What is an educational consultant?

An educational consultant’s job is to advise and assist a family in making one of its most important decisions: choosing the right school or program for a child. Consultants may have different backgrounds – many are former educators, therapists, or educational psychologists – but they all provide families with these essential areas of expertise:

  • Identifying a child’s educational needs.

  • Finding the schools or programs that best serve those needs.

  • Guiding the student and family through the process of searching for and selecting the right placement.

  • Staying with the family throughout the placement to assure the best fit.


Who uses our services?

Families often seek our help at a time of transition in a child’s educational life or at time of crisis, such as:

  • Selecting a boarding school

  • Finding programs to support special learning needs such as ADHD, dyslexia, or autism spectrum disorders
  • Responding to a crisis involving behavioral or emotional disorders, addictions, or mental health issues
  • Recommending programs for young adults who are experiencing 'failure to launch'
  • Needing to change schools for academic or personal reasons
  • Beginning school (kindergarten or earlier)
  • Moving to a new area

At Dobson Educational Services, we work with families considering private elementary, middle and high schools, and post-secondary programs, with children who have learning disabilities and other special needs, and with children and young adults who may need therapeutic placements.

Do you do your own testing?

Dobson Educational Services is a testing center for the Secondary School Admission Test (SSAT). Individual tests are administered by request throughout the year. For further psychological or educational testing, we refer families to qualified educational psychologists whose work we know and trust, or to residential evaluation programs.



Why do I need a consultant? Can’t I read directories, get brochures and arrange visits on my own?

Of course, and many families do. Our Helpful Links contain some directories and other useful information. However, the process is more complex than ever before – making it harder to discern program qualities that could have a major impact for your son or daughter. You may find you need the advice and perspective of someone who knows about children and how they learn, and someone who has visited the schools and programs, placed other children, and knows the realities of their programming and their culture, as we do.

Are your services expensive?

We usually work with various comprehensive fee arrangements. We can also begin working by the hour, at a rate comparable to the fees of educational psychologists and other specialists in the mid-Atlantic metropolitan areas. At our first meeting, we explain our fees and can arrange a payment schedule, if needed.

Do schools pay you to refer students to them?

Absolutely not. We are independent consultants and receive no compensation from any school or program we recommend to a family. Jody Dobson and Ruby Laufer are both Professional Members of the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA), the oldest and most recognized national association of consultants for schools, colleges and special educational programs. We are committed to abide by the IECA’s strict ethical guidelines and our own Principles of Good Practice. Our clients are children and their families – our commitment is to help them find the schools or programs that are the best fit.

How do you know about all these schools and special programs?

A good deal of our time is spent traveling and visiting schools, locally, nationally and occasionally abroad. On average, we travel to visit schools and programs one week each month, either on our own or with groups of consultants. It’s important for us to have a “feel” for a school or program and a personal relationship with  the admissions people. We follow the progress of each child we place for at least a full year, receiving copies of all school reports, and consulting with the family on a regular basis.

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Dobson Educational Services