WHAT IS EDUCATIONAL THERAPY?
Educational Therapy takes place within specialized, one-on-one sessions that are tailored to meet the specific academic needs of the individual student. Various methods are used to optimize the student’s strengths so that they may subsequently be utilized to fortify his or her weaknesses. Because many students need to have concepts broken down into manageable “chunks,” the educational therapist approaches sessions with methodical organization and structure. Educational therapy also focuses on teaching a student compensatory strategies that provide clarity and thereby allow the student to experience success in the classroom and beyond. In addition to academic remediation and the strengthening of the sub-skills that comprise learning, educational therapy can also improve a student’s underlying processing skills so that learning new material can be facilitated.
Educational Therapy sessions are one-on-one, with the educational therapist and student intensively working together for 50 minute sessions. Although it is recommended that a student meets with the educational therapist for a minimum of two sessions per week, each student’s plan will be discussed on a case-by-case basis during the intake session.
Who needs Educational Therapy?
All children have the innate desire to be successful in school. As Mel Levine (a guru in the field of special education) remarks, “laziness is a myth” and “everybody yearns to be productive.” When a child continues to struggle despite parent-teacher interventions or private academic tutoring, he or she should be evaluated for underlying learning deficits by a licensed neuropsychologist or clinical psychologist who specializes in learning issues. Instead of placing blame on a student for not performing in school, it is imperative that the student is evaluated to discover what is thwarting his or her progress. Unfortunately, children do not “outgrow” learning problems, and it is important to begin intervention as soon as possible to mitigate and potentially prevent self-esteem problems and unnecessary daily stress.
Educational Therapy vs. Tutoring vs. Classroom Teaching:
Educational therapy addresses underlying learning skills such as visual and auditory processing, attention and focus, and memory skills. Academic skills such as reading and writing are remediated by teaching strategies necessary for learning to read, write, calculate, and problem solve. An educational therapist has been to graduate and oftentimes post-graduate school in preparations for working with all types of learners.
Tutoring focuses on re-teaching academic subjects and helps with homework. A tutor can be the high school student next door or anyone who is proficient with the subject at hand.
A teacher is responsible for educating a large group of students with varying learning abilities. Although he or she would like to individually work with students who may be having difficulties, time and resources usually do not enable the teacher to do so.
MEET ANDREA CHERNIN - M.ED, ET/P
Educational Therapist / Professional & Clinical Director
Welcome! My name is Andrea Chernin, and I am a Professional Educational Therapist and the Clinical Director of Illuminate Educational Therapy Group - a private practice located in both Santa Monica and in Calabasas, California.
I grew up in Calabasas, California and graduated from Calabasas High School. I attended college at UCLA (Go Bruins!) and majored in Psychology with a minor in Public Policy. During college, I was an English Composition, English as a Second Language, and Psychology tutor for my peers at the Academic Advancement Program for historically underrepresented students. I enjoyed the rewarding experience of working one-on-one with students so much that I began my own tutoring private practice.
It was at that point in my life in which I realized that my true passion lies within the realm of education. Thus, I went on to earn my Multiple-Subject Teaching Credential and my Masters degree in Cross-Cultural Education, enabling me to teach 4th grade at Round Meadow Elementary School (the elementary school that I actually went to!) While teaching, I had several students in my class who seemed to learn differently than the other students. I was intrigued by their self-taught compensatory strategies, yet I felt somewhat frustrated that I did not always have the proper metaphorical “tools” to help these learners. Therefore, even though I was extended an offer to continue teaching within the Las Virgenes Unified School District during the following year, I instead decided to further my education by immersing myself in a subset of special education in a field called Educational Therapy.
I finally felt as though I found my ideal niche as I worked toward earning my Post-Masters Certificate in Educational Therapy. In conjunction with my graduation from California State Northridge’s Educational Therapy Certificate Program, I became Bridges Academy’s first Educational Therapy Intern as I worked alongside a well-known educational therapist in the field named Marcy Dann. This invaluable experience combined with my education-rich background primed me to step into a private practice as an Educational Therapist in 2007.
Since then, I have been an active Professional Member of the Association of Educational Therapists and have enjoyed continuing to develop professionally alongside my incredible colleagues. In 2018, our practice has expanded to a second location in Calabasas! I can honestly say that I love what I do, and I look forward to many, many years in the field.
MEET KIM - MA, ET/P
Hey there I'm Kim and I have been working in the field of education for 10 years while focusing on educational therapy for the past three.
I grew up in Sherman Oaks, California and currently live there with my husband and
two young sons. After graduating from high school, I attended college at CSUN, majoring in Psychology. Once I completed my BA in Psychology, I worked in the behavioral therapy field where I frequently found myself in special education classrooms working with a variety of students with multiple needs. During this time, I realized that working with students with learning disabilities was my passion. As such, I enrolled in the CSUN’s Michael D. Eisner College of Education, where I earned my Special Education Teaching Credential.
Part of my training as a teacher was spent at Chime Middle School in Woodland Hills, which is highly acclaimed for the development and implementation of a unique model of inclusive education.
Although I thoroughly enjoyed working with the special education population and found the work to be rewarding and invigorating, I felt that I would be able to benefit students on a deeper level if I provided one-to-one therapy. In order to pursue this, I once again
returned to CSUN to complete my Masters in Educational Therapy. I also worked at the Kaiser Watts Counseling and Learning Center as an Educational Therapy Intern where I had the unique opportunity to help incredible clients from the community at no cost who might not be able to afford educational therapy services otherwise. My time spent at Kaiser was rich in many ways and helped to refine my remediation skills to therefore approach each client in a multifaceted, skilled manner.
As a Professional Member of the Association of Educational Therapists, I continue to engage with each student utilizing patience, optimism, and enthusiasm, and am always eager to learn about new and valuable approaches to better meet the needs of my students.
MEET ANEL - MA, ET/A
Hi, my name is Anel, and from an early age, I knew that I wanted to work to improve the lives of children. After earning a Bachelor of Arts in Child and Adolescent Development from CSUN, I was then afforded the opportunity to become a home visitor for underserved children and promote school readiness within families in a one-on-one instructional setting. As a team leader, the overhead goal was success of the whole child. In my work with these children, I understood that each mind is completely unique, that their families are multifaceted, and that every child learns in a different manner. To continue to adequately support children and their families I earned my Master of Arts in Special Education with a focus in Educational Therapy at CSUN. During the program, I completed two Educational Therapy internships under the supervision of Marcy Dann, a revered Educational Therapist in the field. Additionally, I became an Associate Member of the Association of Educational Therapists to stay connected with colleagues and to always be continuing my education. I am trained in and capable of implementing several math, writing, and reading remediation programs, including Lindamood-Bell’s Visualizing and Verbalizing, the Orton-Gillingham Reading Approach, the Barton Reading and Spelling System, and Step-up to Writing. And as a trained Executive Functioning coach, I enjoy supporting students as they develop skills in areas such as planning, organization, and time management.
I believe wholeheartedly that every child is capable of reaching success when given the opportunity to understand him or herself as a learner. I feel so fortunate to be able to engage in my work with kids each day, helping them realize their potentials by strengthening their stretches, helping them build a growth mindset, teaching them about self-advocacy, and utilizing a breadth of strategies and tools that will help them be the best version of themselves as autonomous learners.
MEET SARAH - MA, ET/A
After graduating from The George Washington University with a Bachelors of Arts in English I began my career traveling the world with Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey doing marketing, sales, and running the show in different arenas before returning to school for my Masters in Education and Teaching Credential from Pepperdine University. I went on to earn my certification in Early Childhood Education from UCLA so that I could teach preschool at Kehilat Israel in Pacific Palisades. Seeing how my students developed in such distinctive and experiential ways showed me the limitless possibilities to be able to teach and engage each child depending on his or her own individual needs. Craving even more knowledge about the way children learn, I matriculated at CSUN's Special Education Program to become an Educational Therapist.
As an Educational Therapist, I am able to fulfill my dream of being a lifelong learner, continually seeking new and exciting ways to capture the attention of my students. On a daily basis, I apply my vast education and unique experiences to help each student reach his or her own potential. I also encourage learning in a fun and stress-free environment using my creativity, charisma, and fun-loving personality.
MEET LISA - JD, MAED Psych.
Hey there, I'm Lisa! I have extensive experience working with students from pre-school age to adult. I graduated from the Pepperdine Graduate School of Education and Psychology with a Master’s in Educational Psychology in 2012. Having volunteered in LAUSD classrooms for many years, I noticed deficits that disproportionately affect students with learning differences in traditional classrooms. After several years working with diverse learners as a one-on-one and small group instructor, I witnessed the increased level of growth students can achieve with specialized instruction tailored to the student’s specific strengths and challenges.
My educational approach focuses on facilitating pro-social emotional regulatory strategies that allow students to be most available for learning. I have experience working with childhood and adolescent trauma, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD/ADHD), Bipolar Disorder (BD), Emotional Disturbance (ED), Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD), Depression, grief, Williams Syndrome, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorder (PANS/PANDAS), Pervasive Developmental Disability (PDD), Dyslexia, Agoraphobia, Anhedonia, visual/spatial/auditory processing delays, anxiety, self-injurious behaviors, and foundlings. I am trained and certified in the SCERTS Model for individuals with social and emotional challenges. I've completed university coursework in English, Political Science and History, as well as graduate coursework in Law and Psychology which I enjoy tutoring in.
Regardless of whether I am presenting to professionals or working one-on-one with K-College students, I share in the success of my students and find our work together very rewarding. I stay up to date on Best Practices in Education and participate in annual professional development opportunities. I have well developed practices for teaching remedial, organizational, executive functioning, social and emotional regulation skills.
I take pride in highly individualized support, educational therapy, curriculum development, student advocacy, social skills groups, remediation, homeschooling and subject-based tutoring services.
MEET GINA - M.ED, ET/A
Hello! I'm Gina. I have over a decade of experience working in the field of education with students ranging from three months through middle school age. I have worked as a teacher in both general education and special education, a tutor, and an educational therapist. Most recently I was working at Ivy Academia where I was the case manager and resource teacher for students who qualify for special education and am continuing to do the same work at Larchmont Charter.
I came into this work serendipitously. While trying to figure out what direction I wanted to take in college I began volunteering at my old elementary school. I worked with students who were struggling and helped them build foundational skills in reading. I fell in love with this work and took any opportunity to continue this work. As a teacher I am committed to making education accessible and equitable for all students. I meet my students where they are and I make learning relevant, relatable, and meaningful.
I attended California State University Northridge. There I earned a BA in Child and Adolescent Development with minors in Art and Psychology, a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential, an Education Specialist Credential, and an MA in Educational Therapy. My education at CSUN focused on creating inclusive learning environments and reimagining how to access learning.
When I am not teaching I love soaking up the sun by being in nature or sitting on the beach. I enjoy going on walks around the city, rock climbing, cooking, photography, drawing, and playing board games and card games. I like listening to music and slam poetry and love going to live shows and open mic nights.
MEET MANNY - MA. SPED., ET
Greetings! My name is Manny, and I am a Professional Educational Therapist. I started working with students who have special needs in 2001 while studying at Pasadena City College. In 2006, I earned my Bachelors Degree from The University of California at Santa Barbara in Political Science and Education with an emphasis in Applied Psychology. My education classes were my favorite, and I knew then that I wanted to work with students toward bettering their academic lives. In 2007, I began to focus my attention on behavioral interventions, independent living, and transitional support. After working consistently with students who needed extra support in and out of the classroom, in 2017, I received my Masters in Special Education - Educational Therapy from Cal State Northridge which empowered me with the tools to better serve my students with learning differences.
I have been fortunate to work with several diagnoses and various abilities. I have experience working with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, Dyslexia, Down Syndrome, Emotional Disturbance, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Depression, Anxiety Disorders, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Processing Disorders, and Seizure Disorders. I have also worked with individuals who engage in self-injurious behavior and those who display defiance, and have found that I thrive in supporting those with complex learning and emotional profiles.
I enjoy creating a strong rapport with my clients while guiding their development in areas such as planning, organization and time management. I am in LOVE with the work I do, and I am strongly committed to creating positive, measurable differences with all of my students.
MEET DR. CHRISTINE- E. ED, M. ED SPED, ET
Hi there, I am Christine, an Educational Specialist, Instructional Coach, Educational Researcher, and Educational Therapist with over 15 years of direct teaching and learner support experience. Working with students throughout the K-college years, as well as working with adult learners, has enabled me to have a positive impact on so many students as they realize their educational goals.
My educational trajectory started with earning a Bachelor's Degree in Sports Medicine. I continued my studies at Old Dominion University in Virginia, earning a Master's Degree in Special Education with endorsements in emotional and behavioral disorders. My interest in twice-exceptional students resulted in obtaining a Postgraduate Professional License in Gifted Education from the University of Virginia. In 2017, while teaching special education full time in the Conejo Valley, I earned a Doctorate in Education from California Lutheran University, under the mentorship of renowned Autism Researcher, Dr. Edlyn Pena.
When working with students, I utilize a strength-based approach, which considers their unique learning profiles. Lessons are individually planned and built around the strengths, interests, talents, and experiences of learners. Making a difference in the lives of students drives my work, and I am continually integrating research-based pedagogy into my practice. My drive to stay current in education research and best practices has led me to pursue specialized training using multi-sensory approaches to learning (Orton-Gillingham & Wilson Reading systems), as well as undergoing targeted training in executive functioning and behavior management.
My students continue to inspire and fuel my own learning. I am a Fulbright Distinguished Award in Teaching Fellow; Google Educator; Accessibility expert with UCLA Smarter Balanced Consortium; Education Conference Presenter, and I write and publish on access and equity issues centered on students with diverse learning needs.
"My son has been seeing Andrea on a regular basis and her caring and compassionate guidance helps me sleep at night. My child shows little interest in school or his homework except in Andrea's magical presence. He is enthusiastic about his studies when he is with her. She has boosted his self-confidence and his grades have improved. She capitalizes on his strengths and he is happy when he leaves her office. She keeps him organized and sends me regular reminders and educational tips to help him. She sees his brilliance when the school system does not and, as a mother, I am heartened by her achievements with him. We are lucky to have her!"
"I have been a student of Andrea's since I was in the 4th grade. She has helped me through elementary, middle, and high school. I don't think I would have gotten through elementary school, much less graduated high school if it wasn't for her. Andrea truly cares about her students and works to see them succeed in both academic and personal life. She has pushed me when I thought I couldn't go any further and proved to me that if I really want something, I can achieve it. Andrea is a compassionate, caring, devoted teacher and friend who I will strongly suggest to anyone seeking an educational therapist. I have seen Andrea twice a week, every week for the past ten years, and it will be very strange next year not seeing her at my regular appointments when I am in college. Andrea truly helped me achieve my goals and has been an amazing friend along the way. I am truly blessed to have her in my life."
"For over 5 years Andrea was my daughter's educational therapist. She saw her raw strengths and nurtured them. Andrea was aware of her range of skills, helped her navigate through her weakness, set high and realistic expectations and validated hard work. My daughter grew and flourished under her guidance. Andrea is knowledgeable about various learning styles and employs appropriate modalities to support her students. My daughter was always given words of encouragement and was rewarded with praise. Now as a college student, she views Andrea as a mentor and envisions working in a similar profession. As a parent, I found her to be a extraordinary communicator and collaborator."
"One of my boys has ADHD, the other is high-functioning on the Autism Spectrum. They would not have made it through middle and high school without Andrea's guidance and coaching. They both saw her for 6 years and she was a lifeline. She kept them focused on homework, projects and deadlines and took the pressure off of me. The boys looked forward to seeing her each week and I was surprised how much they accomplished in an hour; she really kept them on task. I highly recommend Andrea Chernin to anyone looking for an experienced educational therapist."
“Dear Andrea, Happily, my daughter has been doing so well this year, not just academically, but socially and emotionally. She has been such a joy to be with this year. I think that among other factors, her work with you has given her the stability and confidence of getting her organizational and time management skills working better as well as her reading and writing skills. I think, too that because she feels you are so much on her wavelength that you can function as a confidante which means that you are her ally and there is never any conflict about coming to see you. That hasn’t been true of many other appointments that she was “forced” to keep. Ultimately, I have been able to stay out of her homework and out of her face about her homework (unless very occasionally asked for help) and she has been doing exceptionally well. Her midterm grades (which I should copy for you) showed a current 96 or 97% in core! Imagine that a year or two ago! She is very ho-hum about the grade because it isn’t final, but I reminded her what a remarkable accomplishment it is in itself. She smiled a slow wide smile as she recognized the truth of it. So thank you for all your work and support .”
MEET RACHEL- M.AT
Hello everyone, I’m Rachel! I have nine years of experience within the field of education working with students ranging from kindergarten to 11th grade in a variety of subject matters. I grew up in West Los Angeles and knew in high school that I wanted to work in education following volunteering with children at local libraries during summer reading programs. Inspired by my amazing and creative history teachers for as long as I can remember, I attended UCLA where I was able to further delve into my passion for the world we live in and how it came to be. I received my BA in History, and graduated summa cum laude in 2008.
Knowing that I wanted to go into teaching, I spent two years getting valuable elementary classroom experience as a teaching assistant before pursuing a Masters in Teaching with a secondary Social Studies Credential from USC’s Rossier School of Education in 2011. Following graduation, I taught grades K-5 at Fairburn Avenue Elementary School in the school’s first math intervention program, which I founded to help support struggling math students. I also taught reading, comprehension, speaking, and writing in an after school English Language Development program at Fairburn with students from all over the world. From 2014-2019 I taught History and English, grades sixth through eighth, at Wise School and Parras Middle School. In and out of the classroom, I have developed learning strategies and curriculum across the grade levels to help students reach their educational goals, while having an expert understanding of students with learning differences and their specific needs.
Following my years of classroom teaching, I decided that one-to-one instruction was where I could make the greatest impact within the field of education. Each day, I strive to help build a strong academic foundation for students and help meet academic needs that may not be met in the classroom. I therefore became a Learning Specialist, in which I have put together my past experience as an educator to impart, teach, and develop fundamental skills such as executive functioning, organization, time management, and study skills for any subject matter. I also enjoy working at a deeper level with students to strengthen academic sub-skills that are the building blocks for their daily schoolwork. I firmly believe that all students have the ability to access their curriculum with proper scaffolding that I can provide in an encouraging and motivating one-to-one environment.