Tutors for Kids with Learning Differences

Parent Q&A

Math tutor/ed therapist for 10 year old girl? Mar 14, 2018 (2 responses below)
  • My daughter is in 4th grade and really struggling in math. Looking back she's always had trouble but it's coming to a head. When I think about her as a learner, I feel like she'd benefit working with someone who uses Making Math Real, or understands a bit about learning disabilities. (We are starting to wonder whether she might have a learning disability - she's far above grade level in reading, and far below in spelling as well as math. Handwriting is also a struggle. We may get her tested but for right now want to at least start the math help.) 

    I'd love any recommendations of math tutors or Ed therapists in the Berkeley/Oakland/El Cerrito area. A tutor with a good sense of humor would be ideal. Thank you!

    Hi Betty

    I am in a similar situation, but with twin daughters in 4th grade :) We just started going to a tutor/ed therapist named Amy Draizen, who works out of an office on Piedmont Ave. She is great but for now is working with my girls on reading and writing. We have not had time to address math issues and one of my daughters is struggling with math facts still. I am thinking of attending a Making Math Real 1-day workshop for parents and teachers on Saturday, April 28: http://www.makingmathreal.org/about/ncbida-2018/

    I realize this is not the answer you were looking for but wanted to share that I am in the same boat and would potentially like to share the cost of a tutor if you find a good one. In the meantime, I plan on training myself on Making Math Real as I have heard such good things about it. Their website is full of amazing testimonials by parents similar to us!

    Sarah in North Berkeley

    We just started working with Stefan Oste for my 14 year old son who has dyscalculia and dysgraphia (and lots of anxiety about math).  Stefan is amazing!  He is trained in Making Math Real and has a fun and supportive approach with his students.  My son has already improved his math skills (in just over a month) and has much less anxiety around math.  Stefan also teaches math at Bayhill High School and comes to our home in Oakland.  I can't recommend him enough.  You can reach him at stefanoste510 [at] gmail.com and contact me for more info if you'd like.

  • My 15 yr old son was diagnosed with Mild Intellectual disability. His overall IQ is 69. His weakest area is comprehension. I was looking at the Linda Mood Bell Program especially their V & V comprehension segment & want to know how helpful it is with children of low IQ . Are there any other programs that will improve cognition that I should look into?

    My daughter was diagnosed with this same disability and an inability concentrate at age 14.  We researched this for several years tried everything we could only to find nothing helped her including medications.  Somehow with her disability she was able to graduate a year early, attended a community college for a year and was accepted to one of the better state universities in spite of her disability. 

    Looking back, we now realize yes she probably has and will always have a disability but that doesn’t mean she can’t succeed.

    Two NPR show on Memory and Forgetting which might be helpful.

    We love our daughter just the way she is.  Do we wish we could help her? You bet.  But everything so far has been a waste of time and money and hasn’t helped.  We are doing what we can to help here succeed in life just the way she is.

    Best of luck to you with your son.

    You may want to call Scottish Rites in Oakland.  For free, the offer various programs for those with speech, reading and language challenges.  They utilize various current methods.  Its free but if you can donate something it is helpful as they are no profit.  If not thats ok too.   The link to their website is:  http://www.oaklandspeech.org/

    They offer a generous limted number of hours per child or 2yrs therapy, whichever comes first.

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Need Tutor/Coach for Junior with IEP for low-end Asperger​

Oct 2015

My son is a Junior at Oakland Tech. He's an intelligent kid who gets lousy grades and would rather game than even ask for help. He has an IEP for low-end Asperger. He has trouble processing math. I'm hoping a recent college grade or current college student could help him not only in school work and improving grades, but understanding HOW to focus and organize. Thank you. Worried Mom


I highly recommend Classroom Matters in Berkeley. Last year, they helped my son
stay focused on his Academic Goals, as he went beyond memorizing and actually
grasping the subject matters. I truly appreciate the tutors commitment to
helping my son learn the material. 

I felt that both my son and I received support from the staff. They were always
willing to go the extra mile with friendly and compassionate attitudes. 

Here is there link:

Best of Luck! 


Academic Coach/Tutor for high school son with ADD and Dyslexia

July 2014

Hello, We are searching for someone who can help my sophomore son get organized with his studies, and to improve his skills in writing. He has some inattentive ADHD and very mild dyslexia, which combine to create antipathy towards school. This is particularly true for writing and research projects, and for orgqnanizing himself. He does fine in math. Due to his sports schedule, we would need someone who can come to our home in Berkeley. If you have someone who has helped your child with these issues, we would appreciate a post back. Thanks very much! Anonymous Parent of High Schooler

Our son as a teen was pathologically disorganized and could not focus on writing text. What helped him was behavior modification methods employed by an out-of-state special ed teacher who was temporarily working as an aide (astonishing luck for our family!).

The task-reward system worked like this: if he could stay on task with writing an essay for 45 minutes, he got 15 minutes of down time. He asked whether he could accumulate the 15 minute segments to have an entire afternoon off. She agreed to this. He was able to produce writing assignments and later did well in college.

As regards disorganization with regard to materials, time management etc, I'd advise that you pick your battles. Can he program an iPhone or one like it to remind him of deadlines? Then the trick is for him to input each assignment or appointment as it is mentioned, or to write it down by hand and first thing each evening enter it into the iPhone.

Both our special needs son and our neurotypical daughter struggle with organization. But both have improved with maturity. Remember to provide positive feedback whenever your son shows some incremental improvement. Amelia

Emma Pollin is a tutor who specializes in study skills and executive functioning scaffolding. She has worked with students like your son improve their general organization and writing skills, as well as motivate them to complete research projects. She can travel to your home in Berkeley and help him regularly throughout the school year. Because she engages with her students and their specific interests, their attitude towards school improves. She works for Aspire Education Project, a local nonprofit tutoring company. Our number is 510-658-7500, and our email is info [at] aspireeducation.org. aspireeducation

Below is the review I wrote or Heather Sweeney earlier this summer. She comes to your house for sessions and works with many students with ADHD. She constantly goes above and Beyond: Heather Sweeney has been working with D for two years now, and she is fantastic. I called her when my hardworking daughter with ADHD hit a bump in AP US History in her Junior year of High School. At first she said she had no room, but after hearing our story she showed, not for the last time, her level of compassion by saying,'' I want to help her''. She comes to our house, charges very reasonable rates, and has helped D with study and note taking skills, writing, test prep and much more. She is funny, patient, smart and caring. D sees her as a friend and looks forward to their sessions. Also enjoyable are the ''tribal dinners'' when many of Heather's students have a pot luck together and have a chance to share stories. My daughter made it into her dream college and we owe much of this to Heather. Contact info: hthrsweeney [at] gmail.com r2dean

Tutor for 5th grade boy with ADHD

May 2014

I am looking for a tutor for my son. He's in 5th grade. He has AdHd. He gets very interested in classwork but has a lot of trouble following thru on papers and teachers comments on revisions and with fine motor skills. I'm looking for a tutor to help him get down the mechanics while making it possible to put his interests to work. Ruth

I would highly recommend Nancy Chin at http://www.stepbystep4success.com/. You can call her at 510-384-1909. She worked with my elementary school age son who was really not engaged at school and not doing his work. She made an amazing difference. She is really focused on helping them build good habits and following through. She is really consistent and firm but nice. His teacher says my son is like a different child after spending a few months working with Nancy. I think she would be a perfect fit for your son. Good luck

March 2013

Gretchen Wegner, academic coach extraordinare, has been a lifesaver for my daughter, M. When M. came to Gretchen for help she was a very intelligent but underachieving high school student with ADD and severe executive function disorder. Gretchen dug in and helped M. develop time manangement skills, study skills, as well as concrete academic skills. After high school, M. chose to attend a large college and we were so worried about her disappearing through the cracks. We asked Gretchen to help M. transition to college. Gretchen has skyped with M. once a week in college. She reviews M.'s school schedule and her extra curricular activities. She helps her plan her free time and her study time. Without Gretchen, M. would be floundering in college, while, with Gretchens' help, she is thriving. We are so proud of M.'s accomplishments, M. is proud of herself, and we owe a mountain of gratitude to Gretchen for her invaluable contribution to M.'s development. In addition, M. has enjoyed and appreciated every minute she has spent with Gretchen over these past few years. Visit Gretchen's website at www.gretchenwegner.com K.

Gretchen Wegner has been an amazing tutor for my son C.. Before we met Gretchen our home life was spent working with C. every evening on his homework. He was frustrated and we were frustrated! Gretchen changed our lives. She instantly connected with C. academically and personally. C. is extremely motivated but has a learning disability, which got in his way of comprehending the homework and classwork. With Gretchen's coaching, he learned how to study differently, to use new tools and to be successful in learning, and once again to feel confident. Twice a week Gretchen provides academic coaching sessions for C., using charts to track his progress and grades, as well as any upcoming projects and assignments. Using Skype (which is great! No more driving time, schlepping C. to tutoring) to connect and communicate with, has been easy. C. has all his textbooks and materials at his fingertips. I used many tutors and programs previously, Linda Mood Bell, Komen and Sylvan, none of them provided the connection and the success that C. has experienced with Gretchen. We are so lucky and grateful to have found someone who has turned C.'s life around and made him like school once again! www.gretchenwegner.com Sign me as: y.

Tutor for 13 year old with dyslexia and ADD

Dec 2012

Looking for an educational therapist or tutor with experience with these two conditions to help our son with writing. We are looking for some who is skilled and kind--a sense of humor would also be great. Thanks in advance. Anonymous

I highly recommend educational therapist Ann Levinsohn. She's warm, patient and has a great sense of humor. My dyslexic 13 year old loves working with her! She is also great with parents. I know that she works with kids who have ADHD as well as dyslexia. Her number is (510) 233-0539 Good luck!

My 16 y.o. son has ADHD and has always struggled mightily with writing. Since he was in 8th grade - 13 y.o. - he has been working with Silvia Sikes, an educational therapist. She has been a great boon to him. From his first session with her, he liked her! which is key to his gaining help from her. She really ''gets'' his struggles, supports him and has high expectations for him. You can reach her at writeon50 [at] sbcglobal.net or 510 610 8910 Anon

My student, now age 19, had an excellent experience with (and relationship with) ''Ann Levinsohn'' levinack [at] hotmail.com, who lives & works out of her home in Richmond; it was very easy to get to, very close to I-80. She was also an excellent ''counselor'' to both my student and to me, e.g. some great advice, skillfully delivered. Peggy

Tutor for son with ADHD and other learning issues

Nov 2012

I'm looking for an educational therapist for my son who has ADHD & other learning issues. He needs help with organization, Spanish, and writing & editing. The Spanish speaking skill is critical for us. He does very well with people who have a relaxed style. Any suggestions are appreciated. Thanks!

Linda Lawton, founder and director of Center of Attention and Learning centerofattentionandlearning.org possesses an optimal balance of professional skills. She was a great resource for my teenage son, addressing his learning issues as well as the resulting family dynamics. Linda artifully combines her expansive knowledge of the neurology of learning and attention to skillfully assess and develop a functional, comprehensive, individualized intervention that goes beyond tutoring. Linda's goal is to help her clients gain insight into their own learning strengths and challenges while also setting up concrete goals for day-to-day success. She is active with CHADD and is fluent in Spanish! Good luck in your search for someone who is a match for your son. FG

I would like to recommend Gabriel as a tutor. He is been working with my son who is a junior in BH and I have seen great results with his grades. His email is benshalom.gabriel [at] gmail.com phone: (510) 504-0794 manc96

Tutor for high schooler with ADD

Nov 2011

My husband and I tried several tutors for our high school sophomore who was diagnosed with mild ADD and has had writing issues since grade school. But we fuond that they weren't able to really help him with his writing. Last year we were referred to Ashley Coburn by our pediatrician (Brad Berman). Ashley is a Learning Specialist and Academic Coach and she was able to help our son develop solid writing strategies based on his learning and attention issues, which has helped him so much with the demands of high school. His self-esteem has also improved, which my husband and I were especially concerned about. We highly recommend Ashley Coburn. (510)384-6069. Good luck!

Tutor for our 2e 13yo son!

Aug 2010

We are in desperate need of a tutor/learning coach who has experience in working with teens. Our 13 yo son is 2E (twice exceptional ~ highly gifted & has learning challenges) He has ADD & Dysgraphia he currently has a 504 Plan in place but his school is of no help & we need someone who will work with our son and us to guide him on the path to success. He needs someone who ''get's him'' He's an amazing guy with so much to offer & although quirky & eccentric he's also the most fearless person I've ever known! He struggles with writing due to the dysgraphia & his school has no clue & insist he just doesn't want to do the work ~ he also needs math help & I'm not equipped to handle this area & dad travels a lot. We're in the Lafayette/Walnut Creek area & would prefer someone who could come to us. Our son feels more secure in familiar surroundings. We'll do whatever he needs. We want his educational experience to be different/positive. Please toss us a lifeline so we can help our beautiful son sail smoothly on the sea of his life. Jess

Although you requested a tutor, I would also like to point you toward the Attention Achievement Center, a resource that has helped our own 2E child amazingly. You can find more information at: http://www.drugfreeadd.com/ They have a program that can help your child repattern their brain habits toward greater attention. It's totally drug free, permanent, and effective. Our child's homeroom teacher described the change as ''like a miracle.'' We also have used tutors, but it was like walking uphill until we did the achievement center program. Grateful

Try Nancy Knopp at Summit Center (www.summitcenter.us). They specialize in working with gifted kids there. Good luck -

Your son seems like the type of student that Paul the Tutor works with. He specializes in students with learning disabilities and is himself dyslexic. I am a teacher, and have seen him have great success with students who have various and multiple disabilities. His education center is on Piedmont Avenue is Oakland, and I do not believe he works with students in their homes. He has a website www.paulthetutor.com and you can email him through his website, or call him at 510-381-2425. anon teacher

Math tutor for 4th grader on the spectrum

Aug 2009

Hello, I am trying to find a math tutor for my child who will be entering the fourth grade in the fall. She is on the spectrum, and I am trying to find a good match for her . Her 3rd grade teacher is concerned with her difficulty in grasping more abstract math concepts. Her teacher also highly recommended someone trained in the''Making Math Real'' program, but I have not been able to find anyone. Any recommendations would be appreciated.

I highly recommend Bill Baldyga. I found him through BPN. He specializes in working with kids who have learning disabilities. My son is on the spectrum and was struggling with math concepts. He is entering 3rd grade and has been working with Bill on math and reading comprehension 2x/week for about a year. At this point, he is working on math problems at or above grade level. Bill comes to our house. You can find out more about his services at http://www.halcyonlearning.com

I would like to recommend an educational therapist to work with the girl who needs Making Math Real. Jamie Keller is patient, kind, and funny and has been trained in MMR. I have seen her work successfully with many different types of children. You can reach her at 510-524-8697. Jenifer

Hi Marie, I have a recommendation for you. The tutor we work with is credentialed in Making Math Real. Jon has worked with our son for nearly 2 years. Jon is a flexible problem solver. He will work with your child, at her pace, interest and apply appropriate encouragement. He will also work in tandem with whatever program your child's school is using. Jon is an awesome Dad himself. I even took the introductory 2 day course in Making Math Real myself to apply at home. Hope this is helpful. Jonathan Hoffman Math Demystified Multisensory, Structured Math Instruction

For those of you that may be looking for a Math(up to Trig and Calculus)tutor, we highly recommend Strategies for Learning in Oakland on Grand Avenue. For years our daughter, struggled with Math and writing from grade school to now college. Because her grades were average, no one would believe us when we said she needed to be tested due to problems she had processing various types of information. Once in college she began failing all of her math courses, so it was recommended that she be tested by a professional. She was diagnosed with a specific learning disability. After extensive searching we found a wonderful tutor through Strategies For Learning. His patience and math techniques have made it possible for our daughter to move forward in a positive direction. Now she is maintaining a B average in Math and we have seen such a difference with her self esteem. We plan to continue tutoring on her writing skills as well. I understand that they also provide tutoring in Science(life science and physical) as well as organizational, study skills, reading and written expression.

Hi, I would highly recommend Jonathan Hoffman at Math Demystified. Jon is trained in the Making Math Real teaching style and has a masters in engineering. He's a very kind soul who really wants to help kids. My son has great difficulty with certain math concepts. Jon has helped him a great deal and is so patient. You can reach him at 510-333-4083 or jon [at] mathdemystified.net. Good luck! Mom of Math Challenged Child

Aug 2009

We adopted an older child who was way behind in school and is an ESL learner with the likelihood of some learning issues. We had him assessed at times and he was being tutored in and after school. The various tutors/programs were helpful but we realized that we really needed a more closely tracked and educational theraputic approach if he was ever going to make greater progress. That's where we found Phyllis Koppleman at Strategies for Learning in Oakland so helpful. Web site: www.strategiesforlearning.com Phyllis helped us move from a general tutoring approach to an educational therapy and case management approach. She matched our son with tutors skilled in the appropriate learning approach for a subject. Understanding how your child learns is all important with or without learning issues. Finding tutors with the right training and experience and who connect with your child is another. Strategies for Learning helped us put that all together and our son has made much greater progress since then. David

Oct 2008

Jenifer Steele has been tutoring my child for the past 5 years. When my daughter was diagnosed with ADD by the school psychologist, I decided against drug therapy, but felt the need for extra assistance with the academics. Since Ms. Steele was familiar with Math Made Real and had a certificate in Educational Therapy, I though she might work well with someone that had learning difficulties. She has helped my child immensely. Not only has Jenifer assisted with improvement in reading, writing, spelling, math and Spanish, but she has helped her with organizational skills, time management, assertiveness techniques and ommunications skills. My daughter views her not only as a mentor, but as a true friend. I highly recommend Jenifer Steele as a tutor for your child especially if he/she may have some type of learning disability. You can reach her at (510)548- 7520 or jssteele [at] pacbell.net Marie

Tutor for child with learning disability

August 2008

Does anyone know of a tutor who can work with our child who has a learning disability and is sensitive to the issues that we face with teaching our child? We'd prefer someone in the Berkeley/Albany/El Cerrito area. Our child is in Elementary School.

If you're child requires tutoring, have you asked the local school district?

In any case, Raskob in Oakland offers tutoring for children with LD. I've heard great things.

I believe there is also a Lindamood Bell in Berkeley, however, they typically address global LD needs and will require an assessment and then place your child in on of their programs.

There's is a non for profit in Oakland called Aspires. They offer after school tutoring and work on sliding fee scale rates. Hope this helps, Mandy

I didn't see your original post, but OUSD's first offer is to hold your kid back so they can have the same instruction that didn't work the first time. That was my experience anyway. My child worked with Bill Baldyga. I highly recommend him. He will come to your home or school. 415-216-8493. www.Halcyonlearning.com Sign me as my child now can read!

I highly recommend Renee Zarlow, an educational therapist, located in the east bay. She has more than 35 years working with children including students with learning difficulties such as dyslexia. She uses a multi sensory modality. In addition she administers Kindergarten assessments to determine levels of school readiness. She is available for consultation.Sliding scale and can travel to your home. She can reached via email at zarlow [at] prodigy.net

Tutor for middle schooler with ADD

Aug 2006

Hello all I need homework help for my middle schooler entering 7th grade. She went to Raskob Learning Center in the evening last school year which was pretty good, but pricey. She has ADD and she articulated to me that she needs help with the day to day school work. She has been tested and re-tested and does not qualify for anything from the school district that really seems to help. I have checked current recommendations on file and they did not pan out. Any suggestions or positive experiences with a particular tutor would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance
anon mom

Try ABS Homeschool and Tutorial Center. They do allow some clients to pay on a sliding scale. call Kena or Bilal @ 510-430-1701 anon

I know just the person for you. Her availability is limited, but she is worth trying. Her name is Angela Parker and she used to be the director of Lindamood-Bell Learning Processes in Berkeley. She is currently getting her PhD in education (of course!) and still works with a few students privately. Angela is great with kids, especially the ones who have a hard time sitting still. She provides a holistic approach to teaching, focusing on their emotional and academic needs. Helping children with learning challenges is her passion, and the kids know it. She keeps them focused and positive, and they do their best with her because they feel challenged and supported. Give her a call at 510 530-9571 another parent

Programs for kids with learning disabilities

June 2003

i have seen previous recommendations and wondered if anyone who sent their child to lindamood-bell or another program for kids with learning disabilities would be willing to talk with me- thanks-alice

Another great place that provides services for children with learning disabilites is Educational Services Associates, under the direction of Dr. Ann Gordon, on Grand Avenue in Oakland. They can be reached at 873-0801. Good luck.

May 2003

I am writing to recommend Kris Willits as tutor. I found Kris's listing on your website about six months ago, and what a find that was! I just can\\222t say enough good things about her. I was looking for a tutor to help my daughter \\226 a senior in high school, with a belatedly-diagnosed mild learning disability \\226 get some sense of control over her school work and recover from too many years of slipping through the cracks at school. Kris doesn\\222t just tutor the academics: she has an amazing bag of tricks of all different ways to approach any kind of assignment. Kris helped my daughter find study strategies that would work for her. Since my daughter has difficulties with organizing her thinking around how to do the assignments, Kris quickly identified my daughter\\222s strengths and focused on organizational and study methods that utilized those strengths. And she never, ever let my daughter feel like a failure. Kris is so much more than a tutor: she is part mentor, part therapist, part big sister. Feel free to contact me if you want more info, but you can contact Kris (The Socratic Method: Learning for All Kinds of Minds) directly at kwillits [at] earthlink.net. Alison