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Should Ask Questions (SAQ)

This section contains our SAQor Should Ask Questions. You may find these answers very important! The FAQ or Frequently Asked Questions follows.

What will happen if my child doesn’t get this kind of help?

Learning difficulties and struggles in school and/or social situations are most often the result of weak or inconsistent learning skills. These underlying skills cause interference to learning. Unfortunately, they do not typically improve with time or traditional tutoring.

As a result, students become more frustrated and anxious about their learning challenges. Some students become angry or withdrawn. They may appear unmotivated. They may make poor decisions, feel like a failure, and quit believing in themselves. Others show signs of anxiety and depression.

What can I expect this year in school and with homework as a result of this therapy?

At first it may be difficult to fit in homework, activities, and sessions at TLC. We sometimes suggest getting a “homework pass” in subjects that they can until homework gradually becomes easier and takes less time. Students become less anxious and more confident and willing to try things that they see as difficult. Attention both in school and at home increases. Interest in learning increases and learning becomes fun again.

What can I expect in the future as a result of this therapy?

  • Greater confidence
  • Higher self-esteem
  • More choices

 We have heard from many, many former students who have gone on to college, earning bachelors, masters, and chosen careers they had dreamed about.

“This has been a big commitment. It has also been life changing for our whole family and worth every penny we spent. Our son is graduating with honors from a competitive private school and going to university next month. He wouldn’t have been able to do that without all of you at TLC!” – parent of 3rd grade boy.

This is a big investment in time and money.

I wish there was a magic solution to the cost factor. One-on-one works. It’s also very expensive. It just is what it is.

Additionally, our lives are all very busy with limited time and money. Many parents have told me how scared they are when they begin their work with TLC. They tell stories of prioritizing and sacrificing for the months that they were here at TLC. And they tell us later how unsure they were for the first 2-3 months if making this huge an investment was going to work. Then they tell us how happy they are that they prioritized their child’s learning skills.

“I’ll be honest. My husband and I were really worried that I was wasting money, but I didn’t have anywhere else to go. I had already tried everything else. And I wanted immediate results…. which took just a few months.  I wouldn’t have stayed if I hadn’t sat there in the waiting room and seen all the other children changing in front of my eyes!…. I’m glad I stuck it out!  And I’m glad I talked my husband into making the investment. I have two happy growing children that are much more confident in school and socially too!” – parent of 4th grade boy and 6th grade girl.

How can my child afford to spend time working on “underlying skills” when he’s failing in school? Wouldn’t it be better to work on schoolwork?

Working on schoolwork may help him get by, but it will not correct the issues that are causing him to fail. Until the underlying skills are developed, you will experience this challenge year after year.

“At first, I didn’t understand why I wasn’t just practicing more math and other things that I needed to learn at school. I didn’t think that taking the time to improve my brain skills would make a difference. But now I know how much a difference it really has made.” – 9th grade boy.

If my child is in special education, why does he need this also?

Schools focus on academic skills. They do not generally address the weak underlying processing/learning skills that cause students to struggle. Special education provides valuable support for students but does not typically correct the problem.

Support and accommodations at school are helpful in the moment, but they are not a long-term solution.

“It took us a year before we made the decision to buckle up and make the investment. We waited to see what the school would do and they were no help at all – even with an IEP. I mean, they meant well… but they just didn’t know what to do. After we went to TLC, my son is happy, feels confident and likes school.” – parent of 4th grade boy.

Will my child ever be independent? Will he always need help?

Our goal for students with learning challenges of all types including those with learning disabilities is that they will become confident, independent learners. We have seen, thousands of times over the years for students of all ages, that when they leave us, they go on to be independent, successful students and adults.

“I made the honor roll!  THAT is because of my work at TLC. And next year I go to middle school and I won’t have to be pulled out of my classes anymore!” – 5th grade boy.

How long will it take before my child’s grades go up?

How long it takes for grades to improve truly varies with the number, type, and severity of issues that the student is dealing with. Grades are one measure and may begin to change within weeks of starting the program, but grades only tell part of the story with a great many significant changes that parents tell us about.

“I sound a lot smoother when I read and my writing is faster because I don’t have to think about how to spell everything. My work at TLC has made a BIG difference in my grades.” – 7th grade boy.

Is this something that we should do over time, or is it better to work intensively?

This is a decision that we can help you make after doing the assessment, as there are many factors to consider. Many students benefit from only 3-4 hours/week. Intensive programs of 2 – 3 hours daily can be extremely beneficial and successful for some students. Other students may require a more step-by-step approach that must be spread out over time.

Consistency and frequency of instruction is a key factor for this kind of training whether it is more condensed or spread out.

“I brought my son here to improve his reading comprehension. You discovered challenges in his language and vocabulary that I hadn’t realized because I don’t have other children to compare with. Yesterday I felt like I had a 9-year old boy in the car with me! We were talking about things that we hadn’t talked about before and he was describing details about his feelings too!” – parent of 4th grade boy.

FAQ – or Frequently Asked Questions

How long has the center been open?

Maria Bagby, owner and executive director of TLC, has been doing this work for almost 20 years now. She relocated to Solana Beach from Aspen, Colorado in 2012. Since then, she joined a network of like-minded professionals led by Jill Stowell of the Stowell Learning Centers in Chino and Irvine and the author of “At Wits End……..”

Maria has always continuously searched for the best programs to meet the changing needs of students learning challenges. In this way, she connected with Jill instantly and has grown and widened her scope of practice as a result of her connections to greater resources within the Fix Learning Skills network of professionals led by David and Jill Stowell. Members in the network are all over the US with a few working in countries outside the US.

What are the clinician’s qualifications?

We have a wonderful staff of energetic, enthusiastic people working with our students. Most of our clinicians fall into one of three categories. They are either working towards their bachelors degree in the fields of teaching, speech, or child psychology, have their bachelors degree, or have their bachelors and are working towards their teaching credentials or masters degree.

All of our staff has been thoroughly trained in all of the programs used at TLC. We continuously hold in-service training on new programs, intentional strategies and disabilities.

Training is a constant at TLC. We continually seek to better understand our students and provide the absolute best programming options for them. Clinicians meet regularly to consult with each other and with Maria in order to provide the highest quality and most efficient instruction for our students.

Maria has taught in both public and private schools. She has three masters degrees and has completed her doctoral coursework in education. Maria has been a teacher educator, adjunct university instructor, school district director of curriculum and assessment and has worked in the assessment unit at the state level. She has won teaching excellence awards and has held her National Board Certification for Teaching for many years.

How long does it take before I can see results?

Typically students and parents will begin to see changes within just a few weeks. Our goal for each student is that he or she becomes the most comfortable, efficient, and independent learner he or she can be. How long this process takes will depend on the number and severity of the student’s learning challenges and the intensity of the therapy time.

Do you guarantee results?

We wish learning was a formula that could be applied as neatly as a math problem, but being human is messy. We cannot have a set program guarantee.

Here is what we can guarantee:

What we do guarantee is that we will do everything we can to help each student become the best learner and most successful student he can be. If we feel that we cannot help, we will work with the family to try to find someone who can.

Each student has a unique set of learning strengths and challenges. Therefore, students progress at different rates. We are working towards making permanent changes in the way students process information and learn. We do not just want to put a band aid on the issues. Permanent changes that bring success in learning require remediation that directly deals with the underlying processing skills. Our therapy and methods are designed to work on developing a solid foundation for independent and successful learning.

Do you work with Dyslexia?

Yes! TLC was originally focused with dyslexia as our focus. In fact, our original name was the Therapeutic LITERACY Center and was founded by Maria Bagby who worked as a reading specialist for 11 years. We’ve since broadened our scope of learning challenges and changed our name to the Therapeutic LEARNING Center, but we still have many different strategies and training programs that specifically address the needs of dyslexic students of all ages.

Do you work with Autistic children?

Yes. We work with many high functioning children on the autistic spectrum. Working with the autistic population is something that we determine on student-by-student basis. Depending on the severity of the child’s symptoms and the parental goals, we may be able to provide therapy. After an initial screening, we will determine if we are the appropriate place for the child. If we feel there is something we can do we will work closely with the parents to create a program for the student.

Do you work with children with Asperger’s Syndrome?

Yes. Once the student is assessed we will determine what therapy or therapies the student will benefit from.

What does your therapy look like?

All of our therapy is provided on a one-to-one directed teaching basis. Some of our programs use specialized materials or equipment. Therapy is provided in individual therapy rooms, but we also have room set aside for Core Learning Skills exercises which are always fun.

Is everything you do one on one with each student?

Yes. Working on-to-one allows us to provide the intensity, individualization, and specific feedback needed to make significant changes in a short amount of time. Each student will have a specific schedule and clinician or team of clinicians that she works with on a regular basis.

How much does it cost?

Cost always depends on the program or combination of programs recommended and amount of time needed. Some of the programs have one-time start-up fees that cover licensing fees and/or specialized materials. We create specifically designed programs for each student and will discuss specifics regarding cost when we meet to discuss your child’s specific plan.

In an effort to reduce the cost to families, TLC has been able to offer a limited number of scholarships for families in need. Talk to us about any specific needs you might have.

How do I get my student started?

The first step in our process is to talk with Maria Bagby, Executive Director (Schedule an initial phone or Zoom consultation) where she can learn more about your individual concerns and goals.  What does success look like?  We need to determine a clear plan for you our your child in order to best meet your goals and expectations. In this call, Maria can explain exactly what we do and give you a chance to get all of your questions answered.

What we do is very different from traditional tutoring or special help at school. Our goal is to correct the learning or attention challenges so that students can work comfortably and independently at school.

The next step is to schedule an assessment and/or review of current records so that we can explore both the academic challenges and the underlying learning / processing skills that are needed to learn comfortably and efficiently.

Following the assessment, we will sit down with you and explain exactly what we saw in the assessment, what is getting in the way of your child’s learning or attention, and give you a roadmap for what needs to be done to dramatically improve or correct the problem.

Then we will look at schedules together and get your child scheduled and started.

We already have a lot of testing. Do I have to do another assessment?

Some form of assessment or getting-to-know the child is required to begin any TLC program. We never want to guess about what is going on with a student. We want to know exactly what the challenges looks like for your child so that we can make the best recommendations for correcting them.

We are happy to review any records/reports that you have as a part of the assessment process. This may allow us to do less testing with your child, but will actually take about the same amount of time for us, so in most cases the assessment fee will be the same.

We never want to over-test students, but we do need to spend time with your child in order to see what the challenges actually look like.

There are three levels (or types) of assessment that are significant here.

  1. Diagnostic Assessments – done outside the schools by professionals. Their purpose is to assign a DIAGNOSIS or label. These could be neuropsychologists, psychologists, audiologists, pediatricians.
  2. Qualifying Assessments – done within the schools. Their purpose is to determine if a student QUALIFIES for extra resources (i.e. extra support teachers or classroom aides).
  3. Functional Assessments – this is what we do at TLC. The purpose is to identify recommendations for what can be done to FIX or remediate any challenges or problems.

Our Functional Academic and Learning Skills Evaluation explores the student’s basic academic skills as well as the underlying thinking/processing skills that provide a critical foundation for learning and paying attention. The testing allows us to:

  • Help you understand why your child is struggling
  • Create a plan for solving the learning difficulties that is geared specifically to your child’s needs
  • Determine the best way to solve your concerns

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