Educational Therapy With Rebecca O'Brien, MS AET WDP
I work privately with students who struggle in school (for a variety of reasons, mostly diagnosed/suspected learning disorders) and their families - to help give advice, testing, referrals, insights, and tools for managing their progress.
I am a former classroom school teacher who now works privately as an educational therapist. I am trained with helping students (ages 6+) improve in decoding (reading), encoding (spelling), and phonological awareness (pre-reading skills) using many integrative approaches. (Think: mix of educational psychologist and learning specialist.)
I am Level I Certified Dyslexia Practitioner for Wilson Reading System. This is a multi-sensory structured literacy curriculum to help students make gains in reading/writing - especially those with Language-based learning disorders, like dyslexia. It is approved by the International Dyslexia Association.
I have 15+ years experience in the classroom (teacher of Social Studies, Language Arts, ESL) and as an individual tutor. My qualifications include: Bachelor of Arts in Spanish/Russian Studies, Master of Science in Education, and PostGraduate Certificate in Educational Therapy. When I moved to California, I passed the CBEST exam in 2019.
I really enjoy teaching my students how to set goals for themselves and achieve them. Whether that begins with small daily performances and learning strategies, or aiming for larger academic outcomes at school with intensive interventions, my favorite part of is helping students becomes self-aware as a lifelong learner. Every individual is full of potential and modeling a growth mindset in the face of challenges is key - when students learn about themselves and how they learn best, deep shifts can occur and they can become their greatest advocate.
"When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change." - Wayne Dyer
Photos and videos
Frequently asked questions
What is your typical process for working with a new student?
I perform an initial intake survey to understand the skills, attitudes, and goals of each student. I like to speak to parents or teachers familiar with the child to get more background information and context. For reading support, I will perform an intake evaluation (hourly rate applies) to measure current reading/writing abilities.
For other subjects, I ask that student samples of work be shared or made available at our first meeting.
What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?
Master of Science in Education, SUNY at Buffalo
Professional Certificate in Educational Therapy, UCR Extension
Columbia University Teacher's College - The Reading And Writing Institute, NYC
Bachelor or Arts, Georgetown University (Spanish and Russian Studies)
Level 1 Teacher Certification in Wilson Reading Program
Do you have a standard pricing system for your lessons? If so, please share the details here.
Depending on the age, I recommend that session lengths should vary in length. For younger students (aged 6-9), I recommend 30-50 minutes per session. Older students can work up to 45-90 minutes at a time.
Wilson Lessons: 120$/hour
How did you get started teaching?
I began volunteering in the Center for Social Justice at my University in D.C. I worked with elementary school children on reading, then began teaching adult ESL classes on weekends. Eventually I became a coordinator for the DC Schools Project. From there, when I lived in Moscow, I volunteered with a social rehabilitation art center for orphans and taught English classes, as well as became a mentor for several kids.
What types of students have you worked with?
I have worked majoritively with non-native English speakers in my tutoring and international teaching (El Salvador, Ecuador, China, Russia). Currently I work one-on-one with several elementary school students who have LDs - with each one I am supporting their development in reading, writing, and/or working memory skills. I also work with middle school students as an Academic Resource teacher for those who want to improve their organization, study techniques, or writing and reading skills.
What advice would you give a student looking to hire a teacher in your area of expertise?
As a student, it is important you can establish a rapport with a teacher. Do you know what your learning style is? Can you communicate well with your tutor what you need or like? Working sometimes can be hard, but it is also important that we find the right lessons and solutions that help you succeed. If you bring always a positive attitude and I can bring structured lessons, I promise we will see improvement over time!
What questions should students think through before talking to teachers about their needs?
What motivates you? What are your personal goals?
What would you consider are your areas of strength?
What do you think are your areas for improvement?
What is your favorite teacher like? What does he/she do for you?
What kinds of feedback do you learn the most from? Can you share an experience where you grew a lot?
Do you enjoy school? Why or why not?