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First Remedial Education Session: A Short, Practical Guide to Remembering the Essential Steps

Roxanne Bélanger
Roxanne Bélanger

Starting a private practice is a big and exciting step in your professional development. Before seeing a student for the first time, several different aspects might be running through your head. There is advertising, billing, appointments, progress notes, preparing activities, and much more to take care of. However, while there are many administrative concerns*, they are not what defines your service.

It’s in the planning of your first (and subsequent) meeting(s) that students and their parents will discover the very essence of your practice and what it will become. Ask yourself, what impression do you want to make for your clients? What will the first meeting look like from both of your perspectives? How do you ensure to assess and meet your student’s needs? Can you identify your expertise, manage expectations and refer as needed?

Listening and Asking Questions

First of all, it’s important to take the time to listen to the facts and gather this information in a structured way. As much for the student as for the parents, it’s essential to ask questions; do they like school? Do they enjoy learning? Are they going through a difficult period or change that would affect their availability for learning? How do they see their abilities in English, math or other subjects? How are they doing in reading and writing? Are they able to stay organised and study properly?

As a teacher, I know that we often love to talk! Verbalising and over-explaining when necessary is actually one of our strengths! At this stage, however, you should be holding back and getting into listening mode. I know you can do it!

Service and Intervention History

Next, take the time to compile the services received by the student and the solutions that have been attempted. Take a moment to create a list of what has already been done at school or privately. Ask questions about their home habits, e.g., time spent on homework, what works for them, what doesn’t, their ability to retain and recount information, what they find difficult, etc.

During the session, it will be important to observe both the student’s behaviour and their means of communication, both verbal and non-verbal.

Getting into Action Plan Mode

It is probably at the end of the session or at the beginning of the next one that the remedial education plan will take shape. To properly define it, it’s possible to ask whether the information from the first session is sufficient or if it's necessary to do a full evaluation. You can suggest targeting an area or skill based on your professional opinion. Note that leaving space to try different strategies can also help you address an issue.


The final step is to agree on the framework for intervention and whether another approach in parallel should support it. The important thing is to communicate the envisioned plan and the reasons for the following steps to the student and their parents. This will help manage expectations and adjust desired outcomes with outcomes achieved. This is also the time to set homework for the next meeting and agree on the session frequency.


After the meeting, it’s important to take a moment to write about your professional opinion. What are my impressions, and how will I verify them? What hypotheses can I make? What will be my areas of intervention according to my expertise?

To support you in your first meeting and recordkeeping, our team has created a drafting guide for meetings in private practice and a note taking tool for the first meeting. However, these are only suggestions. It’s up to you to give them your own personal touch ♥️.

*For other activities related to setting up your practice, several tools are available at: https://www.psylio.com/resources?lg=en. You can also join our Facebook community.

Roxanne Bélanger

Digital Content Specialist in Education, B.Éd Special education, MBA.
Director, Service Team

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