Finding a Tutor for Someone with Special Needs

What should I look for in a tutor for my loved one with special needs? If you’re looking for instruction outside the school day for specific skills, such as math and reading, consider the following tips.

Look Beyond Qualifications

Look beyond on-paper qualifications when considering a tutor. Sometimes the best tutor isn’t the best expert. True learning is rooted in trust, patience and empathy. Be sure to ask yourself: Is the tutor you’re considering a good fit for your loved one?

Interview Prospective Tutors

Interview prospective tutors beforehand to see if the structure and format of a typical tutoring session is a good fit for your loved one. Give your loved one as much input as makes sense given their abilities and situation. During the interview, consider the following criteria:

  • Experience and flexibility: Look for a tutor who is accustomed to working with people who have diagnoses similar to your loved one. Ask the tutor how they will accommodate the specific behaviors or traits your child exhibits to best enable learning.
  • Consistency: Consistency in scheduling sessions, as well in terms of session structure, can be extremely important. Many tutors excel at this, while others do not.
  • Ask if your tutor is willing to talk with your child’s educators to discuss successful strategies. If your loved one has an IEP (Individualized Education Plan), ask the tutor how they will incorporate and tailor some of the IEP’s goals into creating a successful tutoring plan. Here are some tips for approaching your next IEP meeting.

Where do I find tutors?

  • If you’re looking for a directory of tutors, Wyzant can provide a list.
  • If you’d prefer to have an assessor talk with you and match a tutor with you, can help.

More Information and Support

If you’d like to talk through these or other options for your loved one with autism or an intellectual or developmental disability, speak to a Family Navigator during a FREE consultation. Learn how we can help you find and utilize this and other supports for your family through our Family Navigation Services.

Family Navigation Services


Sam Gershman

Sam Gershman

Family Navigation Specialist

Main: 507-645-8866 Direct: 507-581-7078