Learning Specialist, Executive Function Coach

Terry Ballan

As a Special Education Teacher, I have instructed elementary, middle and high school students in co-teaching/inclusive environments, resource room, and one-on-one tutoring online.  I have utilized effective learning tools including Wilson Reading Systems, Recipe for Reading, LiPS, Seeing Stars, P.A.F., V/V, Story Grammar Marker, and Slingerland Reading with children who have a variety of challenges from intellectual to speech and language concerns.  Cloud Nine, Touch Math, and Math Magician are helpful mathematics methods I am experienced with, and I have used to assist students in their understanding of mathematics and number sense to increase test scores in meaningful ways.  Basic Writing Skills, Step Up to Writing, and Writer's Conference are techniques I use which offer valuable strategies across the curriculum for students with writing difficulties.

In addition, I have worked with emotionally charged students using classroom management skills to maintain control under very difficult circumstances.  It is important for students to maintain their self-esteem and dinity, while learning and practicing social life skills in the context of the classroom to extend in other life situations.   My background is as a Program Developer, Director, Trainer, and educator with a focus on improving classroom instruction related to STEM and learning-to-learn across the  curriculum. I have experience with students with a wide variety of disabilities such as speech, vision, and hearing disabilities, Autism Spectrum, ADHD, physical and health disabilities, dyslexia, and other learning disabilities, to name a few. 



Executive Functioning

Learning Disorders


Elementary School

Middle School

High School





My learning philosophy:

What I know to be true is every student is capable of learning with supportive and knowledgeable adults. Although there is no getting around disabilities, at first I create a climate that is warm and welcoming, with an easily attainable learning goal, mixed with the right amount of fun to ease anxiety while assessing the student's skill level. Once the student's anxiety disapates, progress occurs. Growth is dependent upon two things. First, a teacher's ability to modify the curriculum to meet the student's individual needs. Second, the teacher's ability to partner with parents, the classroom teachers, and other colleagues to provide ongoing support.

What gets you excited about Parallel?

What gets me excited about Parallel Learning? We recognize not every student will learn everything. Some students will do better than others. One student may immediately grasp a concept and may even be able to apply it. Another student will recognize a concept only after seeing applications of the concept in examples. And yet others may never fully grasp a concept but may acquire some level of proficiency in problem-solving through exposure to an ample number of examples. The important thing is to find a way to get the student to progress, help them recognize their progress, and ensure they’re not turned off to the learning progress. This begins with a detailed evaluation by a skilled diagnostician to accurately assess cognitive, academic, emotional, social, etc. domains to bring the student into the realm of wanting to try to turn things around. The teacher then plays a major role in engaging a student’s imagination and willingness to try. It is because of my colleagues' expertise at Parallel Learning and the openness of parents to be active team members in the process of learning that enables me to do my best in teaching.

More about Terry:

I recently retired from teaching and moved to North Carolina from Connecticut. I am loving North Carolina. I go on long dog walks several times a day with my two dogs. One is a Border Collie/Aussie Shepard mix and the other a Toy Fox Terrier. I also visit with my wonderfully creative and artistic neighbors and, from time to time, I take private lessons in graphic arts.

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