educational therapy is a long term investment, not tutoring. Anon


An educational therapist works with a student to expose a subject's deep structure, to provide proper pacing, to assist in memory development, and to shore up expressive and receptive language. She deliberately integrates the whole picture with the parts and introduces ''meta'' awareness to help the student build skill, ego-strength, and self-trust. Through formal and/or informal on-going assessment and diagnostic teaching, the educational therapist helps the student and his parents look at unique intellectual, attentional, and motivational needs in relationship to increasingly complex school demands.

The one-on-one relationship is central to this academic therapy. In an atmosphere of growing trust, the student gains self confidence, improves her ability to stay focused (including impulse control), learns to delay gratification in order to achieve academic goals and ultimately to enjoy learning and mastery for its own sake. C.


An educational therapist worked with my son for two years, and I can give you my observations about what they did. They met for two one-hour sessions each week and worked on homework, but they didn't simply do the homework. She worked with him on how to do homework, how to organize it, prioritize assignments, understand what the teacher wants, estimate the amount of work required, manage long-term projects, etc. As he worked on assignments, she observed the process and identified areas where he needed new strategies or remediation, which she provided. She got him involved with the process of coming up with strategies. She also worked on boosting his confidence, sparking his interest, and trying to make things fun. She interfaced with our outside neuropsychologist's office and the personnel from the public middle school he attended, suggesting strategies and accommodations. When teachers gave her advance information about major assignments, she could help teach my son to organize the work. This worked well, and we saw my son became more capable working independently in class and on the days he didn't work with the ed therapist.

You didn't ask about this, but you mentioned Orion and Arrowsmith, and we have first-hand experience with both. Arrowsmith closed down almost two years ago. Orion has a very specific program intended for a specific and narrow population, students with diagnoses of Asperger's syndrome and NLD. Our child who attended Orion did not exactly fit into either of those categories and has learning disabilities that set him apart from Orion's other students. Orion is most definitely not a school for a general learning disabilities population. They did not understand my son's learning disabilities and instead came to deny them. Rather than accommodate his needs, they punished him for what they claimed were behavior issues in refusing to do work. It was a most damaging experience! Happily, we've since found a situation that worked for him, his learning disabilities have been addressed, and he's doing well. I looked intensively on my own, and when I finally found a school that resonated with me, I had the confidence to convince my son to take a look and let him decide. another mom


Your teen sounds a lot like mine. He struggled with school and has terrible social skills. We also looked at Orion and Springstone (when he was younger) but decided on a mainstream school. He was getting Bs and Cs and although that may be fine for some but not for him - he tested in the very gifted range. A friend recommended Nancy Chin at Step By Step. She was able to get him organized, have him do his homework AND turn it in. Once this happened consistently, his grades shot up to As. He is now enjoying school, getting along with his teachers, and a much happier person. I highly recommend Nancy her website is www.stepbystep4success.com . Anonymous
I highly recommend that you contact Nancy Chin at Step By Step. She works with students who are struggling in school both academically and socially. Many of her students have a learning difference/disability. They’re very bright yet struggle and get mediocre grades. Nancy teaches organization skills, time management and study skills. She made amazing personal connection and progress with my son in a very short time, however, her assistance has been so essential that our son wants to continue with her indefinitely! You are absolutely right to be concerned about making sure that your son will be personally motivated to carry on his higher education and be successful at it. Let Nancy help you; she really can do it. Her website is www.stepbystep4success.com. Good luck with your teenager. Sharon.

Educational Therapist for dyslexia and reading problems

Sept 2007

I wanted a referral for an Educational Therapist for a Middle School student, located in the Orinda/Walnut Creek/ Lafayette/Moraga area. I wanted someone with a background with Dyslexia and multisensory reading programs. Thank you! Lisa


I highly recommned Bill Baldyga. He's worked with my son, and the kids of a number of friends, and everyone has been thrilled with the results (including the kids). His number is 415 216-8493, and his website is halcyonlearning.com. He comes to our home in the East Bay. Good luck! a parent of a now reading/spelling child

Educational Therapist or Slingerland Method?

March 2007

Does any one know of a good educational therapist in the Albany, Berkeley, El Cerrito Area? What is the going hourly rate? Also, has anyone heard of the Slingerland Method and if there are any programs in the area? Thank you. anonymous


My 11 yo son sees Kristen Hawkinson. She's on Ashbury in El Cerrito. We really like her and my son really loves her cause she has 2 great dogs and they get to be part of the therapy. My son has reading difficulties and thought organization. She's helped him a lot this year with organizing his work among other things. Her number is 526-8701. When I was looking for someone last spring most of the ed. T's I called were booked but they usually gave me someone elses number to try...eventually I found Kristen who had summer openings and then into fall. good luck. anon
Go the website www.aetonline.org. You will find a list of educational therapists in your area. They should be able to talk about Slingerland (www.slingerland.org) as well as other multi-sensory approaches. Oakland Ed. Therapist

Educational Therapist to work with 12-year-old

Feb 2006

I'm looking for a patient, creative educational therapist to work with my 12 year old on core issues such as math concepts, organization, etc. Recommendations please! mother of math hater


My 12-year-old daughter has worked with Alan Perlberg for three years. He has helped her immensely to get over her fear of math and her feeling that she just can't get it. Alan also works with her on organization, and serves as a general academic coach. He has initiated meetings with her teachers and the school's learning specialist. He is a kind and caring man, and my daughter really vaules her time with him. You can reach Alan at aperl[at]juno.com anon
I have sent my son to Educational Services Associates for 3 years for fine motor challenges in writing, organization and writing skills. He is a gifted child who needed help accessing his abilities and learning new skills to work around the challenges. ESA works with children of all ages and challenges. All of the kids love it there. They are treated with respect and have fun there. The kids may come in grumpy with their parent(s), but they leave after their sessions happy and empowered. Ann Gordon is the director and her staff are all wonderful. I highly recommend them. ESA is located at 230 Grand Avenue in Oakland, next to Lake Merritt and St. Paul's. The phone number is 510 -873-0801. You may contact me if you wish to talk more about further. Good luck. tola
I recommend Linda Lawton. You can find her listing on the UC Parents website (Oct. 8 2005), and also several parent recommendations of her services. I am an early childhood teacher, and have known Linda as professional collegue since 1980. She is caring, conscientious, and knowledgeable. Paula

Tutor to help dyslexic/APD child learn to read

June 2005

I'm looking for a literacy tutor who can help a child with dyslexia and APD learn to read. I'd like someone who can give me guidance on how to work with my daughter as well as meet with her.


I think it's admirable that you want to work with you child. That didn't work for us because our son got very emotional and was easily frustrated when we did much beyond homework with him. Also, we realized that when you hire an academic therapist, you have someone who can help you navigate the LD maze at school and at home. Finally, I think it's helpful to work with someone close by so they can attend parent/teacher conferences and/or IEP meetings at your son's school.

Here are three resources I can recommend to find someone in your area who can work with your son:

(1) There is a wonderful section on how to locate, screen, and work with Academic Therapists on this website: http://www.dyslexia-ncbida.org/resources.html

(2) One of the first Educational Therapists I consulted with had great things to say about the Reading Revolution program. I found them to be a bit cheaper than going with a private ed therapist but they didn't have any clinics near our home. Their main clinic is in Walnut Creek. They also have a center in Oakland. http://www.readingrevolution.com/CENTERS/locations.php

(3) Pam Scribner is the Director of the New Learning Clinic at UC Extension. Her phone number is 643-8727. We called her, gave her our zip code, and she gave me phone numbers for 3 educational therapists in our area. Be prepared to pay $60-80/hour for someone who has a Master's in Special Ed and a good amount of experience.

Best of luck with your journey!


Educational therapist for 10-year-old

Sept 2003

I am looking for recommendations for educational therapists for my 10 year old daughter. I have been given these names: Linda Baker, Sabina Aurolia, Harriet Finkelstein and Marian Marshall. I'm looking for experiences with these folks and any other Educational Therapists in the East Bay (Berkeley, etc) --Searching Mom


Dr.Ann Gordon of Educational Services Associates is the best Educational Therapist I know of in the East Bay Area. She is amazingly wise, kind and respectful when it comes to children. The number is 873-0801 and her business is located on Grand Avenue in Oakland. Good luck! beh
Marion Marshall was involved in an evaluation of our son. She told us she believed he had attention deficit disorder, although he did not appear to have the symptoms that I read about. When we had him tested by a psychologist, it turned out that he was normal in every way except for his IQ, which was quite high. When we gave the results to Ms. Marshall, she downplayed the test results and started talking about problems with his ''emotional intelligence'', yet did not offer any helpful suggestions. I believe she did not really understand or like my son and that clouded her judgment. I would not recommend her for bright children. anon

Earlier Recommendations

May 2001

We had had Pam Brandau as our educational consultant in 1999 (for a very difficult child). We found out this year she was no longer doing the same kind of educational consultating. However, she recommended Susan Skelton, in San Jose (phone 408-296-5757). The two know each other well and work very similarly. We used Susan's services recently and were very pleased. While San Jose is a long way to go, we only needed to meet with her once and everything else was done by phone, mail or email. Debbie (May 2001)


Pam Brandeau, 547-1334, is an educational consultant used successfully by our extended family to help a bright child who did well until BHS and then promptly went down all the wrong roads. Pam helped find an appropriate school and the "child" has now graduated, won early admission to the college of her choice, and is a freshman there.
I want to second the recommendation for Pam Brandau as a college counselor/educational consultant. My son and I have only seen her once, but I felt she was the right person for him, has a lot of experience with kids who don't fit in the usual "box" and are taking a different route. She seemed to bring out the best in him and he liked her, too. The only problem is that she is very busy and it is hard to reach her. Miriam
I have worked with Pam Brandau, Educational Consultant, and was very pleased with her services. Her fees seem reasonable by comparison to other consultants and I had heard good things about her from other parents. I was consulting her for advice on boarding schools for teens. Linnea
Pam Brandau Educational Resources (510) 834-4924
Can't say enough good things about Pam Brandau. She treats kids very respectfully, seems genuinely interested in them as people, determines their strong points, and keeps herself current on what's available. What a relief it was to find someone who thinks creatively and advocates for the best possible solution for your child's educational and emotional needs. Celia
From ML
With my daughter, we went to Nancy Colbert in Oakland and liked her. Her phone number is 531-8789.

Michael Connor

Re: Troubled daughter has stopped going to school (Jan. 2002)
to the person asking for information on wilderness programs etc. let me suggest you go to this web site and then get in touch with michael connor, he helped our family. http://www.education-options.com good luck joann

Susan Skelton

We had had Pam Brandau as our educational consultant in 1999 (for a very difficult child). We found out this year she was no longer doing the same kind of educational consultating. However, she recommended Susan Skelton, in San Jose (phone 408-296-5757). The two know each other well and work very similarly. We used Susan's services recently and were very pleased. While San Jose is a long way to go, we only needed to meet with her once and everything else was done by phone, mail or email. Debbie (May 2001)
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