Educational Therapy in Action : Behind and Beyond the Office Door book cover
1st Edition

Educational Therapy in Action
Behind and Beyond the Office Door

ISBN 9780415888851
Published May 16, 2011 by Routledge
170 Pages

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Book Description

This book provides an in-depth look at what a little-known clinician, the educational therapist, does and how they do it. It goes behind the clinician’s door to illustrate the unusual and broad range of interventions – both academic/vocational and social/emotional – that an educational therapist employs. This particular case study involves a young woman named Nora who had a severe but undiagnosed auditory processing disorder. She could not give meaning to the spoken language that came at her too rapidly, leaving her in a constant fog of words that she couldn’t comprehend.

This case discloses the problems, their causes, and the emotional toll that had to be considered when developing an effective educational/therapeutic plan for Nora. It vividly illustrates the dynamic exchanges and mutual learning that goes on between client and therapist. Parts I and II illustrate how the psycho-educational interventions that addressed Nora’s academic and non-academic needs were gradually formulated over the first year. Part III provides a series of vignettes from subsequent years that illustrate the ongoing applications of the therapist’s work.

Distinguishing Features

Explanatory Sidebars – The rationale behind particular techniques and interventions is clarified through a system of explanatory sidebars that inform the reader without distracting from the story. This approach makes the book both an instructional tool well as compelling story.

Organic Curriculum – The rationale for and application of an "organic (personalized) curriculum" is explained and applied throughout the book as a model for others to use in working with this population.

A Longitudinal Perspective – The initial work with Nora began many years ago, so this book provides a long view of her life and tracks the influences that educational therapy exerted on her development into a fully functioning adult.

Cognitive/Emotional Integration – The core of educational therapy – the interdependence of cognitive skills and emotional response – is clearly documented throughout the book.

In addition to educational therapy students and practitioners, this book is appropriate for those working in related fields such as special education, school psychology, school counselling, and social work in educational settings.

Table of Contents


Beginnings: A Mother’s Recall

I. Behind the Office Door: Building the Organic Curriculum

1. December: Making the Connection

2. Early January: The Reciprocal Compromise Principle Leads to the Organic Curriculum

3. Late January: Seeds of Collaboration

4. An Atypical Family Meeting

5. February: Goal-setting, Present and Future, in a Safe Haven

6. March: Alternate Routes to Word Mastery; Engaging the Teachers

7. April: A New Use for Soap Operas, Journal Writing, and Dreams of the Elephant Man

II. Employment and Continued Education: Living the Organic Curriculum

8. May: Job vs. Occupation vs. Career—and Lessons on Worry

9. June: Traffic Tickets as Curriculum, and Other Misunderstandings

10. July: Lessons on the Job, Lessons in Literature, Headlines, and Fairness

11. August: College in Summer, Field Trip, and Videotape as a Learning Tool

12. September/ October: College Texts and Morning Papers—A Whole New Path

13. November: An Interest in Autism Becomes a Saga

14. December: Social Challenges of the Holiday Season; Reviewing a Year’s Growth

III. Continuing Change: Short Vignettes from Subsequent Years in Educational Therapy

Year Two. Working for Dad’s Office: From Doubt to Confidence

Year Two. Role Modeling: The Pressure of Personal Appearance

Year Two. Knee Surgery, Pain, and Face-offs with Professionals

Year Two. Overcoming a Fear: Becoming a Flyer

Year Three. The Whole Dam Thing

Years Three and Four. Job at Cozy Cloz: No Longer a Victim

Year Five and On. Bumps and Potholes on the Road to Respect

Nora Now: Life Lessons and Uncommon Courage

Author's Reflections

Nora's Response to the Book


A. Rules for the Use of Commas

B. Place Value Cards



C. Barsch Learning Style Inventory and Scoring Procedures

D. Test Scores and Excerpts from Psychoeducational Testing (Dixon)

E. Test Scores from Testing by Dorothy Ungerleider

F. Rey-Osterreith Complex Figure Drawings (Nora’s copy and recall)



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Dorothy Fink Ungerleider, founding President, Advisory Board Chair, and Fellow of the Association of Educational Therapists, is an educational therapist in private practice in Encino, California.