Educational Therapy Services

Alison R. Appleby

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As an educational therapist, my relationship with the student is first and foremost. It is essential that I am sensitive to the learner as a person. In doing this, I provide thoughtful, relevant, therapeutic approaches so that the student feels safe and valued as we learn together. From the moment the student walks through the door, I meet them where they are, at that moment. This means giving him or her the space to reflect on the day or discuss a particular problem, if they are experiencing conflict. As a result, our relationship grows, his/her brain is more open to receiving, and with time successful consolidated learning happens.

My relationship with the parent is equally important. The "right fit” is essential so that the important work with the student can unfold. The parent and I create a vital link, yet maintain our own unique and separate roles. This link offers an opportunity to collaborate and communicate about "our” learner, and I provide a path to facilitate just that.

All students learn differently and at different paces. As an educational therapist, I validate this by utilizing an eclectic, multisensory approach to learning. This means I instruct using a variety of programs, materials and strategies that I specifically tailor to meet the unique needs of each individual learner. I plan, implement, and assess each session to determine the best course of action for a learning exercise – which may mean taking a step back, focusing on the present, or moving forward together. As a result, the student learns at their own pace and experiences success. Over time, the student begins to transfer these newly learned skills into the classroom and other settings where learning occurs. This is the goal of educational therapy.


Degrees: Education

M.A., San Francisco State University, Special Education, 2000
B.A., University of California at Los Angeles, Sociology, 1996


Mild to Moderate Learning Disabilities K-12, San Francisco State University, 1999


Educational Therapy Certificate Program, San Francisco State University, 2000


Special Education Informational Systems (SEIS), WCSD, 2012
Step-up-to-Writing, WCCSD, 2004
Lindamood-Bell: LiPS, Seeing Stars & Visualizing and Verbalizing, 2001
Developmental Disabilities Immersion Program, UCLA, 1996


Association of Educational Therapists (AET)
California Teachers Association (CTA)

Services / Support

One-on-one Educational Therapy sessions for K-High School Students

Areas include:

> Reading and Writing
> Study Skills, Organization, and Time Management
> Learning Style Awareness
> Self-advocacy Skills

> Analyze and implement Psychological-Educational Assessment Reports
> Assess client’s needs using formal and informal inventories
> Create Individual Learning Plans
> Communicate and collaborate with parents, teachers, and school administration


Working in both public and private schools for more than 15 years, I have experienced a variety of academic cultures and have gained insight, empathy, and a broad understanding of the vital roles played by students, parents, teachers, and administration. I leverage this knowledge through my role as an educational therapist - whether in one-on-one student sessions, as a collaborating team member, or client advocate. My goal is to foster a nurturing and supportive climate for students so that successful learning can occur.

Career Highlights

> Managed the Resource Specialist Program (RSP) for K-6th grade students at Martin School (South San Francisco) and Washington School (Point Richmond)
> Developed and implemented a Learning Center (Response to Intervention-RTI) at the sites listed above to support students with diagnosed learning disabilities and others with learning challenges.
> Resource teacher for 6th-8th grade students with learning differences. Taught content areas, study skills, organization, remediation, and developed Individual Education Plans (IEP).
> Learning specialist for grades K-5th in private school setting.
> Conducted formal academic assessments, analyzed data, and wrote reports in collaboration with school psychologists for K-8th grade students.
> Behavior support provider in public and private schools for children on the autism spectrum.

Providing Educational Therapy Services since 2002


Danville, Lafayette, Moraga, Oakland, Orinda, Walnut Creek

My daughter was diagnosed Freshman year with learning differences. We were thrilled to meet Alison who then worked with my daughter for about 3 years. Alison's approach is professional while nurturing. She instilled confidence in my daughter while holding her accountable and responsible for her academics. My daughter has recently been accepted to several exceptional four-year colleges and is more than ready for the challenge. We are grateful for Alison's support.

-Ruth B.--

We were referred to Alison by a doctor to supplement his ADHD treatment with coaching on executive function and navigating the transition to middle school. We didn’t know if he would resent the focus on his weaknesses or the extra work, but what we found with Alison couldn’t have been more different than what we imagined. She earned our son’s trust quickly, and she became someone who helped him see his strengths and actually believe them, and she gave him the tools he needed for the independence of middle school.

Alison is a former public school teacher herself, and she was able to connect directly with his teachers and advisors as needed to help him create a path through middle school where he could be successful. After a very tough two years in 4th and 5th grades, he became a straight A student, happy and confident through his entire 6th grade year, and better able to deal with new challenges. We credit Alison for setting him up for that success and having his back whenever he needed some extra coaching along the way.--

-Lamorinda Mom

Alison worked with our son to address his reading and writing challenges.  She first completed a thorough evaluation and subsequently developed a customized plan to address the issues.  She is a thoughtful, focused, diligent educator who takes a personal interest in her students and achieves real results.  We have been very pleased with our son's progress, and enthusiastically recommend Alison.  We are so happy to have found her!

-David & Linda

My son Axel first worked with Alison the summer before 4th grade. His verbal communication is excellent, but he has always had a hard time putting thoughts and words to paper. Alison and Axel worked together, diagramming parts of a paragraph and essay. Alison intuitively cued off Axel and together they devised strategies to increase focus and decrease distractions. She also showed us how to work with Axel. Thanks to Alison, Axel entered 4th grade with a great boost to his self-esteem and a lot more confident about his writing abilities.


Freshman year was so much easier with the support of Alison. She was instrumental in helping my daughter start the year off right by teaching her how to effectively communicate with her teachers and advocate for herself. Alison took significant time getting to know my daughter’s strengths and learning style before working with her so she could tailor their sessions for the best possible outcome. Alison worked with my daughter on organization, time management, stress management, study habits, test taking skills, setting timelines for big projects, and homework help. Alison demonstrated a genuine concern for my daughter’s success, and we are forever grateful.


Alison was the ideal educational therapist for our very bright third grader who was more than 2 years behind on his reading abilities. In less than a year of working with our son, she helped him achieve grade level reading. She took the time to assess both his needs and his personality to develop resources and curriculum that was just right for his abilities, challenges, and his interpersonal style. After spending the previous summer miserable at Linda Mood Bell fighting each day, going to Alison was a welcome experience for our son. Nothing with Alison is formulaic. It is all customized for each individual. She has an excellent ability to connect well with children and their parents. Alison, was always available to help my husband and me navigate both our son’s academic challenges as well as the administration at our Lafayette public school. She was a trusted resource and confidant. I recommend Alison whole-heartedly and without any reservation.

-Michelle F

Our son started working with Alison weekly at the end of his 6th grade year (now in 8th grade) when it was obvious to us that he had issues with reading and reading comprehension. Overall, she has been a wonderful educational therapist. Initially, she did a thorough and thoughtful assessment of our son and came up with tools and techniques to improve his comprehension and reading ability. She helped strengthen some of his executive functioning skills, which have also been a challenge for him. Her gentle spirit and compassion serve her well as our son has always enjoyed working with her. Shortly after he started seeing her, our son underwent an assessment by a neuropsychologist and was diagnosed with ADHD and a learning disability. Alison was a lifesaver in helping us navigate the IEP process in our son's public school, and made many significant suggestions that then improved the coverage and accommodations that his IEP provide him. She has been very supportive of us as parents, often emailing with parent education opportunities, book recommendations, and helpful advice. It has been obvious that in addition to being a very skilled and devoted therapist, she also truly cares about our son. We recommend her without any hesitation as she is both excellent at what she does and goes above and beyond what we expected to support not only our son but us as parents also.

-Monica and Jerry

We found Alison Appleby in the summer of 2014, to support our daughter Mary, in the area of reading comprehension and retention, across a range of academic subjects. Alison was instrumental in helping us identify Mary's academic weak areas in reading and decoding. Alison recognized the problems that manifested into learning issues. From these learning issues, Alison created a system of guidelines and procedures to help Mary effectively retain and understand what she read. With a safe and comfortable environment, Alison taught Mary how to take in what she read, retained key information and recalled the content. In addition to working one-on-one with Mary, Alison was instrumental in advising us with an educational path and mapped out a plan for us to use. Alison's educational guidelines fostered independence and confidence in Mary.

-Tim and Beth King

Finding out that your child is dyslexic and can’t read is a nightmare for a family. That was our experience. Fortunately, Alison Appleby was recommended to us at a time when we really needed help. Alison is a compassionate, gentle spirit who is highly trained and skilled in her craft. She knows that every brain is unique; and that there are a multitude of modalities that can help a child learn to read. And, she had the ability to find a way that worked for my son. We knew that his therapy was working when he would skip to the car on the way to his sessions! Our experience with her was truly therapeutic. As a result of our time with Alison, my son learned to read, and is now 17 and college-bound.

-Leslie and Alan

Alison Appleby helped our daughter, diagnosed with ADHD, to become aware of her strengths and challenges in learning and life situations. Alison used strategies to improve our daughter’s writing and comprehension skills, which resulted in her increased confidence and self-esteem. Alison connected with her in a very thoughtful and respectful manner. At the end of each session, Alison would summarize what had been accomplished, what areas of learning were expected in the next session, and kept us informed of progress. At the end, we found good value in the service that she provided to our family. It was much appreciated, even to this day, as our daughter is in college.

-Aaron and Joanne

Our daughter worked with Alison for five years starting in first grade.  Alison was insightful about her learning style and creative with tools and strategies that gave our daughter confidence and the ability to succeed in school. She connected with her on a personal level and motivated our daughter to use these tools daily.  Our regular parent conferences with Alison were thoughtful, organized and productive.  We could continue at length about Alison's gifts, but our daughter, now a junior in high school, perhaps is most eloquent.  When asked what she remembered about working with Alison, she said, "She taught me to read, how to do math, and I still use all the tools we worked on to manage my time effectively."  Alison is a gifted educational therapist and with her help, our daughter has the self-esteem, skills and discipline to manage her learning style successfully.

-Jo Anne and Lafcadio


Educational Therapy:

Learning Disabilities and AD/HD:

Famous People with Learning Disabilities:


Alison Appleby

1147 Sanders Drive

Moraga, California 94556

Mobile: 415-596-5145


Educational Therapist: An educational therapist is a professional who combines educational and therapeutic approaches for evaluation, remediation, case management, and communication/advocacy on behalf of children, adolescents and adults with learning disabilities or learning problems. (Defined by The Association of Educational Therapists)

Multisensory: Learning that involves the processing of stimuli through two or more senses, such as visual (seeing), auditory (hearing) and/or kinesthetic (touching).

Educational Therapy: Educational Therapy is intensive individualized intervention for students with learning challenges that may be a result of neurological, cognitive, developmental, language, and emotional issues. (Defined by The Association of Educational Therapists)

Alison R. Appleby © 2013