Akron tutors special education

We Provide Akron Tutors and Homeschool Help for Kids With Special Needs

Our Akron tutors know that no two students learn the exact same way. Yet classroom instruction across Ohio is largely uniform and rigid. That can lead a lot of headaches and heartaches – especially if a child has disabilities, developmental delays, or some other medical diagnosis (Down’s syndrome, cerebral palsy, autism, ADHD, etc.) that often correlates to academic difficulty.

But even when parents know their child is not thriving in the public education system, they may feel powerless because they lack the time and resources to be able to homeschool them or the experience to effectively tutor them.

With the new 2022-2023 school year soon upon us, it’s a good time to remind parents and caregivers in Northeast Ohio that there are academic supports available for your child, as well as alternatives to either the traditional education model, homeschool at home, or virtual school.

At Therapy & Wellness Connection, our highly-qualified and specially credentialed teachers provide tutoring and homeschool instruction to kids with special needs at our Brecksville clinic.

Homeschool classes are held each weekday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in our clinic. Our flexible, project-based curriculum takes your child’s unique learning style into account – while still meeting state standards and goals. In addition to core subjects like English, Math and Science, we also offer dance, music, and equine therapy. And all this is on top of the speech, occupational, and ABA therapy services we offer. We also provide before-and-after care.

Akron tutors offer academic help for kids with special needs in Northeast Ohio.

Our tutors (who provide assistance in reading, math, and handwriting) are all certified in the Wilson Language Training program. If you’re not familiar, it’s essentially a multi-sensory approach geared toward helping kids with learning disorders like dyslexia and conditions associated with delays and other challenges.

Educational programs at TWC are overseen by intervention specialists who have earned master’s degrees specifically studying how to design differentiated studies for kids with IEPs (individualized education plans). These professionals are employed full-time at local school districts, but are contracted by TWC to develop individualized lesson plans specifically for each of our students.

No More Battling With the School District to Do What’s Right for Your Child

“Part of the reason I decided early on to prioritize special education alternatives and supports at my clinic was because I had heard so many horror stories from parents who had been battling for years with their child’s school district to get even basic accommodations – let alone the tools they needed to thrive,” Therapy & Wellness Connection Owner/Founder Jaclyn McClymont said. “I wanted to be a resource to help these kids and these families finally get the kind of individualized, enriching education experience that would allow them not simply to get to the next grade level, but to truly reach their best potential.”

Our Akron tutors provide a safe, supportive environment that balances learning with fun and opportunities to more actively learn through discovery and exploration, rather than requiring them to sit still and stare at a chalkboard all day.

We teach kids of all ages and all abilities, allowing them to learn successfully at their own pace. We use lots of visual calendars, songs, graphic organizers, etc. Tasks get broken up into smaller, more manageable components that optimize both success and retention.

If you have questions about our services, we’re happy to provide answers & insight!

Additional Resources:

Frequently Asked Questions About Homeschooling, Ohio Department of Education

More Blog Entries:

How Brecksville Homeschooling Can Benefit Kids With Special Needs, September 2020, Akron Tutors and Alternative Homeschooling Blog

Akron speech therapists learning disabilities

How Akron Speech Therapists Can Help Kids With Learning Disabilities

Learning disabilities are disorders that impact one’s ability to:

  • Understand or use spoken or written language.
  • Complete mathematical calculations and equations.
  • Coordinate movements.
  • Direct attention.
  • Engage in higher-level skills like time planning, abstract reasoning, organization, and long/short-term memory.

The term “learning disabilities” isn’t a singular issue or disorder, but rather a catch-all for more specific conditions, such as dysgraphia, dyslexia, ADHD, etc.

Because all this can have a negative impact not only in academics, but on social relationships, it’s important for parents and caregivers to reach out for help – the sooner the better. This may include tutoring and other educational supports. In some cases, speech therapy and occupational therapy can help too.

As our Akron speech therapists can explain, a learning disability does not necessarily mean a child has a low intelligence quotient (IQ). In fact, most people with learning disabilities are either average or above-average intelligence. (This is part of what sets these kids apart from those with a global developmental delay.) conditions stem from genetic and/or neurobiological factors that impact brain functioning to the extent that one or more cognitive processes related to learning are impeded.

Kids with learning disabilities tend to have unexpected underachievement, despite receiving a lot of support. Their conditions are life-long, but the earlier we can intervene, the greater likelihood we can help redirect those neuro pathways in the brain.

Using evidence-based techniques, our speech therapists will identify the different language-based skill deficits (i.e., oral language, information processing, attention, memory, reading, and writing) and engage the child in various exercises (in the form of games) to help boost their performance in ways that carry over to the classroom.

Consistent, early intervention speech therapy can help kids with different learning abilities become more capable of receptive language (understood what’s being communicated with them) and expressive language (communicating with others).

Occupational therapy can help in these areas too, as well as practicing things like organization skills, attention and self-regulation, and handwriting. We also offer social groups for kids of all ages to provide more opportunities to practice social-emotional learning. Where it is beneficial, we may also recommend classroom adaptations to better accommodate the child’s learning style.

It’s long been the motto of our therapists and homeschool educators and tutors at Therapy & Wellness Connection that if kids aren’t learning the way we teach, we need to teach the way they learn.

Therapy & Wellness Connection – your connection to a life without limitations – provides speech therapy to children in Akron, Cleveland, Brecksville-Broadview Heights and surrounding communities. We also offer summer camp, day programs, education services, vocational counseling and more. Call us at (330) 748-4807 or send us an email.

Additional Resources:

Types of Learning Disabilities, Learning Disabilities Association of America

More Blog Entries:

Why Our Cleveland Speech Therapists Teach Kids How to Make Inferences, June 14, 2022, Akron Speech Therapy Clinic Blog

Ohio kindergarten readiness

Ohio Kindergarten Readiness Skills: Is Your Child Developmentally Ready?

Kindergarten is the new first grade. At least that’s been the conclusion after research the last few years into Ohio kindergarten readiness and standard developmental milestones that public schools expect kids to have by the time they start school.

Our Cleveland occupational therapists and homeschool teachers at Therapy & Wellness Connection are familiar with this research, including a longitudinal study that came out more than a decade ago compared kindergarten readiness standards in 1998 to those in 2010. They found that the standards for entering kindergarten in 2010 were on par with what was expected of first-graders in the 1990s. For example, in 1998, about less than one-third of teachers thought their students should know how to read entering kindergarten. By 2010, that figure jumped to a whopping 80 percent. Researchers expressed astonishment at the magnitude of changes in classroom expectations just in this 20-year window.

Standards for Ohio kindergarten readiness have only continued to climb. It’s one of the reasons our occupational therapists and intervention specialists are such ardent preachers of early intervention therapies if it appears a young child is falling behind developmentally. The sooner developmental delays and issues are addressed, the less farther behind they will continue to fall. They won’t have as much “catching up” to do by the time they reach kindergarten age.

Ohio kindergarten readiness speech therapists Cleveland occupational therapists

What is Required for Ohio Kindergarten Readiness?

Every year, public school districts are in the Buckeye State are required to administer the Ohio Kindergarten Readiness Assessment Revised (KRA-R) to all first-time kindergarten students at the start of each school year. The test is not traditional pencil and paper, but rather looks at the child’s knowledge and abilities across four areas: Language and Literacy, Mathematics, Physical Well-being and Motor Development, and Social Foundations.

Some of what proctors are assessing:

  • Language and Literacy: Make predictions/ask questions about the text of interactive read-alouds after looking at the title, cover, illustrations/photos, graphic aids or texts.
  • Math: Count to identify how many objects in a set, compare categories with comparisons vocabular (greater than/less than, same/equal to, etc.).
  • Social Skills: Can interact with peers in pretend play, plan and coordinate roles and cooperation.
  • Physical Well-Being and Motor Development: Demonstrate locomotor skills with control, coordination, and balance during active play (hopping, jumping, running, etc.)

Your child’s scores on this test are going to determine how ready they are for kindergarten instruction, though it can’t be used to prohibit them from starting. But kids who develop stronger age appropriate behaviors, skill, and knowledge when they start kindergarten are going to be more likely to excel on their academic track.

Developmental Milestones to Pay Attention to as Your Child Approaches Kindergarten

Developmental delays of all ages should be promptly addressed at the time you notice them, some developmental milestones you should pay careful attention to as your child reaches kindergarten age:

  • Do they speak clearly? Kids need to have a base-level of communication in order to thrive in kindergarten. They need to be able to articulate their thoughts clearly and be able to understand when others are communicating with them. Not only will this help academically, but will help them to form stronger connections with their peers. If your child is approaching kindergarten and struggles forming sounds or words, seems confused when directions are given, doesn’t ask questions like other kids their age, or otherwise seem delayed, they may need some additional help. Speech-language disorders are pretty common around preschool age, but it’s a good idea to seek a consultation with a speech therapist if this is the case.
  • Do they understand questions? It’s important that kids are able to understand how to ask basic who-what-when-where-why questions, and be able to answer them in return.
  • Do they recognize their numbers and letters? They don’t necessarily need to have a mastery of the alphabet or be doing algebra, but schools will typically expect them to know how to count to 10 and understand basic math concepts (greater/less than, etc.). And they should be able to recognize most letters and associate sounds with some of them.
  • Do they understand the basic concept of time? This is a tough one for a lot of kids, but it’s not really about being able to tell time. Your child should, however, have a basic understanding of before, now, soon, yesterday, tomorrow, later, etc.
  • Can they tell a story? They’re not expected to be little Shakespeares, but they should be able to tell simple stories with what most would recognize as a beginning, middle, and end.
  • Can they recognize patterns? Can they recognize patterns in shapes, sizes, numbers? This will be important to basic math concepts.
  • Do they have basic fine motor skills? They don’t necessarily need to know exactly how to hold a pencil and write when they enter kindergarten, but they should be able to pick up a marker and reliably make marks on the paper. If your child is struggling with these skills, take time to practice with them every day – coloring, using utensils, pouring juice, etc. to help them build up their muscle strength and coordination. (There are TONS of fun crafts too that require fine motor skills that you can incorporate too. The more fun you make it, the faster your child will learn!)

Keep in mind that all kids develop at different rates. If your child hasn’t reached every single milestone, that’s Ok. A little extra practice may go a long way. But if you find they’re still struggling the closer you get to kindergarten age, you may want to talk to your pediatrician about a consultation with a speech therapist and/or occupational therapist to help bolster these skills. We want them ready to take on the world!

Therapy & Wellness Connection – your connection to a life without limitations – provides speech therapy to children in Akron, Cleveland, Brecksville-Broadview Heights and surrounding communities. We also offer summer camp, day programs, education services, vocational counseling and more. Call us at (330) 748-4807 or send us an email.

Additional Resources:

Ohio Kindergarten Readiness Assessment, Ohio Department of Education

More Blog Entries:

Late Talkers” Who Get Early Intervention Speech Therapy Have Better Long-Term Outcomes, April 13, 2022, Cleveland Speech Therapy & Occupational Therapy Blog

Cleveland autism diagnosis

5 To-Dos After Cleveland Autism Diagnosis

Cleveland autism diagnosis

A Cleveland autism diagnosis can leave parents reeling – even when it’s something you’ve been expecting as you awaited the results of ADOS testing and other examinations. Sometimes, it can feel like something of a relief. You finally have answers. But there’s also the daunting next question: What now?

Parents face a lot of uncertainties, siblings may not understand (or may have much anxiety if they do), and the child who was diagnosed may not yet understand the implications – but can still sense shifts in emotional tone throughout the home.

Autism, more formally known as Autism Spectrum Disorder, or ASD, refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by difficulties with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech, and non-verbal communication. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that autism affects 1 in 44 children in the U.S. today. Our dedicated team of speech therapists, ABA therapists, occupational therapists, and educators offers help to families in Cleveland, Brecksville, Broadview Heights, and Akron.

No. 1: Breathe

The very first thing to do after a Cleveland autism diagnosis is BREATHE. Autism is a lifelong condition – and that in itself can feel very intimidating as you contemplate your next steps. But know that in most cases, the symptoms can be managed. Behaviors can be managed with help. Your child can lead a long, healthy, meaningful, successful life.

You have already taken the very hardest step in all of this, which is seeking professional intervention when you recognized something wasn’t quite right. You persisted in pursuing answers – even when you knew the answers might pose challenges you might not feel ready to face. You did this because you love your child.

Now that they have an autism diagnosis, give yourself a few beats to catch your breath, acknowledge your own feelings, and prepare yourself for the next chapter. Your engagement and advocacy will be pivotal to your child’s success, and it’s important that you’re in a good mental/emotional space to do so. Online support groups through Facebook and other social media channels can be especially helpful as you embark on this journey.

No. 2: Explore Early Intervention

The next/first step is to get help. Your options may vary depending on your child’s age. Do not worry that your child may be too young. A child can receive a Cleveland autism diagnosis as young as 18 months, and early intervention therapies are strongly recommended to start before a child turns 3.

In Northeast Ohio, we have a program called Help Me Grow for infants and toddlers birth to age 3 with a medical diagnosis or developmental delay, as well as for families concerned about their child’s development. They help work on things like speech delays, social interaction help with other kids, etc.

Services and specialists may include:

  • occupational therapy
  • speech therapy
  • physical therapy
  • developmental specialist
  • early childhood mental health therapy
  • registered dietician
  • vision and hearing specialists

You may need to obtain a referral to early intervention from your pediatrician or pediatric specialist. In Cuyahoga County, it takes about 45 days from the referral to complete the eligibility, assessment, individual family service plan, and then finally the beginning of early intervention services. There has been something of a backlog since COVID, so it’s a good idea to get this process started as soon as possible.

Cleveland autism resources

No. 3: Start Looking at Private Therapy

Early intervention is provided as a public service. But children with autism can also benefit from private therapy services. In the beginning, the schedule of these services may be intensive, ultimately tapering off as they reach their goals and milestones.

Children with autism are often referred for a combination of therapy services, including:

  • Speech Therapy
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Applied Behavioral Analysis (also known as ABA or behavior therapy)

Therapy & Wellness Connection offers all of these – and more – and insurance covers most if not all of these services if your child has been diagnosed with autism. We can provide these services in-clinic, in-home, and sometimes in school or daycare. Some patients may be eligible to receive some of these services via teletherapy.

The key with these services is consistency. Intensive therapy, particularly early on, can feel a bit overwhelming when it’s 3-4 times a week (longer stretches with ABA therapy), but showing up and being actively engaged in the carryover is important.

If your child is school-age, the school should begin the process of drafting an IEP, or individualized education plan. If you find ultimately that your child’s school and IEP fail to serve their best interests, there are scholarships available to enroll them in private education, with teachers who will teach the way they learn. Therapy & Wellness Connection offers homeschooling and other education services with credentialed special teachers and intervention specialists.

No. 4: Engage With a Social Skills Group

Among the most significant deficits many kids on the autism spectrum face are communication and social skills. They’re going to need as much practice as they can – early and often. And it’s a lot of pressure to just put on a sibling or two. Joining a Cleveland social skills group for kids with autism can help them make significant strides.

We offer several different social skills groups, sorted by age, at our Brecksville clinic. These include:

  • Say-n-Play. This is an awesome group that focuses on social interactions and activities like crafts, songs, games, and books. It helps children with speech-language difficulties, but also following directions and engaging with others in a group setting.
  • OT Group. This focuses on zones of regulation, social interaction, and skills of daily life. We take fun “field trips,” play games, and work on group projects.
  • Thrive Social Center Courses. These include everything from learning social boundaries to getting along with friends to teens & technology, to young adult groups.

This extra support will help prepare kids for real-world scenarios and interactions, helping them make friends, stay safe, and be included.

No. 5: Learn to Listen Without Your Ears.

If your child has received a Cleveland autism diagnosis and is non-verbal or speech-delayed, it can be very frustrating to know what they want, what they don’t want, how you can help, and how to parent them. But just because they aren’t talking doesn’t mean they aren’t communicating. Remember that behavior itself is a form of communication, and kids on the spectrum may be engaging in “unexpected” behaviors to communicate wants, needs, or aversions.

ABA Therapy is extremely helpful in addressing unexpected behaviors and promoting those that are expected and helpful. Speech therapy can help with non-verbal communication, articulation, and social pragmatics. Occupational therapy can help kids tackle critical life skills like self-regulation, measuring the size of a problem, diversifying their diet, self-care, etc.

But in the meantime, recognize that just because they aren’t talking doesn’t mean they don’t have anything to say. You may be your child’s voice for the foreseeable future. It’s important to try your best to engage them at every opportunity, and understand what’s NOT being said.

Therapy & Wellness Connection – your connection to a life without limitations – provides ABA therapy to children in Brecksville-Broadview Heights, Cleveland, Akron, and surrounding communities. We also offer summer camp, day programs, education services, vocational counseling and more. Call us at (330) 748-4807 or send us an email.

Additional Resources:

What is Autism? AutismSpeaks.com

More Blog Entries:

Cleveland ABA Therapy Strategies, May 5, 2022, Cleveland Autism Treatment Blog

Brecksville homeschooling special needs

How Brecksville Homeschooling Can Benefit Kids With Special Needs

Many children with disabilities and special needs struggle with the traditional school structure. Kids with ADHD often need shorter lessons and tests that aren’t timed. Children with Down syndrome might need accommodations for reading, writing, and testing. Kids with dyslexia can benefit from assistive technology and books on tape. Those on the autism spectrum can benefit from visual aids and other accommodations. Brecksville homeschooling and alternative schooling solutions can make all the difference in helping these kids to learn, grow, and thrive.

Ending Unproductive Schooling Cycles

Parents sometimes spend years battling their local school district for a curriculum that is effective for their child with special needs. Many schools expect children to learn the way they teach. For many kids – particularly those who aren’t neurotypical – the more effective strategy is to teach the way they learn.

Effective homeschool and alternative school solutions are available right at our Brecksville-Broadview Heights clinic, where we also offer speech therapy, occupational therapy, and ABA therapy, as well as social groups, day programs, vocational assistance and more.

An effective homeschool/alternative school solution for your child is one that is going to allow your child:

  • To progress at his/her own pace.
  • Build on existing reading, writing and math skills.
  • Offer an appropriate level of challenge and accommodation, depending on the child’s unique skillsets.
  • The ability to actively learn through exploration and discovery.
  • A safe, supportive environment in which to learn new skills.
  • The ability to balance learning with fun.