About Us

The NILD Educational Therapy® model was developed in the 1960s by Deborah Zimmerman, a nurse and educator. Many of the educational techniques she developed were shaped by her work with early pioneers in the field of learning disabilities such as Archie Silver, M.D. and Rosa Hagin, Ph.D. In 1973, Deborah’s techniques were introduced into a private school in Norfolk, Virginia. In 1982, the Norfolk Institute for Learning Disabilities was established as a 501(c)3 charitable organization under the direction of Grace Mutzabaugh. As NILD’s influence broadened, the name was changed to the National Institute for Learning Disabilities.

In 2002, following NILD’s 20th anniversary celebration, the Board of Directors approved the development of Discovery Program, Inc., a community-based model to serve students outside private school settings. Discovery Program, Inc. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of NILD and is our prototype of community-based models currently servicing students within the cities of Hampton Roads (Discoveryprogram-inc.com).

In 2007, Dr. Kathy Hopkins, NILD’s then Executive Director, led the organization through significant changes, including research and development of group models of intervention, expansion of the community-based model, Discovery Program, and our online component to the NILD courses. Dr. Hopkins also announced the organization’s name change to the National Institute for Learning Development at our 25th anniversary conference. This name change more accurately reflects our organizational direction. With headquarters in Suffolk, Virginia, NILD continues to serve educators and students around the globe.

The goal of NILD Educational Therapy® is to help students develop tools for independent learning in the classroom and in life. The focus of our one-on-one and small-group, individualized interventions is to address the underlying causes of learning difficulties, rather than simply treating the symptoms as tutoring does. NILD educational therapy is a true therapy in that it aims the intervention just above the student’s current level of functioning and raises expectations for performance, which creates the framework to foster that growth.

NILD therapy students become competent, confident learners. They gain mastery over their cognitive vulnerabilities and hone their cognitive strengths for success in the classroom and in life.

Click here to learn more about the four key components addressed in NILD Educational Therapy® - Cognition, Perception, Emotion, and Academics.

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