Learning Disabilities

Customized Tutoring and In-Home Education for Ohio Students

Learning disability is a general term to describe a wide-range of neurological disorders that affect the brain’s ability to receive, process, store and respond to information. While some students are diagnosed with specific learning differences, such as autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, ADD/ADHD or dyslexia, and others are simply diagnosed with “learning disability”.

We have been working with students with learning disabilities for decades, customizing learning to each child’s needs. While all students can face issues with learning and behavior over the course of time, learning disorders are consistent challenges. They can affect a person’s ability to listen, speak, read, write or understand mathematics.

One common misconception is that environmental factors or cultural differences lead to learning disabilities.

In reality, learning disabilities are caused by:

  • Hereditary factors
  • Problems during pregnancy and birth
  • Incidents after birth

While there are no cures for learning disabilities, there are strategic ways to overcome them with identification, specialized education and learning techniques.

Working with Students

North Coast Education Services uses a variety of methods to teach students with learning disabilities. Some students’ differences qualify them for Individualized Education Plans (IEPs), but not all learners with processing difficulties need an IEP. These students may just need a little assistance to comprehend traditional learning techniques.

Students with learning differences are capable of great things; they just need to be taught in a way that makes sense to them. All learners can benefit from multi-sensory instruction, including visual, auditory, tactile (touch) and kinesthetic (muscle-movement).
At NCES, we offer one-on-one sessions to directly benefit the individual student. Students are not rotated between different tutors for each session. Instead they form a relationship with a tutor, avoiding wasted time with knowledge transfer between tutors for a student.

Specific techniques we may use, include:

  • Speaking slowly
  • Teaching students about consonant and short vowel letter sounds
    • For visual processing, we have learners write in the sand or trace glued letters
    • For auditory processing, we explain how the mouth forms consonant and short vowel sounds
  • Providing students with an outline for their session
  • Working with students on effective note taking and organizational skills
  • Other as needed for a specific learning disability

Try These Tasks at Home

Personalized tutoring and in-home education sessions assist your child’s learning, but there are techniques we suggest you do at home, too.

Plan a trip (real or imaginary) to a U.S. city, state, or a foreign country. Help your child think through all the details every step of the trip: starting date, return date, maps, transportation modes, travel time, overnight accommodations, meals, destination geography, points of interest, and sight-seeing arrangements. Finally, your child will calculate all the expenses and total the cost of the entire trip. When finished, throw out a minor change – how much will it cost if 2 people take the trip?

Simple contests are good if there are fun. Example: using a current vocabulary word, see how many different words your child can make from the word by rearranging the letters. For younger children, limit the word to 4 or 5 letters which limits the number of possible words.

Plan a meal for 6 weeks (or more) on a fixed budget. Your child will shop for food and prepare the meal with your supervision (or without). This is hands-on learning: money management, healthy foods, measuring skills, reading, and cooking.

Toss or kick a ball around with your child to develop gross motor skills.


Students with learning disabilities often have some processing issues.

Here is a list of what students overcome:

Visual Processing: The brain does not accurately process what is seen, which results in output errors. Can be tested with the Woodcock-Johnson Psycho-Education Battery.

Has difficulty:

  • Reversing or misreading numbers or letters
  • Losing place easily
  • Reading words incorrectly
  • Confusing information if paper is crowded with print.

Visual-Motor Processing: The brain, eye and hand do not work together to form complete tasks. Can be tested with the Developmental Test of Visual-Motor Integration.

Has difficulty:

  • Copying from the board
  • Spacing correctly
  • Completing written work
  • Playing sports
  • Tying shoelaces
  • Using scissors.

Auditory Processing: The brain does not accurately process what is heard. Can be tested with the Clinical Evaluation of Language Functions (CELF).

Has difficulty:

  • Learning from lectures
  • Understanding and acting on oral directions
  • Differentiating similar sounds or words
  • Hearing over background noises.

Memory Processing: Information is not stored correctly in the brain to produce accurate responses. Can be tested with the Woodcock-Johnson Psycho-Education Battery.

Has difficulty:

  • With memorization of spelling words and math facts
  • Remembering books needed for homework
  • Completed homework
  • Providing information about self and family
  • Learning information as rapidly as other children.

Language Processing: There are multiple forms of language processing. The receptive and expressive forms can be tested with the CELF. Pragmatic is tested with the Test of Pragmatic Language and written is tested with the Test of Written Language, the Woodcock-Johnson or the Weschler Individual Achievement Test.

Has difficulty:

  • Receptive: the processing of verbal language is impaired creating a failure to understand lectures, directions and conversations.
  • Expressive: the processing of language used in responding is impaired, creating a failure in response to questions, tests and conversations.
  • Pragmatic: the processing of appropriate social in social situations through speech and actions.
  • Written: the processing of writing is impaired, creating a failure to be able to put knowledge into written form.

Students with learning disabilities can achieve educational success with strategic methods. Contact us today or call us at 440-914-0200 to get started!

Jon Peterson Special Needs Scholarship Program

The Jon Peterson Special Needs Scholarship Program (JPSN) provides funds for eligible K-12th grade students who have an IEP from his/her school district. NCES can help families navigate the application process and match their students with a specially trained tutor. Our organization has been an approved provider since the scholarship’s inception.

We offer two types of academic programs for our Jon Peterson Scholarship students:

  • Home-based complete academic program (Child is home schooled but receiving a scholarship)
  • Academic support (Child is attending a private or parochial school)
  • We can arrange for our Academic Program students to receive a high school diploma.

“We have really appreciated our experience with North Coast. From the ease of setting up services to the perfect match of tutors you found for my son, they have been a pleasure to work with. I am so happy that we found them!”
— Kristin, Avon