Neuropsychology and the educational therapist

“All of the assumptions we used to have about learning are changing.”

At a time of slashed special education budgets and higher demands on teachers everywhere, science is discovering new approaches to inspire students with learning differences in their classrooms.

“All of the assumptions we used to have about learning are changing,” says Sharmila Roy, Ph.D., co-founding director of MyndFlex, a nonprofit after-school child development program. Roy is a UCSC Silicon Valley Extension instructor and chair of the Educational Therapy certificate program, a program that is approved by UC Santa Cruz as well as the Association for Educational Therapists.

Increased teacher workload

These days, classrooms often have more students with learning differences than they used to, but many teachers haven’t had the latest training to help these students succeed.

These may be students who have anxiety with math, or trouble with memory or focus. They don’t have the ability to plan ahead and organize their homework, Roy says. A lot of students are very smart but they don’t get good grades because their assignments are late. It may be really hard for them to sit in a chair and listen for 15 minutes. The increased workload can lead to feelings of frustration and overwhelm for both student and teacher.

Updating teaching skills with new science

“Teachers are in need of some quick tips, tools, and a broader knowledge about how to help students with learning differences,” Roy says.

Roy shared her 30 years’ experience recently in an online introductory presentation about the rapidly growing field of educational therapy and the neuropsychological discoveries that are transforming how we teach. She also talked about the UCSC Extension Educational Therapy certificate program where we ask: How do we get people with learning differences to succeed as a student and in life? What educational technology can help with student success?”

“The research figures into the new approaches that educational therapists are taking with students who come in with ADHD, dyslexia, and anxiety,” Roy says. Where we used to rely on responses and various assessment tools, now we are learning new things every day about brain research. “That means new approaches and tools for the classroom that benefit all teachers, parents, and therapists helping students discover how to use their strengths.

“The neuropsychology is very exciting for me and everyone else in the field. Education changes lives, mine included,” she says. “In that sense, my reward is to influence the thinking and practice of individuals who in turn will influence others.”

Approved AET provider

UCSC Extension, one of just a few programs approved by the Association for Educational Therapists, is continually revitalizing its curriculum. Some of the latest updates include a supplemental reading course—Educational Therapy: Reading I; a new math course—Strategies for Learning Differences in Mathematics; and a course covering legal issues in special education—Principles of Educational Therapy. Ours is a comprehensive certificate program where you learn strategies to teach people of all ages with learning differences, collaborate with their families, and navigate related state and federal laws.

As an approved AET provider, students who complete the UCSC Educational Therapy certificate program are fast-tracked into the Association and may participate in study groups, conferences and other professional resources to stay up-to-date in the profession, advance to Educational Therapist/Professional (ET/P), and become a  Board Certified Educational Therapist (BCET).

The job outlook is bright! Follow your dreams and open doors for others’ dreams.

Educational Therapy Certificate Program

To learn more about the details of the Educational Therapy certificate program, Dr. Roy as well as UCSC Extension staff will be on the online event to answer questions about the program, the individual courses, and the convenience of online options. Please register to receive the webinar link.

About the Presenter

SHARMILA ROY, Ph.D., has over 30 years’ experience in education; primarily in teaching, teacher training, program development, educational therapy, classroom interventions, and curriculum development for special education. Roy is the co-founder and director of MyndFlex, a nonprofit after-school program. At MyndFlex, Roy supervises therapists and interns who specialize in the areas of cognition, attention, learning, study skills and organization, and socioemotional skills. She has extensive experience working one-on-one with exceptional students, facilitating in-service seminars for teachers. She serves as chair of the UCSC Silicon Valley Extension Educational Therapy certificate program and teaches several UC-approved courses.


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