Educational Therapy and Executive Function

Teaching executive function strategies to students with learning differences isn’t easy! So it’s no surprise that parents often turn to specialists to work one-on-one with students who struggle in school. An increasingly popular option is to work with an educational therapist, but what exactly is educational therapy and how does it relate to executive function?

An educational therapist is a professional who combines both educational and therapeutic approaches. Educational therapists help students with learning differences by addressing weaknesses in executive function, reading, social skills, and sensory integration problems, as well as academic skills. A qualified educational therapist can also assist with case management, assessment, and advocacy. The hallmark of an educational therapist, however, is the therapeutic relationship that allows the student to face the emotional aspects of the challenges he or she faces.

Educational therapy presents an ideal setting to address executive function weaknesses.

  • The educational therapist can serve as a role model, demonstrating the successful application of executive function strategies.
  • They can also tailor instruction to match the unique executive function profile of strengths and weaknesses of their students.
  • Finally, a good educational therapist knows how to build a student’s metacognitive awareness, which is essential for the development of executive function strategies.


Not all educational therapists are created equal, however. The concept of educational therapy is relatively new; many people claiming to be educational therapists are more akin to tutors and may not have the skills or experience to sustain a therapeutic relationship.

A good educational therapist has both education and experience. Our sister organization, the Institute for Learning and Development, screens their educational therapists, ensuring that each specialist has at least a Master’s degree, more than two years of experience in education, and a proven ability to connect to students with learning differences. Educational therapists certified by the Association of Educational Therapists (AET) are also a safe bet.

To learn more about educational therapy, be sure to explore the resources offered by the AET. They have great resources for parents, teachers, and even professionals interested in becoming certified educational therapists.

And I invite you to join me and Kim Davis, M.Ed., Senior Associate for Research and Teacher Training, for a webinar we will be hosting with AET:

 “Understanding, Assessing, and Teaching Executive Function Strategies.”

July 13, 2017 at 10 a.m. Pacific Time

AET’s webinars are free and open to the public, so please join us!

  • Michael Greschler, M.Ed., SMARTS Director