New Trends in Tutoring Keep Children Learning

Shot of a teacher working with a young students while sitting in a classroom (Getty Images)

When you hear the word “tutoring,” perhaps you picture a bespectacled instructor at an oak desk working with a young student, pen and paper at the ready. But in today’s high-tech world full of students with a wide variety of skill levels and challenges, the methods of tutoring and kinds of tutors are as varied today as the students who seek them out.

At SpeechLeap in Pikesville, speech-language pathologist/speech therapist Samara Shalom (known to her students as Mrs. Sami) has been offering an array of pediatric speech and language therapy programs for children from the Baltimore-metro area from birth to 21 since 2016.

“I was in private practice for three years in Arkansas, and then I started SpeechLeap about a year after we moved here in 2015,” Shalom said.

The company has an office in Pomona Square but Shalom works with most of her clients, who have a broad spectrum of needs, in their homes.

“The main things that I focus on are early language acquisition, the language-literacy connection, autism, articulation/phonological disorders and just recently I’ve started including some oral placement therapy,” she said.

She advises parents or individuals to give her a call if their communication problems or their child’s are affecting their ability to interact with others. “I do offer free screening,” she said. “I know sometimes parents don’t want to make that full commitment and it’s only about a 15-minute process.”

For more information, go to or call 410-394-8794.

Occupational therapist, special educator and accessibility consultant Shoshana Shamberg helps people who may be having trouble getting effective help for learning and comprehension challenges from traditional medical and tutoring avenues. At her Abilities OT/Irlen Diagnostic Center clients can be assessed, screened and participate in diagnostic testing for Irlen Syndrome, a condition involving “the brain’s ability to process information,” which can manifest differently in different people, according to Irlen Syndrome Foundation.

Signs of Irlen Syndrome can include light sensitivity, reading problems, headaches, migraines, attention and concentration problems, strain, fatigue, problems with depth perception and print or environmental distortions.

“The eyes are windows to the brain. I am actually working with the brain and how the brain processes light and visual information,” Shamberg said. “And often it’s misdiagnosed as an acuity issue. I get people with 10 pairs of glasses and none of them work. It’s really calming down the nervous system. Irlen and color are one part of what I do, but I use other modalities such as breathing exercises, meditation and mindfulness. I use Brain Gym, which is educational kinesiology, and craniosacral therapy. Things that calm the nervous system down so the brain is better able to process information. So, you have immediate output.”

For more information on assessments, screening and diagnostic testing, go to, call 410-358-7269 or email

Sylvan Learning, headquartered in Hunt Valley, is one of the oldest names in traditional tutoring, with five learning centers in Maryland serving K-12 students who need help with academics, STEM learning, preparation for college and more. But in June Sylvan launched a new initiative called Sylvan In-Home, which takes tutors out of the centers and brings them into students’ homes, or other convenient locations for one-to-one or small-group tutoring.

Jennifer Brandeen, vice president of strategy and business development is heading up the new program.

“Now we’re taking what we do best in-center, knowing that consumers are driven by convenience, and tapping into the world of teachers and educators and private tutors and those that are connected within our communities that have kids and know the needs of those kids and bringing our products to the communities and delivering them in the home,” Brandeen said.

While Sylvan In-Home is a new concept, it is based on the company’s tried-and-true center tutoring and assessment programs.

“Sylvan In-Home is a good match for any child in terms of any of their academic needs,” Brandeen said. “We meet children where they are, whether they are behind in school whether they are at, or above grade level and they just want to have the trusted, proven Sylvan brand with quality tutors that have been vetted. And we come into your home and deliver one-on-one tutoring for whatever your child needs.”

For more information, go to or call 1-888-997-0145.

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