Frequently Asked Questions:
Question: “What happens during my initial consultation with the clinic’s psychologist?”
Answer: First and foremost, you will experience a comfortable environment wherein the initial focus is placed on listening to you, gathering information, and having discussions related to the extensive intake forms you will be required to complete prior to your visit. Depending upon your child’s needs or circumstances, you will work out a plan with the clinic’s child psychologist to decide what, if any, areas of evaluation should take place in order to ensure success in the 16-week program. At a minimum, a cognitive functioning/I.Q. test must be performed as a baseline. Your intake psychologist may elect to skip this process and simply provide a peer reviewed “screener” of your child’s cognitive functioning if you have other academic and/or psychological records at your disposal. You may also choose to elect to seek a full comprehensive evaluation (Cognitive/Academic/Emotional) in order to best provide tutors and your child’s teachers with relevant information. In addition, you may wish to have a consultation with our clinic’s education advocate if there are concerns surrounding your child’s learning environment and experiences at school.
Question: “I have already spent thousands of dollars on multiple tutoring centers. My kid is still doing poorly academically and school has become a nightmare for both my child and myself. Why should I spend more money on Early Life educational tutoring services for my child?”
Answer: For the most part, we have very little, if anything, in common with the traditional, “mini-mall based” tutoring programs with which you may have had negative experiences. Our evaluations are state of the art and are performed by a licensed clinical psychologist. Our experienced tutors/educators are trained to base their tutoring plans utilizing these doctoral level initiated cognitive/achievement evaluations and/or “screeners”. In addition, unlike any other tutoring service in the country, our tutors receive direct, formal supervision training doctoral level professionals, with the goal of integrating clinical insights into tutoring session to reduce or eliminate behaviors or emotions that may be contributing to poor academic and cognitive performance.
Question: “What insurances does Early Life currently accept?”
Answer: We currently accept a wide range of insurance options for therapy and assessment services. Please contact our clinic intake employees for specific insurance inquiries.
Question: “Do you have extensive experience working with children diagnosed with ADHD, specific learning disorders, autistic spectrum, depression, and anxiety? What about my gifted child who may also have one or more of the disorders listed above?”
Answer: We have extensive experience working with children and teens in situations you described above. We have a track record of success with assisting children with these characteristics achieve academic success. We are not aware of one other tutoring program in the country wherein a clinical psychologist has trained academic tutors to meet the academic and emotional needs of these unique children in private tutoring session. Our tutors do NOT provide mental health services, provide therapy, or provide psychological advice. Instead, our tutors are given extensive training in applying the findings of psycho-educational reports to their teaching/tutoring practices. In addition, our tutors are committed to ethical and boundary guidelines as outlined by the American Psychological Association (APA).
Question: “You mentioned earlier that before actually starting the tutoring process, my child will either have to undergo a formal cognitive processing evaluation, or we as parents will have to complete a free, short 15‐minute cognitive “screener,” as well as completing an extensive intake session with a licensed clinician. I’m guessing that the cognitive evaluation is not even close to being free. What motivation does your clinic’s bottom line have in directing us to complete a free screener, as opposed to paying the psychologist to perform a costly cognitive and/or emotional evaluation?”
Answer: To put it simply, our profession’s ethics code, and our professional license. In order for the program to be successful, we need to have the appropriate data to guide the formation of our educational tutoring plan. If we utilize poor or limited data, the ultimate outcome of the program may end up being poor or limited. More than money, we pride ourselves on the success of the program. When a parent comes to our clinic, we know that they have already experienced frustrations or even despair with either public school education solutions, “big box” franchise tutoring programs, or private tutors in local tutoring businesses. We are appalled at the number of education options in our community who take advantage of parents in this extremely vulnerable situation. It is a sacred trust to evaluate and treat your child. This trust goes far beyond legal and ethical obligations. Our brand in this community is simply this: We treat you as we would want our own children to be treated under similar circumstances. Here are some general considerations to discuss with your intake clinician when the decision is bebeing made to either fully test or “screen” your child before beginning the tutoring program:
- Does your child have uneven academic grades over the last 3 years?
- Does your child have prominent issues with attention and organizational skills, particularly when compared to peers in the same age group?
- Has your child been formally diagnosed in the past with a mental health disorder such as depression, anxiety, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or bi-polar disorder?
- Does your child currently have an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) or a 504 Plan?
- Has your child ever had a formal cognitive or achievement test performed by either a clinical or school psychologist?
These are just a few considerations that will be discussed during your initial intake with our licensed clinicians.
Question: “Do you accept every child that applies to your tutoring program?”
Answer: No. Not even close. We have an ethical obligation to not accept payment from any parent if we believe, in our best clinical judgment, your child/teen will not be able to benefit at this time from our program. Some factors that are weighed prior to acceptance into our program include:
- If your child has untreated, serious issues associated with trauma, depression, or anxiety, your child will not be seen as a good candidate for our program.
- If you and your spouse/partner have an environment in your home that is volatile (i.e. current problems associated with domestic violence), your child will not be seen as a good candidate for our program.
- If data obtained via your initial intake conclusively shows that your child would benefit from either a formal cognitive and/or emotional evaluation, and you as the parent do not agree with your intake clinician, your child may not be a good candidate for our program. We have an appeals process in place wherein our Director of Clinical Training and our lay Parent Advocate will review the intake clinician’s decision on this matter.
- If your child has an excessive amount of extracurricular activities, compared with his/her same aged peers, your child will not be seen as a good candidate for our program.
Question: “I talked with our school’s teacher/principal/school psychologist/counselor about having my child enter into your tutoring program, and they were less than enthused about it. They felt strongly that their special education and/or gifted programs were more effective, as well as “free.” What is your response to that?”
Answer: We are big fans of the mission of public schools, and even greater fans of public school teachers. In fact, we employ some of them in our clinic. Our job is to work concurrently with public schools in most situations, not to obtain their “seal of approval.” In fact, that “seal” is probably not forthcoming, especially when we are fond of stating that the difference between practices and concepts of the typical public school and Early Life is that we pretty much do everything the complete opposite of public schools. Our program and practices are not based on the current political or administrative “flavor of the month,” and every one of our practices, procedures, and philosophies are based upon years of peer‐reviewed research. However, if your child is doing well under the care and guidance of your public school’s special education and/or gifted program, by all means, continue with their services. One size does not fit all, but statistically speaking, it certainly works for some children. If your child is one of those, we advise not to consider our program. If your child is not doing well under their special education/gifted student care, we ask that you pay us a visit and do your own research as the resident expert of your own child.
Question: “What if my child has no cognitive struggles, and is only struggling in core subjects like Math and Language Arts?”
Answer: We offer a strictly academic tutoring program for students that are not struggling cognitively. The main subject that our academic tutors assist with is Math, but they are able to help with any subject, ranging from elementary level to high school level. Before strictly academic tutoring can begin, we require at minimum the completion of the cognitive screener to assess the student’s cognitive functioning, so that the assigned tutor can keep any unique learning needs in mind during sessions.
Question: “I decided to start homeschooling my child, and it has been overwhelming trying to find appropriate curriculums to teach. Do you have a consultant that can help me devise a customized home education plan for my child? And I’ve never been all that comfortable with Math, so do you have someone who can help my child with that as well?”
Answer: Yes, we have both! Making the decision to leave the public school system and pursue a home education can be challenging and intimidating, to say the least. Many parents find themselves searching for curriculums on the Internet, which tends to leave them with more questions and doubts than solutions. We understand these frustrations, which is why we utilize the expertise of our Home Education Consultant, Kathryn Porter, M.S., in constructing customized education plans for our homeschooled students. Kathryn Porter is an educational consultant who uses her savvy in writing, public speaking, and media relations to advocate for families with special needs. Dedicated to helping families of children with unique learning differences, she specializes in outside‐the‐box homeschooled students. As a creative problem solver, she partners with parents and Early Life professionals in offering solutions to educational challenges. A good listener, she values parental input in developing customized educational plans that include goal setting and curriculum recommendations. We offer two types of consultations, detailed below:
- Standard: This consultation includes a highly detailed, customized education plan, and a meeting to fully discuss the plan and answer any questions.
- Specialized: This consultation also includes a highly detailed, customized education plan, a meeting to fully discuss the plan and answer any questions, as well as specific goal setting and monthly check-ins for the duration of the school year. This is our most commonly chosen consultation, as it includes invaluable assistance throughout the school year.
Our highly experienced and trained tutors are available to assist you and your child throughout your home education adventure, providing exceptional academic and cognitive tutoring. We can accommodate unique homeschool schedules, and lend critical structure and focus so your child can achieve their goals.