Frequently Asked Questions
Can you cure my child's learning difference?
No. Dyslexia and other similar learning difficulties stem from neurological differences and there is no cure per se. The OG-based multisensory tutoring we employ is widely considered to be the best known approach for teaching children how to strategize to best optimize learning with their learning difference. We offer highly effective strategies and techniques that help them to manage their difficulties with reading, writing and math.
What is Orton-Gillingham Tutoring?
The Orton-Gillingham approach is a phonics-based, multisensory method of teaching that is systematic and sequential. It was originally developed by Dr. Samuel Orton (a neuropsychiatrist and pathologist) and Anna Gillingham (an educator and psychologist) in the first half of the 20th century to help children who had extreme difficulties with reading and writing. The Orton-Gillingham approach has been refined over the decades, truly standing the test of time, and has successfully helped many children with dyslexia and other learning differences, for which it is widely accepted as the most effective approach.
You can read more about OG on this page of our website.
What does Multisensory mean?
Multisensory learning means learning using more than one of our senses, or learning using as many modalities as possible. The four pathways to learning we employ in our multisensory tutoring are visual (sight), auditory (hearing),tactile (feeling/touch) and kinaesthetic (physical movement, like tossing a ball back and forth while spelling a word). Not everyone learns well just visually or aurally, which is one of the reasons the traditional classroom can fail children with learning differences. Our multisensory tutoring significantly improves learning by delivering the same message using more than one sense.
Can I claim the cost of you tutoring on my taxes?
It depends. While our remedial tutoring services are eligible to be claimed, according to the CRA’s website you will need a medical practitioner to “certify in writing that these services are necessary.” We recommend that you check with your accountant for additional details and advice.
What is your lesson cancellation and rescheduling policy? Do you offer make-up lessons?
Our current policies can be found on this page of our blog.
What do you mean by ‘learning difference’? Is that the same as ‘learning disability’?
We like to use terms like learning difference or learning difficulty instead of learning disability, but we are referring to the same thing. We feel that many children labeled as learning disabled aren’t really disabled at all; there’s no problem with their ability to learn, it’s simply that they do so differently from most people. For this reason, we like to avoid the label of disabled and instead use the more positive terms difference and difficulty. We do acknowledge and respect that other professionals in the field and many parents do like the use of certain labels for very valid reasons such as eligibility for an IEP in the school system, or as validation for and recognition of the problems they have been working through with their children.
What are your hours?
Please see our calendar page for our school year and our summer hours. We are open Monday-Friday and closed on weekends.
What are your rates?
Please contact us to discuss our current availability and rates.
Are you closed on statutory holidays? When else are you closed?
Yes, we are closed on all statutory holidays. We are also closed for two weeks at the end of December and one week for Spring Break. For exact closure dates please see our calendar. We are open for 1-to-1 lessons throughout the summer.
Will my child always have the same tutor?
As a general rule we like our students to consistently work with the same tutor, but should situations arise when a tutor is sick or on vacation the student may be provided with a substitute tutor. We also have cases, due to scheduling-related difficulties with placing a student with a single regular tutor, where the parent may request that the student be split between two tutors as an alternative to being placed on a waitlist until a single tutor becomes available; while we don’t usually encourage this kind of arrangement, we’re happy to accommodate it. Due to our careful record keeping and our policy requiring lesson plans to be prepared at least a day in advance, any of our tutors can deliver any student’s lesson with ease, so substituting single lessons, or split tutor arrangements are usually very successful at Symbols.
My spouse and I are separated, but both involved in my child’s life. How can we both remain informed and involved?
We are always happy to answer any questions from parents about a student’s progress either over the phone, through email or in person. Meetings can be scheduled with our Director of Education at no additional cost. Furthermore, both parents (as well as any other family members, teachers or other professionals who work with your child) can be included in lesson summary emails and monthly progress report emails, so that everyone is always on the same page.
Do you offer any small group classes?
No. We specialize in 1-to-1 individualized, multisensory tutoring, and that is all that we offer. This is for two reasons:
- Children who are struggling, especially those who are struggling due to a learning difference, require individualized support and the undivided attention of their tutor. A lesson with more than one student, by definition, cannot be individualized. Having even just one additional child in a lesson changes the lesson dynamic, changes the focus of the lesson (it is rare that 2 or more children would need help with the exact same aspect of the exact same concept and can be taught in the exact same way), and it dilutes the tutor’s attention. Our students need and do best 1-to-1, so that is all that we offer.
- We strive to be the best at what we do, and to us, that means specializing in one and only one thing: 1-to-1 individualized, multisensory tutoring. Offering other services, like small group classes, will take our focus and attention away from being the best at what we do and from our quest to constantly improve the quality of our specialized service.