Tips for Choosing a Tutor for a Student with Learning Disabilities

If you are like most parents, you probably have dreams of your child excelling in his studies and going off to a top college (hopefully on scholarship!), where he will lay the foundation for professional success. Certain aspects of school can be hard enough for a ‘’normal’’ student, but when you throw a disability into the mix, like dyslexia or ADHD, you may find your child is really, truly struggling with his studies. The personal one-on-one attention provided by a private tutor may be a necessity and here are some tips for selecting the best person for the job.

What Type of Private Tutoring?

When it comes to private tutoring, there are a few different routes you can go. Regardless, it is important to seek out a tutor who is skilled in working with children like yours. There are proven techniques for improving the academic performance of children with various types of learning disabilities and you want someone well-versed in these strategies. In some instances, you might consider employing an educational therapist or a learning specialist as she has a specialized skill set and the type of experience that you may not be able to find in a regular tutor.
For most people, the ideal scenario is a private tutor who will work with your child in the home or in another location—these are most often teachers or college students in educational programs; tutoring centers can also be a good option—depending on the center, the program may or may not be as customized to your particular child’s needs; some, however, may do diagnostic testing to develop a more customized plan. If your location makes it difficult to get face-to-face tutoring or you cannot seem to find the right candidate for the job, there are many online tutoring programs where your child will communicate with the tutor through video conferencing or headsets. Ultimately, you need to determine what type of tutoring will work best for your child.

Reach Out to the School

The school is a good place to start when it comes to finding a private tutor for your child. Your child’s teacher may have some solid recommendations—there may even be a list compiled by the school district or the individual school. It is important to do your homework on potential tutors found this way as the qualifications for getting on the list can be as simple as filling in an application. Check if they have been screened first and always get references. If your child goes to a Title I school that has not met the minimum progress requirements set forth by the No Child Left Behind Act for the third straight year, your child may qualify for free tutoring. On a related note, once you have picked a tutor, it is important to work with your child’s teacher to get input on what she should be working on—perhaps, the teacher can provide materials that will help the tutor.

Get Your Child Involved

For children with learning disabilities, school can be very frustrating and the idea of even more work with a tutor may be less than appealing; but, if you involve your child in the process, you may find he becomes more amenable to the suggestion. Start off with a frank discussion of why you and the teacher think he would benefit from working with a tutor and how you think a tutor would help him. When deciding on a tutor, allow your child to meet with potential candidates to see how they get along. If he has some input into the decision, he will feel much better about the situation.
Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who has covered various education topics; she recommends visiting the School Tutoring Academy for information on their tutoring programs.
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