The effectiveness of IPP remediation is linked to the order in which abilities are remediated and to the completeness of the program.
Over a two and a half year period, I worked closely with a school that described itself as offering an alternative school experience for students who were both gifted and had learning issues. As you are aware, there is a profile for the gifted/learning disabled student which Mary Meeker described as ‘mountains and valleys.’
In the school where I was assisting, many of the students did not have a lot of gifted cognitive abilities. However, all the students were bright and had some level of giftedness – be it creativity or good spatial awareness. At least three of them had no cognitive scores below average at a composite level. All of them were having difficulty doing academic work and none of them had been thriving in a regular school system. When I first did the IPP assessment on them, an alarming number of them could not stand on one foot for 10 seconds.
We began a program for eight students who attended IPP classes within normal school hours and then arranged an IPP program in an after school time period for some of the part-time students.
Many students had auditory and/or vision therapy before they came to the school. The feedback from the parents was that they had spent thousands of dollars on therapy without seeing any measurable improvement. Sure enough, through SOI/IPP assessment, we would see auditory and visual problems with their child. We’d also see vestibular problems. They would have cross-over, balance, and body -in-space difficulties.
IPP’s strength as an effective remediation system is that it builds a solid foundation. A strong intellectual system needs a strong physical base. IPP protocol provides exercises to first develop the vestibular system. The vestibular is foundational for a strong visual and auditory system. Time and time again we found with our students that once they had a firm enough vestibular base, the vision therapy would work and the auditory programs would work.
To my great frustration, there was interference in this sequence of remediation at the alternate school. For the parents who had not already tried taking their child for vision or auditory therapy, impatience with the system kicked in. While their child was still developing balance and cross-over and sequencing in IPP, they were rushing them off to vision therapists and/or auditory programs.
One mother complained that her daughter had a complete melt-down doing the Fast Forward Auditory program. This was before the girl had even begun any visual exercises. For some students, it has been apparent that the visual is also a prerequisite for success in auditory.
Whenever my teachers and I decided to begin a child on the IPP auditory program, we would automatically stop it if the child was not getting most of the answers correct. We’d go back and review sensory-integration exercises and then try the auditory at a later date. This strategy worked well. Nearly every child eventually got through the program. All those who did were remediated effectively.
In one extreme case, a young boy was referred to some therapy that is even more basic than IPP due to a very underdeveloped nervous system. He eventually made progress and was able to do the vision therapy he needed.
There were a few occasions when I agreed that some students should have auditory therapy before finishing their IPP. We have seen that students with low auditory ability and severe emotional concerns do sometimes benefit from ‘sound therapy.’ In these cases, the emotional concerns took priority over everything else. One of the boys in fourth grade had attempted to commit suicide because he was so distraught. He was referred to a Tomatis program that assisted in his overall state of well-being. This was invaluable, of course. Nevertheless, it took a full IPP program and special coaching to develop written output in this child. (Eight out of nine students with auditory processing issues could not express themselves verbally at grade level when they entered this school.)
The other Tomatis referral was a girl who was clearly not thriving. She was withdrawn and not processing visually or auditorily. She was not making any serious progress in any of her schooling before ‘sound therapy.’ After the Tomatis program, she still had the same learning issues but was a happier child. It was IPP that eventually built the learning foundation she needed. She began to pay attention in class with improved visual and auditory skills and eventually made progress in her reading and math. One year later, she is making C+s and B’s in a regular school that has strong academic standards.
IPP works because it starts with the physical – developing strong and lasting neurological connections and a foundation for good visual and auditory processing. It then systematically develops intellectual abilities and concepts. All in the right order.
This article, written by Connie Grist, president of SOI Systems Canada, was originally published in our September 2011 newsletter.