Press: Charlotte Observer

Tan Educational Consulting was the subject of a recent article in The Charlotte Observer's South Charlotte News.  Thank you, Charlotte Observer!

Friday, Sep. 27, 2013

Charlotte coach guides parents through special education maze

The world of special education contains tricky codes that parents are left to decipher on their own. It’s filled with words and acronyms like IEP, 504, LRE and accommodation, just to name a few. While parents want what’s best for their children, it’s sometimes hard to know what “the best” is, especially when mounds of paperwork are filled with unfamiliar language.

It’s for this reason that Pam Tan, 44, decided to start an educational consulting business, Tan Educational Consulting, geared towards helping parents of children with learning disabilities.

Tan, a Cotswold resident, is a former special education teacher and taught for over 10 years in both public and specialized private schools in Charlotte. She left teaching to stay home and raise her family, but once her three children were all in school, she knew it was time to go back to work.

“One of the biggest reasons I decided to start an educational consulting business instead of teaching again is because of my experience with my oldest child. He struggled to learn to read and had difficulty with oral and written expression,” Tan says.

Although her teaching experience helped grow her passion for helping students with special needs, it was her personal experience with her own son that made her realize the difficulty that parents go through when one of their children is in the special education system.

“We went through a series of tests and it took over a year to finally get the right diagnosis for him. It’s such an emotional and frustrating journey.”

Tan knew there had to be other parents out there who must have felt the same defeat as she had during the diagnosis process. Although she had taught special education, she still struggled to determine the right steps towards helping her son’s success in the classroom.

“I understood the whole process, the terminology used and the testing results and I was still confused. It gave me the idea of helping other parents navigate through the system,” Tan says.

Tan’s services are comprehensive as she works to assist parents who need guidance. She helps families understand their child’s testing results, the rights and laws governing the special education process and will even accompany parents to meetings with school personnel.

“It can be an overwhelming experience when parents are just beginning the testing process with a child. It’s important for parents to do their homework,” says Tan.

Tan suggests parents follow certain steps to ensure a smooth start in special education testing.

“Parents need to find a psychologist that will be a good fit for their child. Most children experience some level of anxiety about the testing so it’s important to use the right words to explain the testing. Parents should let their child know they will be doing activities that will help the parents and teachers understand how they learn best so they can succeed at school,” Tan says.

Tan’s overall goal is for students and their families to fully understand their rights and the best fit for their education.

“There are many challenges in our education system today. One of the biggest challenges that families face regarding the education of their children with special needs is making sure their children receive an appropriate education. They need to be challenged, but also receive the accommodations necessary for their success in the classroom,” Tan says.

Ashley Icard is a freelance writer for South Charlotte News. Have a story idea for Ashley? Email her at

Read more here:

Posted on October 14, 2013 and filed under Press.

Press: Charlotte Smarty Pants Blog

I was pleased to contribute to the fabulous Charlotte Smarty Pants blog last month as a Guest Blogger.   In my June 7, 2013 post, I shared summer reading strategies for children with reading disorders.  Thanks, Charlotte Smarty Pants, for inviting me to participate!

June 7, 2013

From the Smarty Education Corner: Strategies for Summer Reading for Children with Reading Disorders

By Pam Tan, M.Ed. of Tan Educational Consulting

Most children with reading disorders are reluctant to pick up a book and read. The goal for the summer months is to find your child looking at a book or reading/listening to a book when he/she hasn’t been told to go read.

Summer should be a relaxed time for children when they can read for pleasure without the pressure they experience in the classroom. It is a time to build their confidence, improve reading fluency and comprehension, and develop a love for reading.



Posted on July 14, 2013 and filed under Press, Tips.

Strategies for Summer Reading for Children with Reading Disorders

Most children with reading disorders are reluctant to pick up a book and read.  The goal for the summer months is to find your child looking at a book or reading/listening to a book when he/she hasn’t been told to go read.  

Summer should be a relaxed time for children when they can read for pleasure without the pressure they experience in the classroom.   It is a time to build their confidence, improve reading fluency and comprehension, and develop a love for reading.

Here are some summer strategies to help your child enjoy reading:

  • Give them easy reading.  Most of their reading material in the summer should be on or slightly below their grade level.
  • Let them decide what they want to read (besides the required reading given to them by their school).  Try different types of reading material such as comic books, magazines, joke and riddle books,  recipes (and then make the recipe of their choice), newspapers, etc.  Build on their interests (sports, dancing, animals, science).
  • Use technology:  Find software that reads books aloud, use audio books and eBooks.  Please see our recent Technology Resources post for lots of great website suggestions for technology for children.
  • Be a role model.  You should read your book or magazine in front of them or even while they are doing their reading.
  • Read with your children.  Take turns reading the pages. Make sure you enjoy the book together and avoid correcting them too much.  Talk about the book together and ask them open-ended questions like “What do you think is going to happen next?”
  • Read to your children.  Have your child pick a book that is interesting and might be too difficult for him/her.  After they finish their own reading, spend 10 minutes just reading to them.
  • Have older children read to their younger siblings and the younger ones read to the older children (give yourself a break from the reading time!).
  • Have younger children read to their favorite stuffed animal or doll.
  • Make a chart of reading time or books read and give your child weekly or biweekly rewards for reading time in the summer. The reward could be as simple as playing a game with mom or dad.  Thirty extra minutes of “screen time” would probably be a big hit.  My children always love a trip to Starbucks!
  • Plan at least one trip to the library and have your child check out a book of their choice. 
  • Visit a book store and just hang out and look at different kinds of books.  Let them choose one to buy.  Get a special drink or treat (always a hit with my kids).  You will be surprised how long you will end up staying there.  You can also go to a comic book store and buy some comic books.
  • If you are going on a family vacation, check out or purchase a book about your destination and read it together.

Remember reading is a challenge for them.Show empathy, but let them know reading time is not a choice.If your child refuses to read, then require 10-30 minutes (depending upon their age) of reading BEFORE any technology or other activity takes place.

More info: Technology Resources for Reading

Happy Summer!

Pam Tan

Posted on May 15, 2013 and filed under Tips, Resources.

Technology Resources

Check out these helpful websites and organizations for some valuable technology resources for your children with reading disorders.

  • LD Online, Reading Software:  Finding the Right Program - Start with this article to help you find applicable software that reads books aloud.  LD Online also lists many helpful sites, some are included below.
  • Curriculum Software SearchAppropriate and useful software programs.
  • National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM): Focuses on the technological aspects of e-books and digital talking books (DTB) software and hardware.
  • Tech Matrix:  Gives many assistive and educational technology tools and resources to support learning for students with disabilities.  I really like this website! 
  • Visit Learning Ally for audio books and recorded text books (this is formerly Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic) for students with learning disabilities and visual impairments.   Another great site!    
  • Texas Assistive Technology Network: Go under useful links for several good digital and e-text resources  
  • PicPocket Books: This iphone/ipad app was developed by a mom who had a reluctant reader.
  • Guys Read:  This is a web-based literacy program for boys.  This is not specific to children with learning disabilities, but it is a great site to visit with your son.

Build your digital library together.  Involve your child when you select which book apps to load on their digital device.  An article by Carisa Kluver recommends the following resources; Digital Storytime, KinderTown, Moms with Apps, Common Sense Media, Children’s Technology Review, Parent’s Choice and Kirkus Reviews for their recommendations.

For more summer reading tips, see this recent post.

Pam Tan

Posted on May 12, 2013 and filed under Resources, Tips.

Client Feedback

Thank you, Georgia, for this kind letter about your experience with Tan Educational Consulting!


"Pam Tan blew me away with her willingness to go above and beyond!

I had the pleasure of working with Pam in regards to an upcoming meeting I had with my son's teachers and principal (IEP meeting). I had asked Pam my question and not only did she find the answer, she found the actual NC law explaining the answer and my son's rights and printed a copy for me.

When I went into my meeting, not even the principal knew the answer but I was able to explain it and show him the law. It gave me so much confidence walking into that meeting which can sometimes feel intimidating.

Whether you are a parent just starting the process of becoming your child's advocate, or if you've been at it for years, Pam Tan's experience, knowledge and understanding will be a great asset to your child's educational needs."

-- Georgia, Mom of a 4th grader in CMS

Posted on May 8, 2013 and filed under Testimonials.



Hi!  My name is Pam Tan and I’m very excited to introduce myself and offer a much needed service in our area.  I am an educational consultant and advocate and recently started Tan Educational Consulting. 

My inspiration came after realizing my own son (at the time he was 7 years old, now 11) needed additional help.  Although I have a M.Ed. in Special Education and taught for 10 years, I still felt overwhelmed and confused.  It took almost a year to get a correct diagnosis and begin therapy and tutoring.  Now that he is on the right track and successful in school, I am ready to help other parents and provide support and services to them.  I understand how you feel, both professionally and personally.

Our mission is to support and empower parents to become effective team members in their child’s education and ensure he or she receives the best education to meet their unique needs. 

Our goal is to help parents create exceptional plans for their exceptional children.

Please keep my services in mind if you are at the park or a soccer game and hear a parent expressing their concerns about their child’s academic and/or behavioral functioning in school or at home.


Posted on May 7, 2013 and filed under Services.