Ep. 10: Building Independence Through Educational Therapy with Rachel Kapp

Dec 29, 2020 | 0 comments

Educational therapy is oftentimes an unknown term for parents and families. This podcast episode may even be the first time you’ve heard it yourself. That is why I am so excited to have a passionate educational therapist as our guest today on the Diverse Thinking Different Learning Podcast.

Rachel Kapp is an educational therapist with an extensive background in the field of education. After working with so many types of students through tutoring in private practice, she became passionate about building relationships with and helping students who learn differently. She completed her coursework in Educational Therapy at the California State University, Northridge in 2015 and her Master’s degree in 2016. She is now a sought after educational therapist and co-host of the Learn Smarter Podcast.

Rachel’s mission is so clear in this episode and to say our missions align is an understatement. Listen to find out how she reignites the love of learning for students on their journey towards becoming independent and autonomous learners.


Show Notes:

[1:39] – The first podcast that Karen was a guest for was Rachel’s podcast Learn Smarter and inspired her to start Diverse Thinking Different Learning.

[3:22] – Educational therapy is not typically a term parents are familiar with. As an educational therapist, Rachel works one-on-one with students with different learning profiles to help provide skills and strategies that guide them towards becoming independent and autonomous learners.

[4:53] – For many children, there has been a significant struggle over an extended period of time which may have led them to lose their love of learning.

[5:21] – Children hear conversations in their home and at school that they aren’t performing well enough and get the message that they aren’t trying.

[6:10] – The first step for Rachel as an educational therapist is to honor the journey they’ve been on.

[8:05] – Rachel and a fellow educational therapist that co-hosts her podcast have come up with a framework called the ABC’s of Educational Therapy. The first phase is the assessment phase.

[9:14] – During the first phase of gathering information, Rachel listens to the child’s explain their experiences and this is often the first time the student has shared this information in a space without judgment.

[9:27] – The next stage is the building process. This is where skills and strategies are being built. Rachel also describes what this could look like in virtual learning.

[10:57] – Eventually, Rachel is able to take a step back and let the child be independent. Most parents are scared of this because things are working smoothly, but the child is ready.

[11:52] – Educational therapy looks different for each student. What works for one child might not be best for another.

[13:13] – Educational therapists also serve in a way as a case manager. The parent coaching piece has become very important.

[14:38] – Sometimes when we step back, the student falls. But Rachel says this is a necessary step in learning.

[15:22] – Learning happens when it is active and productive. It happens when things are hard but not too hard. 

[16:33] – An educational therapist is not interested in the content being learned. It's about teaching the students how to access the curriculum and giving them strategies on what to do when they don’t understand.

[17:41] – Teachers have risen to the challenge with virtual learning. Ask for help if needed.

[19:56] – Karen and Rachel discuss how writing is a huge challenge. Rachel breaks down how she approaches helping students with writing as an educational therapist.

[21:43] – Is it an issue of not being able to think of content or is it an issue of not being able to write it down?

[22:59] – Breaking down the writing process to be more achievable is key. The mechanics of writing should be the last step.

[24:10] – A lot of schools and teachers are open to different approaches, so ask for clarification.

[25:56] – With distance learning, parents are seeing problems that educational therapists have been seeing for a long time, particularly the difficulty of using online portals.

[27:10] – Part of the building process for virtual learning is developing systems, routines, and calendars to organize their days.

[28:16] – In this building process, the goal is to build a strong system of managing time, managing things, and creating rules.

[30:02] – Therapists have a unique perspective because they can see the online portals of all schools and classrooms. Rachel describes what works best in her experience.

[31:43] – Rachel shares that in all her years of working as an educational therapist, she has never met a parent that has said that their child does not experience anxiety about learning.

[34:13] – Helping kids create their own rules is part of Rachel’s process as well. This is empowering.


About Our Guest:

Rachel grew up in Los Angeles. She graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts with Honors in Sociology and minored in Jewish Studies. Rachel began tutoring students in high school, eventually choosing to pursue a career in education. For over six years, Rachel was a lead preschool teacher where she gained a firm foundation in explicit teaching. Rachel has been a tutor in private practice since 2004, working with students in a variety of subjects including all levels of math, reading, history and writing. After working with so many types of students over the years and realizing she was passionate about building relationships with and helping students who learn differently, Rachel decided to pursue Educational Therapy. She completed her coursework at the California State University, Northridge in December 2015 and Masters degree in December 2016. In her free time, Rachel loves spending time with her husband, Adam, and their dog, Fritzy, watching Cal Football, cooking for friends, and spinning. She is now a sought after Educational therapist and co-host of the Learn Smarter Podcast.


Connect with Rachell Kapp:

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