When we think of online tutoring, we often imagine the user base as a combination of students at the top of the class striving to break new barriers and struggling students in need of supplemental help to keep up with faster learning classmates. Who we sometimes neglect to consider are those students who learn differently as a result of a learning disability. Students with disabilities sometimes face very difficult barriers, and online tutoring could prove to be a viable way to help those students meet their learning goals.
I recently had a conversation with Casey, who approached us to chat about how online english tutoring for reading, spelling, typing, and writing may have been a great solution for her sister, Riley:
An interesting and relevant part of Riley’s story is when she was seeking reading help in elementary school. My mom used to drive over an hour each way to bring her to tutoring every week. We lived in a small town with limited accessibility to specialized tutoring services for her dyslexia, so she definitely had a major barrier to access ten years ago.
I also heard from Riley. She offered some insight on her personal challenges with language:
I mostly struggled with reading and language. I read below my grade level for most of elementary school. I’m a very slow reader and often have to re-read parts. My mind tends to wander and even though I’m reading the words, I don’t register what I’ve read. When I was in grade 5 I was diagnosed as dyslexic and completed a program that gave me tools to help. Most people think of dyslexia as just seeing letters wrong (typically p, b, d, u, and n). However, I mostly struggled with trigger words such as “saw”, “was”, “it” “the”, and other words that don’t have an obvious image associated with them, like “dog” for example. These are what throw me off and make it hard to read quickly. I’m often able to catch myself when I mess up on a word, and I can usually use the rest of the sentence to figure out words I don’t know.
To help us better understand how an online tutoring service like Skooli could have helped Riley had it been available, she shared some information about her experience with tutoring:
I had a tutor when I was in elementary school. She helped with my homework and typing. She had fun games to go along with reading, writing, and typing, I really enjoyed going. In high school I got help from the school and teachers, who allowed extra time on tests and provided print-outs of the notes prior to the lesson.
She also mentioned how access to a confidential online tutoring service would have changed her education path growing up:
In university, my friends and I used an online resource to generate multiple choice, true and false, matching, and fill in the blank cue cards. There were also games we could play to help us in class. I think when learning is online it’s so easy to access. Had online tutoring been available, it would have been great. I don’t know if I would have used it in high school but definitely university.
Unlike a standard classroom environment, one-on-one online tutoring allows the teacher to cater a session directly to the single student in attendance. If the student is an extremely fast learner, the tutor can move through the content at a quicker pace. If the student needs extra support with specific concepts, the tutor can spend more time on these. And if the student has a unique learning disability that could make learning more challenging, the tutor can use the online classroom’s tools and features to best support the student.
Thanks to Riley and Casey for pitching in on this post and helping shine some light on how online tutoring can be used to benefit different types of learners.
Don’t forget to connect with an English tutor if you need a hand with your language studies.