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Diverse Thinking Different Learning

Jan 2, 2024

Let’s revisit one of our favorite Diverse Thinking Different Learning Podcast episodes with Dr. Bibi Pirayesh.

Dr. Bibi Pirayesh is a Learning Specialist and an Educational Therapist who has been in private practice for over a decade. While the emphasis of Dr. Pirayesh’s work is on remediating learning disabilities in a one-on-one setting, she is also a sought after speaker and community advocate for children and families around learning rights.

In this episode, we discuss how educational therapists help students develop the skills they need in order to be successful. You will also learn what can be done now to make a difference in the life of a child who is struggling in school. Listen on to hear Dr. Pirayesh’s riveting statements on how learning differences and disorders can be viewed as a social justice issue.


Show Notes:

[2:31] - Dr. Pirayesh began her career in education by accident and shares her story on how she started on this path with observing children and families as a researcher.

[7:14] - Using a processing lens, Dr. Pirayesh helps students with remediation by first knowing what the issues are and provides targeted intervention.

[9:34] - Educational therapists are important as they will be able to bring in speech pathologists, occupational therapists, psychologists, etc. as they discover the needs of the student.

[11:50] - There are certain types of progress that are really easy to measure. Bibi uses phonics and phonemic awareness as an example. 

[12:32] - So much of the work is about helping kids own their learning and demystifying the learning process. There are a lot of emotions for parents and students to manage.

[14:27] - All brains are equipped to learn, grow, and expand. When we are able to help a child find what is getting in the way of that natural flow.

[15:30] - We live in a world where there is a lot of pressure on both students and parents.

[16:49] - When kids struggle, they lose the motivation for learning.

[18:41] - Bibi explains that the way our formal education system works is a very linear and limited way of thinking and it is a social injustice.

[20:20] - What we know from research is that 10-15% of children struggle with learning difficulties.

[21:24] - There is a constant demand for higher and better production and that is what our education system has become. 

[23:24] - These issues are large-scale cultural issues, and so much of the work we need to do is to undo the damage.

[27:27] - Many parents have trouble accessing the very resources that protect them.

[28:57] - Due to the way these laws are designed, we see the overrepresentation of minorities and students from a low socio-economic background.

[33:16] - When kids with learning difficulties pass through school, are they ready to navigate the real world?

[36:23] - Communities are organically designed to be able to figure out and solve their own problems, but a narrow education system prevents this.

[39:53] - The system needs to work in a way that increases access to services in an equitable way no matter where you attend school.

[43:19] - We’ve limited ourselves by seeing the world through a very tiny lens.

[44:30] - Having this conversation and acknowledging the problem is an important first step.

[46:20] - “Regardless of what is going on, if you move forward with the idea of connecting, empathizing, and understanding, somehow miraculously it will work.”

[48:45] - Take a moment to build a relationship with your child’s teacher and start a meaningful conversation.

[49:47] - When you reach out to the teacher, you are modeling to your child that it is the right thing to do to make yourself vulnerable and ask for help.

[51:10] - Remember that we are raising human beings and you can’t do that in a factory system.


About Our Guest:

Dr. Bibi Pirayesh holds a Bachelor's degree in Neuroscience and Education from the University of Pittsburgh and a Master's degree in Developmental Psychology from Columbia University where her work focused primarily on children’s development of mathematical thinking and cognitive neuroscience.  While the emphasis of Dr. Pirayesh’s work is on remediating learning disabilities in a one-on-one setting, she is also a sought after speaker and community advocate for children and families around learning rights. Bibi works with children grades 1-12 and covers a wide range of learning difficulties including dyslexia, ADHD, and spectrum disorders. Dr. Pirayesh completed her doctoral work at Loyola Marymount University where she is also faculty and is involved with a number of service organizations including The Association of Educational Therapists.


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The Diverse Thinking Different Learning podcast is intended for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical or legal advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Additionally, the views and opinions expressed by the host and guests are not considered treatment and do not necessarily reflect those of ChildNEXUS, Inc or the host, Dr. Karen Wilson.