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Specialized Educational Services, LLC

Educational Therapy & Tutoring, Advocacy, Consultation, Assessment

(717) 717-891-4201     






What is the difference between Phonics and Multisensory Structured Language Instruction?


        The difference between a traditional phonics program and one that is research and based on Orton-Gillingham method is that it relies pretty much only on matching sounds and symbols.  There is no set structure or order to presenting each phoneme.  They also do not necessarily teach encoding and decoding together, which is extremely important.  Spelling is often considered secondary to reading and children are often expected to be behind in spelling vs reading.  There is a high reliance on visual memory in these traditional phonics programs.  

        In a structured language program, components are clearly and directly introduced in a very specific manner that is intended to maintain fidelity of the program.  This means taught in the exact way it was written, each and every time.  These programs typically require advanced training and professional certification.  They are not simply meant for a lay person to pick up and use.  Training is provided in how to meet the needs of a variety of learning disorders and include ways to remediate them.  Phonology and phonological awareness, sound-symbol association, syllable instruction, morphology, syntax and semantics are all included in the instruction in very specific ways.  Simultaneous visual, auditory, kinesthetic and tactile (VAKT) systematic, cumulative, direct and diagnostic teaching is used.  There are several respected programs that are available.  These programs ALWAYS focus on treating each child and their needs individually.  


What is the difference between Educational Therapy and Typical Tutoring?


        An educational therapist approaches a student's needs with a much higher intensity and careful individualized program in order to provide remediation and treatment.  It is a careful diagnostic/prescriptive approach to remediation, rather than assisting with homework or in only one subject.  An educational therapist looks at the student holistically and considers the impact of their learning issues and builds a treatment plan carefully based on their needs.  The therapist assists with increasing self esteem and finding resources to assist the student and their family in the community.  The therapist often works with a range of complimentary professionals such as teachers, psychologists, psychiatrists, occupational therapists, speech pathologists and physical therapists to create a team of professionals.  An educational therapist has an extensive background of experience and education in a variety of educational needs. Check out the link on the resource page to find out more.


What is a Non-Verbal Learning Disability?  

Typically these students do well with memorization tasks.  They can be expert word readers and spellers.  They may have no difficulty learning their math facts.  However, these are the kids that do not see the forest for the trees.  They don't see the big picture.  They often have difficulty with comprehension, organizing their thoughts, higher order thinking skills, picking up on social cues, and math concepts and word problems. 

Sometimes they also have difficulty with visual spatial issues, things like personal space, or clumsiness.  To learn more check out the resource page. 



Back to School

Are you looking for ways to make this year more successful?  Here are a few suggestions.  Organization is key to success.  Make sure your student has all of the tools for success.  Does your student have a good planner?  This is essential.  There are several really good paper planners out there that help students stay organized and on top of their assignments.  Despite all of the online calendars and planners, sometimes a good old fashioned paper planner is best. We recommend Order out of Chaos..check it out:  

 Does your student have a specific work area for doing homework?  Having a designated area that best meets your student's needs is imperative.  Does your student schedule their time to include homework time?  Research shows that students following a routine for time and place for homework leads to success.  If your student has an IEP, be sure to review it prior to the start of school and make sure everything is in place at the start.  Starting the year out with a team meeting is often a great way to forge trust and a relationship with your student's school team and to make sure everyone is on the same page.  Wishing everyone a great start to the school year!  



Wonderful teacher & advocate. Knowledgeable in educating any child despite the need to learn differently.  K.V.  


Children blossom with Miss Blossom!  She is knowledgeable, caring and funny!  I.F.


Soon after starting my 9 year old son with Miss Blossom, I decided to bring his older brother too. In just a few months time, I noticed tremendous improvement in their reading. The boys have noticed too and have much more confidence. I have done research on reading programs, and I really like how her program is based on Orton-Gillingham. My oldest is slow to trust teachers, but they have formed a very nice relationship. My youngest was won over by her positive personality, praise, and sticker and star rewards immediately.  M.R. 











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