NILD Educational Therapy®
The National Institute for Learning Development Educational Therapy is an individualized intervention program for students with mild to moderate learning disabilities. NILD Therapy strengthens the underlying causes of the learning diﬃculties, rather than simply treating the symptoms as tutoring does. Students in one-on-one and group therapy become competent, conﬁdent learners. They gain mastery over their cognitive vulnerabilities, and hone their cognitive strengths for success in the classroom and life.
What is NILD Educational Therapy?
“NILD Educational Therapy® involves one-on-one or small group, weekly interventions. These cognitive development sessions, rooted in research, use interactive language in a dynamic way. A variety of materials and techniques are used to develop thinking and processing information. NILD Educational Therapy® uses explicit and intentional instruction as therapists focus each session on the individual needs of students. As a result of this unique intervention, core academic skills, independent thinking skills, reasoning, questioning skills, and self-regulation are developed and strengthened.” – We focus on the person and the potential, NILD brochure
The Discovery Program® is an educational therapy program of the National Institute for Learning Development, NILD. The fundamental goals are based on the evidence that thinking is connected to learning resulting in continuing achievement and success in the classroom and beyond. This NILD program develops student’s academic skills in reading, spelling, math, and written expression skills by enhancing his or her thinking and problem solving skills. Additionally, executive function, processing speed, auditory and visual perception, and dysgraphia are addressed and mediated through continued therapy. Educational therapy, on average, requires three years. Students can sometimes complete the program in less time and others may need additional time.
NILD Educational Therapy® is:
- Non-tutorial: Learning skills are addressed, not specific content
- Integrative: Stimulating both perceptual and academic skills
- Individual and Intense: Affecting cognitive change through skilled mediation
- All-Age Inclusive: Enhancing thinking for individuals at all stages of life
What testing or evaluation does the NILD Educational Therapy® require prior to intervention?
A student is required to have an initial psycho-educational evaluation before entering NILD Educational Therapy®. This assists in tailoring a student’s sessions to the specific needs of him or her. The educational therapist also administers a series of tests to gain a deeper understanding of each students learning strengths and challenges.
In addition, annual evaluations are administered to determine the effectiveness of the therapy intervention. The annual evaluation guides the therapist in establishing future learning goals.
How is Educational Therapy Different from Tutoring?
The focus of NILD Educational Therapy® is the development of clear, efficient thinking. Students are given learning tools to enable them to overcome specific learning weaknesses. Tutoring typically focuses on content while educational therapy builds efficient learning processes while developing skills. This enables students to retain the content more efficiently and effectively. NILD Educational Therapy® teaches students how to think rather than what to think. – www.discoveryprogram-inc.com
Is My Child a Candidate for this Program?
If a student is showing frustration or difficulty at school in areas such as spelling, reading, math, an inability to express thoughts either verbally or in writing, and demonstrating illegible handwriting even after assistance, he or she is exhibiting common indicators of a learning disability. Many times, parents will often find that their child takes an inordinate amount of time with homework even though accommodations have been made in the classroom. This typically results in more questions than answers and concerns regarding their child’s progress. The first step is to schedule an appointment with a school psychologist. The Academic Link works with school psychologists, educational consultants, and pediatricians who can assist parents in completing and understanding educational assessments and identifying the causes for a student’s struggles.
How & Why Does the Program Work?
- Interactive Language: Therapists ask students to explain the process they use to solve a problem or answer a question. Discussion between teacher and student are critical for success.
- Dynamic Intervention: NILD therapists use a variety of concrete, visual, and auditory materials to improve learning. These non-linguistic instructional techniques improve learning.
- Development of Core Academic Skills & Thinking Abilities: “Basic academic skills and cognitive functions are directly taught to establish the foundation for higher order thinking and reasoning.” – We focus on the data and the development, NILD brochure
- Explicit and Intentional Intervention: Students receive explicit instruction of material which provides the cognitive support they require.
- Reasoning: Critical thinking is at the heart of learning. Students are taught to question, hypothesize, and then move from specific thinking to more general thinking.
- Questioning: “Questions help students identify missing information.” – Marzano
- Guided Practice: Therapists guide students to access prior knowledge, to connect that prior knowledge to new concepts. Guided cumulative review coupled with specific questions leads to success.
- Feedback: Students receive immediate and specific feedback. The students and the therapist relate the feedback to the learning objectives. This strategy increases students’ achievement.
- Self-Regulation: NILD intervention teaches students how to self-regulate through frustrations, difficult challenges, impulsivity, and their thinking which is a skill necessary for any successful learner.
- Application: “As students gain competence through systematic and intentional instruction, confidence grows and encourages the transfer of the skills learned to the classroom as well as life.” – NILD brochure
Who is an NILD Educational Therapist?
An NILD educational therapist is an individual who holds a bachelor’s (or higher) degree in education or a related field and has been trained by NILD to work with students who have learning difficulties. This person is a trained professional holding or working toward NILD Professional Certification as an educational therapist (PCET).
The NILD Educational Intervention Program is accredited by the International Dyslexia Association
“Following an in-depth review of NILD’s program using the International Dyslexia Association Knowledge and Practice Standards, we are pleased to report that IDA recognizes your program.” Suzanne Carreker, Chair of IDA Professional Development Committee