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Special Education Testing Services works with certified educational psychologists that provide professional testing services to evaluate your student's strengths and weaknesses. The goal of specialized testing is to evaluate your child’s needs to assess the teaching methods that best match your child's learning profile.


After sharing your concerns, Mrs. Hawkins can do diagnostic screening and match you to a local Oahu LD/ADHD assessment tester that will run a serious of tests. Mrs. Hawkins' diagnostic evaluation typically takes two to three sessions.


If you have a recommendation from your child's teacher for retention or testing for a possible learning weakness, Oahu Tutor can provide suggestions about appropriate ways to help your child. Oahu Tutor offers a free parent interview to evaluate your concerns and needs. In addition, Oahu tutor works with local Honolulu testers to provide an individualized program if tutoring is warranted. The goal of the Oahu tutor is graduating students from tutorial lessons as soon as possible.

10 Parent Tips to Work Effectively with a Tutor


Saving professional tutoring time translates to saving tuition fees. Parents get faster results when there is an efficient parent-tutor team. The goal of tutoring is to get the child out of tutoring as soon as possible. These suggestions are easy to implement.

  1. BE PUNCTUAL. Constant late arrivals produce fewer results. Tutors plan tight lessons in l0 to l5 min. blocks of skill training. Late arrivals reduce the tutor's effectiveness, changes the lesson plan, and results in slower achievement. Late pick-ups can result in an anxious child. Tutors can't monitor your waiting child because they usually have another scheduled appointment.

  2. DEPART ONLY WHEN YOU SEE THE TUTOR. It is unsafe and unwise to drop off your child without verifying that the tutor is on the premises. Sometimes parents get the date or time wrong and the tutor is not there.

  3. BRING REQUESTED SUPPLIES TO ALL TUTORIALS. You've wasted tuition money if tutor-provided supplies are forgotten. Each lesson builds upon itself. Showing up without supplies or homework slows or stops progress.

  4. RESPECT PHONE CONSULTATION TIMES. Ask the tutor about phone time availability. The worst time to call is 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. because tutors work during after-school hours.

  5. FOLLOW AT-HOME SUGGESTIONS. Some tutors do not assign work between tutorials. Others expect completed homework with or without parent involvement. Understand your tutor's expectations. Be honest with the tutor, particularly if you have difficulty working with your child. Notify the tutor if you experience avoidance issues at home. They are trained to give useful, workable suggestions.

  6. DON'T BE A PARENTAL "EXCUSE MACHINE." Weekly parent excuses about incomplete homework sends the wrong message to the tutor and the child. Parents sometimes resort to fibs like "We didn't get a lot done" when the child knows that nothing was done. The tutor judges progress based upon your feedback. Inaccurate feedback leads to inefficient lesson plans. The worse-case scenario is a misjudgment of the child's true memory and retention abilities. Be honest with yourself and the tutor. If you can't work with your child then the tutor can redesign lessons to accommodate the problem.

  7. SEGMENT TUTOR HOMEWORK INTO SHORT TIME PERIODS. Your tutor is trained to provide intensive instruction for 30 to 90-minute periods. Don't try to replicate the intensity. The "more time is better" rule will backfire. An individual parent-child session at home would be 5 minutes to a maximum of 20 minutes, depending upon attention, age, difficulty of material, and the activity. The tutor may suggest a 15-minute learning game time limit but a 5-minute homework page limit. Follow the tutor's advice and give feedback about how the time elements are working for you at home.

  8. AVOID DISPARAGING REMARKS ABOUT THE TEACHER OR SCHOOL. Children have sensitive antenna about a parent's derogatory remarks. They can parrot their parent's thoughts at embarrassing moments. An issue with a teacher should be discussed away from children's ears. Disrespect for a teacher is infectious. Children show more negative attitudes when they hear parent's uncomplimentary remarks.

  9. TREAT TUTORING APPOINTMENTS LIKE SCHOOL ATTENDANCE. Sometimes children balk when coming to a tutor. They are usually testing the parent. The parent's message to the child is that tutoring is school. Attendance is not their option. The parent role in a tantrum situation is to get the child into the office and immediately leave. The tantrum is usually over because the child has lost his audience. The most common cause of tantrums is a child with insecurities about their achievement. They feel that "something is wrong." They think the tutor will discover they are dumb, need to go to another school, or that they will never be able to get a better subject grade. These are generally the easiest avoidance situations to rectify.

  10. BE RESPECTFUL OF THE CHILD'S HARD WORK. The most common parent mistake is telling their child "Have fun!" when they deliver the child to the office. The second most common mistake is when a parent picks up their child and asks "Did you have a great time?" This tutor enjoys the reputation of learning in a fun way. Parents often sign up for this style of tutoring because other parents raved about their successful child. Behind every success story is a child doing difficult, concentrated work. Sometimes tutorials probe their weakest areas and the child feels uncomfortable about immediate progress. They don't always have fun-filled tutorials. Don't expect your child to give a glowing verbal "report card" about the tutoring work after each lesson. Don't raise expectations too high by telling the child that they are going to have nothing but fun with the tutor. The best approach is asking if they felt they did their "personal best". Praise the child for their best effort and you'll have a happier tutorial student. Tutors are trained to take benchmarks on current skills and show improvement results within a few weeks. Children have a poor memory of progress. Showing old papers about their "personal best" work in 2 to 3-week intervals renews the child's self-esteem and reminds them of progress.

The above suggestions are practical and useful for any tutor that you select to service your child's learning style.  The insecure child needs reassurance when graduating from tutoring that they will be welcomed back if they feel a need to get more help.

Thirteen Personality Characteristics of Effective Tutors:

  1. Adaptability

  2. Commitment

  3. Creativity

  4. Empathy

  5. Enthusiasm

  6. Learner-Centeredness

  7. Organizational Skills

  8. Patience

  9. Realistic Expectations

  10. Respect

  11. Sense of Humor!

  12. Sensitivity

  13. Understanding

Your Oahu Tutor strives to have a mixture of all these traits when working with your child.


What do you look for in a Oahu Tutor for your child?

  • Experience

  • Location

  • Referral

  • Price

  • References

  • Special Training

  • Professional

  • Keeping it Fun

  • Parent Training


Finding a Good Reading Tutor for Your Child With LD --from Great Schools, Inc. Schwab Learning

By Expert Susan Hall, Ed.D helps parents through the process of finding a good reading tutor for their child.

Choosing the right tutor is one of the most important decisions in the journey to help a child struggling to learn to read. Teaching reading is complex. 

Most parents do not have the expertise, skills, or materials to be their child's primary reading teacher.  Sometimes, even when parents have the skills to teach their child to read, they prefer not to do so.  They don't want to risk confusing or potentially jeopardizing the parent-child relationship if their child resists efforts to help.

Some characteristics of a good tutor include:

  • Well-trained in effective instructional approaches.

  • Plenty of prior experience tutoring children in reading.

  • Good at working with children, including establishing rapport--developing a relationship--so that your child wants to go back.

The first characteristic listed above is extremely important and should be a major guideline in deciding whom to hire.  Effective instruction for students who struggle with reading differs somewhat from what was recommended by the National Reading Panel for all classrooms.

The language structure is taught more explicitly.  Children are given more chance to practice with guided feedback.  Multi-sensory techniques are used whenever possible.

Most of the best reading tutors who help struggling readers   have extensive training in a multi-sensory structured language (MSL) approach.

MSL is an umbrella term that describes a type of instructional approach for teaching reading and writing, especially for teaching sound-letter relationships, by incorporating all the senses.

Sometimes parents who have not had their child tested yet and, therefore, have not identified a reading disability, ask whether they really need such a specially trained tutor.  My response is that it can't hurt and usually is your best decision.  If the child doesn't have a reading disability, ask if they really need such a specially trained tutor.  My response is that it can't hurt and usually is your best decision.  If the child doesn't have a reading disability, or it is mild, he will make great progress and won't need the tutor very long.  Changing tutors can be disruptive, so why not hire someone eminently qualified the first time?  Hiring a tutor who is going to use somewhat the same approach your child is getting in the classroom is not likely to be as effective.


Questions to ask tutors if your child has a learning disability   By Linda Broatch, M.A.

As the parent of a child with learning or attention problems, you've probably become an expert at motivating, organizing, guiding, back-patting, and  just generally being available to help your child manage the daily challenges of school and life.  Kids with learning and attention issues often need repeated instruction and extra practice--beyond what school and a reasonable amount of homework time can provide--to master academic content and skills.  They usually require more time than other kids to organize and complete their school assignments.  As a result, no matter how dedicated you are to supporting your child, there are bound to be times when your schedule, your patience, or your skills just don't allow you to provide all the help your child needs.  Before you or your child reach "overload," consider hiring a tutor.

Individuals grouped under the generic label of "tutor" have very different levels of training, skills, and experience.  Before you search for someone to help your child, you will want to figure out very specifically and concretely both what you expect this person to help your child accomplish, and what your child's current strengths and challenges are.  That will determine the kind of tutor you'll look for.  For example, if your child with a language-based learning disability (LD) needs to master writing an organized, coherent paragraph, you may need to hire a tutor with skills in both writing instruction and in remedial work with kids with LD. 

Before you contact a tutor, ask yourself such questions as:

  • What do I expect this person to do--help my child complete homework, build skills, provide enrichment, teach learning strategies, improve her grades?

  • What information about my child--as a leaerner and as a person--would be useful to a tutor?  What are the strengths and accomplishments, and what are the challenges?  What personality and temperament traits do we need to take into account in a tutoring situation?

  • How will the work with the tutor relate to my child's school program?

  • What kind of tutor can provide the help my child needs?

Mrs. Gail Hawkins, Oahu Private Tutor, comments on the above article:    If you are dealing with the DOE schools and have SPED services, you should ask about staff credentials, training, & experience, and if they have specific multi-sensory training.  It is important to know the specific skill set of the tutor providing services at your home school.  The DOE does not recommend private tutors. When hired privately,  I ask that the parent sign a parent request form so I can communicate with child's teacher about needs and progress.

It often takes time and research to find the right fit for your child.  Sometimes the fit is perfect but the tutor's availability and the child's extracurricular activities do not coordinate well.  Try to be flexible so you can get the appropriate help for your child. The effort you invest in finding a tutor is likely to benefit your child's learning, as well as reduce family stress.

Should You Hire a Tutor? By Jodi Fodor (Author, Teacher)

Guess which of these kids could use a tutor: Kelly, a third-grader who is struggling with math; Mark, a fifth-grader who is doing fine in school and receives good evaluations from his teacher; or Molly, a seventh-grader who loves to read and earns A's in all of her subjects?  The answer is, surprisingly enough, all of them.

When I began tutoring six years ago, I assumed I would build my business by working with kids who were struggling in school. I was surprised to find, however, that my schedule was an even mix of students who were working below their grade levels, those who were right where their teachers expected them to be and those who were performing above their grade levels.

Read ahead to learn more about the benefits of tutoring, what to look for in a tutor and how to decide to continue tutoring, once you've begun.

So, why should you consider hiring a tutor if your child is not struggling? Here are a few reasons:

  • Tutoring can provide personal attention that teachers simply don't have the time to offer. Sometimes a child can feel lost in a room of 25 or 30 kids.

  • Sometimes a child is gifted, but advancing her to the next grade may be inappropriate. A tutor can offer challenges and special assignments to keep her excited about learning.

  • A tutor isn't Mom or Dad. Despite having wonderful relationships with their children, at least 90 percent of my students' parents say they have trouble helping their children (particularly teenagers) with schoolwork. Children are more willing to open their minds in one-on-one academic settings when parent-child dynamics aren't involved.

  • Having a tutor makes many children feel special. Back when I was in school, having a tutor came with the stigma of underachievement. Today, however, many kids view tutoring as a privilege. They feel they deserve this special "coaching," much as gifted athletes are often privately trained


First, ascertain the qualifications of a prospective tutor. Then check her references and make sure her teaching style is right for your child. Here are some important questions to consider:

  • What is the tutor's educational and professional background?

  • Is this tutor a specialist in one academic area?

  • Has the tutor worked with kids like yours?

  • How does she deal with unmotivated or resistant students?

  • Are her lessons structured? Serious? Light? Flexible?

  • Can this tutor offer many references for you to call?


GOALS Some families have very specific goals: "We'd like our son to raise his SAT verbal score by at least 150 points." But many families' goals are less definable: "I want my daughter to be more confident about her reading," or "My son needs more personal attention than he gets in the classroom," or "My daughter needs better study skills."

Ask yourself: What do you hope your child will accomplish and by when? How will this tutor assess your child's needs? Will she be willing to meet with your child's teachers? Will she keep you updated about your child's progress by writing you, calling you or by meeting with you regularly? It's okay to be unclear about your goals in the beginning. After working with your child, a tutor will be able to define how she can help your child reach the next level. Just make sure that you and the tutor know what each other's expectations are.

LOCATION Ask yourself: What is the most convenient and appropriate tutoring location for you and your child? Will the tutor work with your child in a library or office? Your home or his? Will he charge extra if he needs to commute to you?

COST Some tutors charge by the hour, some for a 45-minute session. And rates vary a great deal. Some tutors charge as much as $140 in Honolulu. You may be able to save money if your child has a friend with similar academic needs and your prospective tutor is willing to work with two children at once. My hourly rate for a shared lesson is only slightly higher than my rate for a private lesson.

CANCELLATION POLICY Some tutors require that you cancel or reschedule within 24 hours of the lesson.

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