The mission of the
National Institute for Learning Development
to build the competence and confidence of those who struggle to learn
by training educators and developing programs. NILD
trains educators in a model of
intervention utilizing a variety of methods designed to develop learning
ability and strengthen cognitive functioning. Specifically NILD
uses interactive language in a dynamic,
unscripted approach. The method is intentional and explicitly focused
upon learning needs
defined through psycho-educational assessment. The educational
therapist guides the student through Socratic questioning, inductive
reasoning, systematic feedback, self regulation and direct
to life skills. The
goal of NILD
is to equip individuals who struggle to
learn to succeed as independent learners.
NILD is a nonprofit organization - (501(c)(3) on file).
The Basics of NILD
Training & Services for Therapists
What is NILD
NILD Educational Therapy® was
developed to treat assumed, underlying causes of learning
difficulties rather than simply treating the symptoms. It is a true
therapy in that it aims the intervention just above the student’s
level of functioning and raises expectations for performance.
Students are trained to view themselves as competent, confident
learners. The goal of NILD Educational Therapy® is to help students
develop tools of independent learning in the classroom and in life.
Students in NILD Educational
Therapy® receive two 80-minute sessions of intensive educational
therapy per week. This can be either in individual or small group
settings. These sessions include a variety of techniques designed
to address students’ specific areas of difficulty and to improve
their overall ability to think, reason and process information.
Techniques emphasize basic skill areas such as reading, writing,
spelling and math, applying reasoning skills within each area.
Students are taught by
educational therapists, who are trained specifically in NILD
methodology and receive on-going graduate level training leading to
NILD certification. Regular collaboration between the educational
therapist, parents and classroom teachers is encouraged in order to
assess progress and appropriately adjust educational programs for
How is NILD Different from
The focus of NILD Educational
Therapy® is the development of clear, efficient thinking. Students
are given tools to enable them to overcome specific learning
weaknesses. Tutoring typically focuses on content while educational
therapy builds efficient learning processes.
NILD Educational Therapy® teaches
students how to think rather than what to think.
NILD Educational Therapy® is
skill-oriented, improving basic learning skills so students can
learn and retain content. Students become better able to:
Educational therapists become
better able to individualize intervention by:
- focusing specifically on
students’ areas of difficulty and dealing with problems as
they arise during the actual learning process
- maintaining the
intensity of focus needed to help the student work through
- developing the trust
needed to free the student to accept and work on difficult
Parents become better able
- provide structure and
- supervise homework
- maintain regular contact
with the educational therapist to increase understanding of
the therapy process and collaborate in providing an
effective program for their child
Who is a Candidate for
Potential students for this program are those experiencing obvious
frustration in areas of school performance. Poor spelling,
illegible handwriting, inability to express thoughts verbally or in
writing, and difficulty with reading and math are common indicators
of a learning disability.
Learning disabilities are
diagnosed through a battery of tests that measure and compare
students’ potential with their actual performance. NILD educational
therapists work in conjunction with qualified examiners and can
assist parents in completing appropriate psychological and
Students complete their programs
when they become independent and successful in the regular
classroom. This decision is based upon recommendations from the
educational therapist, parents and classroom teachers and usually
takes a minimum of three years.
Strategies learned in educational
therapy should enable students to remain independent and successful
throughout their school years. They generally develop skills to
pursue a career in the field of their choice.
Learning disabilities can be
addressed whenever they are identified, not just in childhood. The
NILD techniques are effective regardless of age and can be adapted
to all levels of functioning.
How & Why Does the
indicating that thinking can be changed through intensive, focused
intervention. Students are trained to think for themselves rather
than depending upon a teacher or parent to think for them. Language
and thinking skills are interdependent so that when one skill
develops the other is also strengthened. Educational therapists are
trained to develop language and thinking through effective
questioning. Students are taught to defend their answers and to
reflect upon their thinking processes. They transition from
dependent learners to those who think and reason independently.
Following NILD Educational Therapy® treatment few, if any,
adjustments or modifications need to be made in the students’
data documenting program effectiveness is available from NILD]
How is the Program
|Schools with the NILD
program generally charge a separate fee for educational therapy in addition to
regular classroom tuition. Every effort is made to keep costs within
reach of families.
How can we Know the
studies are available on the program. A dissertation has been
completed with statistical data documenting program effectiveness.
However, success stories of students having completed the program
speak for themselves. Many are achieving honor roll status and are
pursuing undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees.
What is an NILD Educational
educational therapist is an individual who holds a bachelor’s (or
higher) degree in education or a related field and has been trained
by NILD to work with students who have learning disabilities.
educational therapist provides intervention as part of a program in
a school setting, independently in private practice or through
community-based models such as Discovery Program, Inc. This person
is a trained professional holding or working toward NILD
What Training is Involved?
An average of 5
years is required to become a fully-trained NILD educational
therapist. Training for NILD Educational Therapy® is progressive
and includes 240 hours of instruction in the following formats:
Course (intern qualified to begin giving educational therapy)
Course (taken after minimum of 1 year experience) (80 hours)
Course (available after Levels I & II, an onsite evaluation and
200 student contact hours) (80 hours)
Certification is available upon satisfactory completion of Levels I,
II & III, and a demonstration of effectiveness in working with
the training courses are professional development activities such
Regional Conferences (required for continued training and NILD
Supervisions (required for Level III training and NILD
Validation (available to school or private practice programs
after 5 years)
Training Course Descriptions
Level I is an introduction to the
general field of learning disabilities and provides foundational
training in the philosophy and techniques of NILD Educational
Therapy®. The course prepares participants to begin giving
educational therapy as interns (all NILD educational therapists are
considered interns until certification).
provides a review of introductory NILD Educational Therapy®
techniques and introduces a series of techniques for advanced
students to include mediated learning and questioning skills.
completion of Level I
year experience with one student
attendance at NILD regional conference seminars
develops mastery skills and provides an in-depth study of mediation,
cognitive functions and information processing within NILD
Educational Therapy® techniques
200 student contact hours
completion of Levels I and II
attendance at NILD regional conference seminars
observation by NILD Consultant
are two-week graduate level courses offered in the summer and
throughout the school year at various locations throughout the U.S.
and Canada and at selected international sites.
are held around the country from November through March. These
conferences are designed to provide on-going professional development
for NILD educational therapists and to give all educators and parents a
better understanding of learning disabilities and NILD Educational
One or two-day on-site
consultations are available to give educational therapists individualized help
with their students and with other program issues. On-site
supervisions include observation of educational therapy, consultation with
administrators as well as faculty and/or parent in-service.
NILD consultants are available for
in-service meetings in order to introduce or to further general
understanding of the NILD program or learning disabilities in
general within a school community. In-services
for board members are highly encouraged, especially for
NILD therapist certification is
offered to ensure adequate and active professional development for
each therapist. NILD educational therapists are eligible for
certification after successful completion of all three
training courses. Therapist certification must be renewed every five
years. Initial certification is for 5 years, followed by
professional certification for 7 years.
validation is an
important step toward developing and maintaining an effective NILD
Educational Therapy® program within a school or community setting. NILD
"Program of Excellence" may be pursued after a program has been in operation
for five years.
NILD membership is available for NILD educational
therapists in school programs and in private practice. For
full membership benefits, see NILD
Many of the materials used in NILD Educational Therapy® may
be ordered directly from NILD. Those with NILD
Membership receive a 10% discount on most materials.
NILD offers a variety of books for parents and educators to
further their understanding of children with learning
disabilities. Titles include biographies and instructional
books for the classroom and home. See
Reading List or
A wide variety of instructional and promotional CDs and DVDs have
been developed for educational therapists, educators and parents. All
media are available for purchase.
The DISCOVERIES journal, produced
two times during the
school year, provides articles related to professional development.
The following brochures on various aspects of NILD Educational
Therapy® are available free of charge:
for Learning 1: The Educator's Guide
for Learning 2: The Research
for Learning 3:
The Parents Guide
One in a
series of brochures created to inform parents and teachers of
NILD's educational therapy approach and its effect on students
with learning disabilities.
summary of results from a doctoral dissertation done on the
effectiveness of NILD Educational Therapy®.
introducing parents to the features and benefits of NILD
for Learning 4: Tough Training for Sharp Educators
for Learning 5: Search & TEACH©
A guide to NILD training courses for
educators interested in learning about and implementing NILD's
unique intervention techniques.
A brochure outlining an early
intervention program for the prevention of learning failure
and its emotional consequences.
NILD was established in 1982 to assist schools,
organizations, and individuals in the development of
programs for students with specific learning
The NILD Educational Therapy®
model was developed in the 1960s by Deborah
Zimmerman, a nurse and educator. Many of her
techniques were encountered through her work with
pioneers of the early research in learning
disabilities, Drs. Archie Silver, M.D. and Rosa
Hagin, Ph.D. at Bellevue Medical Center in New
York. In 1973, her techniques were introduced into
a private school setting in Norfolk, Virginia. In
1982, the Norfolk Institute for Learning
Disabilities was established as a 501(c)3 charitable
organization under the direction of Grace Mutzabaugh
(Lower School Principal). As its influence
broadened, the name was changed to National
Institute for Learning Disabilities.
In 2002 following NILD’s 20th
anniversary celebration in Orlando, FL, the board of
directors approved VISION 2020 to include the
development of a community-based model to serve
students outside a private school setting and in
other schools and private settings. At that
conference Dr. Kathy Hopkins, NILD’s Executive
Director, launched the vision that by the year 2020,
one million students will have been impacted by
NILD’s methods and intervention. Discovery Program,
Inc. is the prototype of the community-based model
currently serving a wide area within the cities of
In 2007, progress was marked by significant changes, including experimentation with
group models of intervention, expansion of the
community based model, an online component to our
courses and accreditation by the Accrediting
Council for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET).
The name was changed to the National Institute for
Learning Development to more accurately reflect the
direction of the organization. Dr. Hopkins made the
announcement at our 25th Anniversary Conference in
Virginia Beach, VA. With headquarters in the
Discovery Center in Norfolk, Virginia, NILD
continues to serve educators around the world.
Level I Training is required
for becoming an NILD member. If you have taken Level I
and desire to become a member please download the membership
form and fax or mail it to NILD upon filling out all the
2007-2008 NILD Membership Prices
1 individual - Private Practice or School $270
For additional Educational
Therapists the costs are as follows:
( $355 + $55 per
and print membership form, you must download Adobe Acrobat
Reader. Click on the Acrobat Reader icon below, which
will take you to Adobe's website, and follow their
instructions for downloading their free version of Acrobat
A membership card with your member
number will be provided.
All members will be listed in the NILD
directory on the NILD
Website. Private Practice therapists receive a
personal listing. Member schools have the program
coordinator and all educational therapists listed in the directory.
Discounts on Services
One free Power Point
presentation or discounted price for DVD
10% discount on NILD materials
Discounted fees on NILD services such as:
Regional conference registrations (incl. overseas reg. by
Conference handouts available online
following the 2007 conference.
- Private Practice
- Search and Teach
- School Based Therapists
Use of NILD name and
NILD name & logo graphics provided for
use on all stationery and publications via NILD website
Members receive the
DISCOVERIES journal two times a year.
Certificates are available for students completing
the NILD program.
Members receive manual technique updates and
Free Program Coordinators' workshop
consideration in course acceptance
on current literature and research
in the collection of data for research