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Causes and Effects of Learning Disabilities

Educational Therapy Strategies


NILD Educational Therapy is Research-Driven and Research-Proven

Research validates NILD educational therapy interventions that have helped students with learning challenges for over 40 years. Every student is unique. NILD’s research-based, individualized approach is unique too.

"I do not think that I know an organization more committed to releasing the potential of all children with learning disabilities than NILD. In the short time that I have gotten to know the members of NILD, I have been very impressed by their knowledge and their desire for keeping abreast of evolving research, particularly in reading intervention. Perhaps more poignantly, however, I have been uplifted by the depth of their dedication to the children. They are a wonderful group."

Maryanne Wolf, Ed.D.John DiBiaggio Professor of Citizenship and Public Service Director, Center for Reading and Language Research, Tufts University October 30, 2014

Research Proven - Our Results Are Confirmed Through Data

We aim to unlock an individual’s potential and infinitely expand each student’s horizons.
NILD not only has testimonials of academic performance transformed and lives changed, but testing data and the research studies below confirm the transformation we see. Improving Educational Therapists’ Knowledge, Efficacy, and Practices Related to Developing Students’ Growth Mindsets

Dissertation by Kristin Barbour, Ed.D., submitted to Johns Hopkins University

Self-efficacy and mindset are non-cognitive factors that can adversely or positively impact the reading achievement of students with learning disabilities (LD).  Teachers’ instructional practices can impact students’ self-efficacy and mindsets.  Educators desire to know more about students’ mindset beliefs and teacher instructional practices that may facilitate students’ growth mindsets.  This mixed-methods study explored the effect of a revised educational therapist certification training to address educational therapists’ need to become knowledgeable in the area of mindset beliefs and examine the corresponding educational impact on instructional practices and educational therapists’ self-efficacy beliefs for implementing growth mindset instructional practices.  Statistically significant differences were found for content knowledge, efficacy beliefs, and instructional practices.  Qualitative data also suggested that the revised educational therapist course positively affected educational therapists’ self-efficacy beliefs and instructional practices related to growth mindsets.

Interactive Language

Teacher’s questions and student discussion are critical components of research-based instruction, and ““…”“effective teachers… ask students to explain the process they used to answer the questions, to explain how the answer was found”“.””



Most NILD techniques use a variety of materials because research affirms ““simple yet powerful non-linguistic instructional techniques such as graphic organizers, pictures and pictographs, concrete representations, and creating mental images improve learning”“.””


Development of Core Academic Skills & Thinking Abilities

Basic academic skills and cognitive functions are directly taught to establish the foundation for higher-order thinking and reasoning.

Explicit & Intentional

“Students need cognitive support to help them learn to solve problems.”  Support comes through explicit instruction of material.



This is a valuable skill as students “generate and test hypotheses.” Moving from specific to general thinking is at the heart of critical thinking.



“Questions help students identify missing information”


Guided Practice

“Students access prior experience & knowledge, and are active participants”

–Lyon, Fletcher, Fuchs, Chhabra

Also, “cumulative review guided by questions produces success”.



“Providing frequent and specific feedback related to learning objectives is one of the most effective strategies to increase student achievement.”



Our intervention provides opportunities for students to self-regulate, a skill necessary for any successful learner.


“As students gain competence through systematic and intentional instruction, confidence grows and encourages the transfer of the skills learned to the classroom as well as life.”

Treatment of Childhood Disorders, 3rd Ed., Lyon, G.R., Fletcher, J.M., Fuchs, L.S., & Chhabra, V.; Principles of Instruction: Research-Based Strategies That All Teachers Should Know, Barak Rosenshine; TEN Effective Research-Based Instructional Strategies, Robert J. Marzano


Can NILD’s intensive intervention actually lead to improvements in verbal, nonverbal, and cognitive functioning as evidenced on the WISC IV test?

The WISC IV is a prediction of performance in school, and a measure of a child’s strengths and weaknesses in thinking. NILD Educational Therapists use this data to identify a learning profile, determine a student’s need for therapy, communicate a child’s learning profile to students and parents, and prescribe therapy techniques. Although the goal of NILD Educational Therapy® is not to make progress on this particular test, as students progress through NILD Educational Therapy® and thinking skills are inevitably challenged and changed… the results have proven very exciting!

Does NILD Educational Therapy® help students who are below average in reading and written language achievement improve these skills?

Not only did the students demonstrate yearly gains as would be expected within general education alone, their progress exceeded average gains and began to close the achievement gap between them and their peers… representing a significant improvement that allowed them to keep pace with the average achievement of their peers.

Effects of NILD Educational Therapy® for Students with Learning Difficulties, Kathy A. Keafer, Ed.D, 2008 [Read the Study]

Does the completion of an intensive, individualized program of NILD Educational Therapy® affect the achievement scores in reading, spelling, and arithmetic for students with learning disabilities?

Students in this study demonstrated statistically significant gains over time in cognition and achievement on standardized measures.

A Study of the Effect of Interactive Language in the Stimulation of Cognitive Functioning for Students with Learning Disabilities, Kathleen R. Hopkins, Ed.D., 1996  [Read the Study]

What was the effect of NILD’s Rx for Discovery Reading intervention on the reading abilities of elementary school students who were below grade level in reading?

Students in this study demonstrated statistically significant gains in the areas of phonemic awareness, phonics, and fluency.

An Analysis of Rx for Discovery Reading for Elementary Students Below Average in Reading, Susan K. Stanley, Ed.D., 2007 [Read the Study]

Does NILD’s GET intervention compared with NILD’s IET intervention affect the reading and writing skills of children with reading problems?

The quantitative phase of this mixed-methods study compared the effects of Individual NILD Educational Therapy® (IET) with Group Educational Therapy (GET) on the reading and writing skills of struggling learners. In both settings, NILD Educational Therapy®, mediated by professionally certified therapists, yielded improved reading skills.

Small-Group versus One-On-One Educational Therapy for Struggling Readers and Writers, Constance Hope Cawthon, PhD; and Joseph S. Maddox, Jr., DC, Ph.D, 2009  [Read the Study]