Offering tutoring support for children with learning difficulties
Supporting children with learning difficulties is one of the biggest privileges I have had.
Over the previous 20+ years I have had the opportunity to support a range of children. Those who have ADHD, dyslexia, Asperger’s, or Autism.
If you are considering tutoring children with learning difficulties, in my experience these are the key 5 points you need to consider:
We are all individuals
Regardless of whether we have any specific learning difficulty or not we are all individuals. We all start from a unique point and have a personal goal in mind. Each and everyone of us, will have a unique journey between how we get from point A to B.
Each person has their own way of learning.
We need to be willing to adapt both our resources and the way we explain things. I work with a lad in his 20’s. He’s on the Autistic Spectrum and takes everything very literally. On one occasion we were looking at fractions and I used cutting a cake to describe how we could create different fractions. In my mind relating it to food made perfect sense. In his mind, we needed to aware that if we cut the cake too small it would crumble. We couldn’t move beyond what the consequence of all these crumbs would be. So, stop and think about how you phrase things.
Use a variety of resources
Although I believe we ought to do this any way, when working with children who have learning difficulties, we need to use a variety of resources.
Each time we do something we create a memory. But if we just keep repeating that one act/ style of resource all we are doing is making that memory stronger. If we provide multiple memories, we are creating more places in the brain where it can recall the information that it needs, when needed. When we are stressed or have a mind that doesn’t necessarily work in a direct way, we need to allow for this and embrace it.
Allow for concentration issues and tiredness
Very often we will need to provide a series of short activities to help with concentration, focus and interest. We also need to be aware that the effort it takes for some children to learn is far greater than it is for others. By providing shorter activities we are providing more opportunities for a brain brake. Again, we are all different and some children like to know exactly what they are doing, start on a task and focus on it until they are 100% confident with it. For some children, therefore, one task for an hour would be their preference.
Prepare for quirks.
One lad I work with will often “take his cup into the kitchen” which means vanish for a 5-minute break and have a biscuit. He reappears munching with crumbs around his mouth. Another lad used to have to go and tell his mum each time he had answered a question, started a new game, finished a task, got a sticker, etc. One lad preferred sitting on the floor in the walk-in cupboard rather than the formality of sitting at a desk. Some children will start singing out of the blue. One lad would stand on the table and cheer each time he won a game (which was every time as he would cheat to ensure the outcome).
Every child is unique. Every goal is unique.
For some it may be that getting a spelling right in their weekly test would make them the proudest person on earth. For another it might be getting a C in their GCSE, so they never have to do the subject again.
You need to be willing to accept that you won’t have a 100% pass mark with every child you work with.
I know from experience that this is important to some tutors. But you will have the most rewarding job you could imagine. Every day, every person will be completely unique. The gratitude and the pride that you receive will make you walk on air some days. You will probably never end up owning a yacht in the Caribbean from a tutoring income, but you will have one of the most fulfilling opportunities you could imagine.
If you are wanting to start work as a tutor and would like guidance to help you to start and grow a successful tutoring company, we can help.
The Clara James Brand Associate Opportunity will give you one to one training to get you started and support you as you grow your business.
Many children that we work with have some form of learning difficulty and this has become our passion since we started the business back in 2012.
To find out more,
Who am I?
I started working in education in 2000 when my youngest daughter Angel was just 9 months old. Mary, the lady that run the playgroup that my oldest daughter, Clara attended let me go in on a voluntary basis whilst I studied for my Diploma in Pre-school Practice.
Within a couple of months they had taken me on as their SENCo with the additional responsibility of doing their policies and planning for the setting. I will be eternally grateful to Mary for this opportunity. Once I finished my Diploma, I decided to take my education further and started a degree through the Open University in Childcare and Education.
Over the coming years I worked in a variety of settings.
In mainstream-schools and with children with various learning difficulties.
The first reception class had 4 children who had been recognised as having ADHD. I then got an additional job working in a hostel for children with extreme autism. Then, I worked as an NVQ assessor and in an autism base. I created a childminding business until my marriage collapsed and that was when a friend said I should have a go at tutoring. When Clara started junior school, I thought that she might be mildly dyslexic. I approached the school, but they instantly dismissed the idea. I didn’t have the confidence to fight my own corner, so I decided that I would learn what I could to help her myself. Over the coming years I set about learning as much as I could about dyslexia and learning styles.
Because of my background, I believed that everyone learned from a creative, varied, holistic approach.
So, when I started Clara James, this was the approach I took. I didn’t realise that I was doing something unique. I was providing what many tutors weren’t. We were catering for the individual needs of children with learning difficulties.
The business took off quickly, and what was initially designed to just give me a bit of extra income, quickly become a fulltime business.
Today Clara James Tutoring is going national. I hope in time global.
Providing children of all abilities with the unique support that they need.
Clara James Tutoring Brand Associate If you are interested in getting involved, learn more about the Clara James Brand Associate Opportunity here.