Anyone have experience with Sylvan or other tutoring centers?

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Posted 2/4/2013 by Pea-T-A-Mom in NSBR Board

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PeaNut 159,334
July 2004
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Posted: 2/4/2013 8:47:41 PM
DS tested as GATE (gifted program), but also has some challenges. Sensory Input Disorder was the main one we thought throughout the elementary years, but in middle school, many more issues are surfacing, which we are persuing help for. He always excelled in math, though, he was figuring out cube roots at the age of four!

DS has gone from an average student in elementary, to a C-D-F student in middle school. He got As in math last year, but this marking period got a B-. To me, knowing my kid, the B- in Math is more shocking than the F in history.

But it is all unacceptable.

We had an IEP meeting in January, and as our Psychiatrist evaluation hadn't been ready yet, we only have the SID to go on. Though the evaluating Dr. IInformally told me that DS is definitely Aspergers, and quite possibly ADHD.

With that long-winded preliminary, I think that a lot of DS's trouble is that he doesn't know how to study effectively. I've tried to teach him strategies, but he is resistant to my methods. He is also very disorganized, so I have taken it upon myself to track his assignments, make sure they are completed and in his backpack.

Will Sylvan help him study, organize? Or are their other suggestions?



PeaNut 15,949
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Posted: 2/4/2013 8:52:41 PM
Honestly, I have never heard of a situation where Sylvan totally turned a child around. I've had students who have gone through Sylvan and they don't do anything to align what they work on with our curriculum. I think they are overpriced for what they offer. If any local colleges offer a summer program or something for middle schoolers. I've seen those offered around here. Even finding a teacher who tutors on the side may be able to help you more (plus a lot cheaper). I just don't think Sylvan or any of those places are going to offer the study and organizational skills like you are wanting.

Just my 2 cents.


PeaNut 136,376
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Posted: 2/4/2013 9:19:23 PM
Call you doctor for a recommendation to a pediatric occupational therapist. That is who can help with sensory issues. Or neurologist, I would not go to Sylvan for the issues you have described. Good luck!


PeaNut 49,444
September 2002
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Posted: 2/4/2013 9:36:59 PM
Both my Grand kids went to Sylvan. GS's Kindergarten teacher wanted to retain him, but after I taught him to read he was promoted. In the summer between K and 1st grade he and my GD both attended Sylvan. It was one of the best moves that my daughter made for both kids. They are now in 2nd and 3rd grade and are still getting almost straight A's.

I am not sure what kind of programs they offer for older grades however. I would call and talk to them before deciding. They are expensive, but we found them to be worth it for my grand kids age groups. My GS also has ADHD, but he also tested gifted this year. HTH

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PeaNut 159,334
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Posted: 2/4/2013 9:42:20 PM

Call you doctor for a recommendation to a pediatric occupational therapist. That is who can help with sensory issues. Or neurologist, I would not go to Sylvan for the issues you have described. Good luck!

He worked with an Occupational Therapist throughout Elementary. We also had him seeing a MFT therapist to work on his social skills.

He is in a laptop program, to mitigate the sensory issues (his writing is painful and atrocious, but he types quite well and fast).

We work with him nightly, but just can't seem to break through to him how to study. Getting him to turn in his homework is also an issue, no matter how much we check on what's due when, we are not in the classroom with him, compelling him to get his homework out of his backpack to actually turn it in.

And even though he's done the homework, even though we've checked it and pointed out problems, when he sits for tests, it's clear he does not always absorb the materials.

He is currently being tested by a Genetisist, because he presents indications for Neurofibromatosis.


sunny 5

PeaNut 472,024
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Posted: 2/4/2013 9:53:18 PM
you need to work with professionals to get the iep get the right support so he can have progress.
he needs specific goals around organization...he may need to use a computer to become organized. effective studying for him means something different than for you and me. he may need study guides, tests that are concrete in nature..etc.
you may just have to wait til the testing is done to figure out all the issues. I recommend Dr. Stewart's book " Helping a child with nonverbal learning disorder or Asperger's syndrome".

he may need class notes given to him. he may need to take the test in a quiet place...soI would wait to see the full testing, have another iep meeting...write some goals around organization, consider getting an assistive technology assessment (see what tech would help him)--have school pay for it...write goals about chunking work, teaching outlining, how to need a team approach and
knowing many many of these kids...sylvan is not the answer. he probably needs specific and taylored support.

sunny 5

PeaNut 472,024
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Posted: 2/4/2013 9:57:28 PM
sorry..adding in. he may need to turn in homework electronically or have a staff member at school help him get out the homework every day. he may also have short term memory issues...meaning he can't take it in,,,and reguritate it out... or it may be in the way the material is it concrete? does he need the material outlined...maybe he can't pull out the main points or determine what is important to remember. processing problems are common.

my kid with asperger's went to a high school where they don't use paper..everything is done on the computer and turned in on the computer...and everything is organized in sticky notes on the first screen.
every class used the same methods for outlining notes and material and on notetaking.


PeaNut 308,331
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Posted: 2/4/2013 10:17:16 PM
every teacher/adminsitrator friend of mine does NOT recommend Sylvan. They teach their stuff, not necessarily what kids are learning in school. They say it's way over priced as well.

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PeaNut 92,987
June 2003
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Posted: 2/4/2013 10:55:36 PM
Skip Sylvan, it's the same business model as some of those "technical" skills places; they have a curricula, have personal on staff that do the "classroom" or small group stuff, and they have double that number trying to sell their classes. (Been there, done that, not a good fit)

A pedagogical occupational therapist would be my first choice as well. If there is an IEP, and there is the recommendation for outside help, in some areas the school district coordinates it and pays. In other places it is a state department of education that does it. You might have to research it. A few places WILL NOT recommend because then they have to provide it.

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PeaNut 375,962
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Posted: 2/5/2013 1:09:31 AM
Haven't read everyones responses but DON'T WASTE YOUR MONEY!!!

Sue Pea

PeaNut 87,238
May 2003
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Posted: 2/5/2013 6:34:32 AM
Is there a past teacher that your DS had that he or you really liked? I would contact that teacher and ask if he/she would be willing to tutor DS one or two days a week after school.

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PeaNut 210,654
June 2005
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Posted: 2/5/2013 7:15:00 AM
We found a tutor specific to my niece's needs on They have all sorts of local tutors (from teachers to college studants) that will work one on one. We tried sylvan, but it didn't work as it was 3:1 ratio.


I just don't see why people think I'm too patronizing (that means I treat them as if they were stupid.)


PeaNut 134,598
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Posted: 2/5/2013 8:26:16 AM
We very foolishly went to Hunnington which is comparable to Sylvan.

A little son had made it to 7th grade easily as a b student. We hit 7th grade and he gets a science teacher that prides herself on teaching at a 10th grade level. My son promptly sank and we were desperate. The teacher flippantly suggested that we "try one of those tutoring places".

The only one close enough was Hunnington. The first day we go for a consult, they were cordial, friendly, assured us the they can help us. They tell us to come back the next day at 3pm for an evaluation. Much to my surprise, the test was not over until after 7pm! My son had not had anything to eat or drink since 12:30 that day....and they expect him to properly test? They had not told him to eat prior and they certainly had made no mention how long the proceedure was! I thought we would be home to eat dinner!

We get the results (and by now we had already paid $7000) and much to my surprise, they say he is testing at a 4th grade level! But they "assure" us that he can be caught up in one month. By now I am suspicious.....and $7000 poorer.

He has to quit his basketball team because he goes to Hunnington from 3-5 four days a week. He hates it.

Low and Behold at our month consult....he is "now working at 8th grade level"....but he is still flunking science (doing well in all his other classes). We had been taken.

Since then, I have found out how they work and have never found anyone who has had a good experience. They are now closed (our location is anyway)

My advise would be to ask the teacher or principal for a list of tutors. I guarantee they will never suggest one of these learning centers.

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PeaNut 110,589
October 2003
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Posted: 2/5/2013 8:56:30 AM
I've heard mixed review about learning centers. However, you know your child has additional obstacles that learning centers just can't touch.

Study skills and organizational skills can be taught. You just have to find the best avenue on how your son will learn those skills. It may not be you as the parent. It may be a trusted teacher, a therapist, or possibly even a college student who can tutor your son that may also be writing a thesis paper on how to help organize kids in school.

Lady of Ledgers

PeaNut 52,585
October 2002
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Posted: 2/5/2013 9:50:17 AM
My dh is a trained teacher that worked at Sylvan for a few months while he was between teaching jobs. All 3 of our boys have IQs in the gifted range, and they all have learning challenges as well (from written expression deficiencies to ADHD).

Sylvan's methods are to incrementally teach a concept. Tiny bit by tiny bit, giving small rewards in their token system as they move along. If your son is gifted, especially in math, having this bit by bit instruction would probably bore him to tears.

Is he having difficulty adjusting to the middle school environment? Many students have issues with changing to a larger school, and with the Aspergers thrown in, that would make it even more challenging, IMO. Have you talked to his teachers, especially his math teacher to see what the issues with the lower grades are? Perhaps it is organization and other non-academic related reasons that are bringing his grades down. You know, not getting his assignments done, class participation, etc. We have always viewed ourselves and our boys' teachers as a team, and try to stay in frequent contact with them, letting them know we support them and asking them to come to us with any issues they may have. Our boys are good kids, but definitely have some unique challenges to deal within the classroom. Unfortunately not all teachers seem to be willing to work with us in the way we hope, but some definitely do.

I wish you luck - advocating for your child when they have a mixed bag of issues to deal with can be very difficult. We've been struggling for 2 years to have ds#1 challenged in math. I hope you have teachers that are willing & able to provide the necessary supports for all aspects of your son's learning.

Check out the hoagies gifted website for lots of information regarding 'twice exceptional' students - gifted students who also have learning challenges.


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PeaNut 382,038
July 2008
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Posted: 2/5/2013 10:08:15 AM
i would look at other resources as well. in my experience they did not match up with the provincial curriculum and when i spoke to the head of the centre, he was determined that even if that is what the curriculum said, his way was how they do it in europe and more "age appropriate". what does that even mean????

our public school refused to give us a referral to a tutor because they aren't "allowed" to but DDs teacher gave us one, on the side and unofficially.

i think DD benefited from extra practice at the centre but LEARNED more from the tutor. the key is finding the RIGHT TUTOR for your child.
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