What a shock it would be to buy dill pickles only to bite into a very sweet pickle! Proper labeling is important for many reasons. Medicine is tasked with making accurate diagnosis that leads to the care, procedures, and medicine to treat patients. Efficiency in life, play, work, travel, and making purchases are in large part due to correct labeling. Even very young children know what a product is by the picture on the label. However, I’m not writing this to expound on the many positive aspects regarding labels.
The current atmosphere in education today has created an abundance of over-labeling students. There is no elephant in the living room; we all know that the pressures surrounding high stakes testing are taking a toll. Educators and parents are searching for answers that are simply not easy to find. Our daughter was given many labels during her first five years of school. Our bright child simply was not learning to read. Her enthusiasm for school left her when comments were made to her (and to us) that she just didn’t care about reading and that we needed to hold her accountable for her lack of effort. We exhausted the medical community looking for answers that never seemed to be found. Qualified professionals ruled out dyslexia, ADD, eyesight, hearing, nutritional problems, and allergies. All of these were labels that swirled around us. Money we invested in our search swirled away from us.
Then an answer was given to us like a most precious gift. Not a label, but a reason. Not a condemnation, but an explanation. One single day that changed life for our family.
In March of 1983, my husband found an ad in our newspaper that said, “Do you have a bright child that is struggling to learn to read, do math, or learn easily?” We called and met with this wonderfully kind woman. She shared that she uses an assessment of learning ability called the SOI (Structure of Intellect). She said it takes three hours to administer. We had our daughter tested the next day. In three hours, we had information that we had never heard of before by anyone in the educational or medical community. Without hesitation I can share the following:
- The information given to us was the truth.
- Beyond information, there was a next step to take.
- It wasn’t fitting our daughter into a label, but explaining her own personal challenge.
- This personal challenge had a solution.
- Since that day, I have never forgotten how to spell SOI.
The SOI assessment revealed that our child could not successfully focus her eyes together at near-point, even though she had 20/20 eyesight. We were given the name of several Developmental Optometrists and took her to see one of them right away. No one had ever even mentioned what a Developmental Optometrist was. She went through therapy, was at grade level in reading by 5th grade, and she was tutored in all the areas SOI identified as above average to increase her confidence and willingness to continue on with school. Our daughter’s first child revealed the same visual focusing issues, and help was given prior to school starting. Our granddaughter has never experienced what her mother suffered through.
The SOI Model identifies individual learning abilities. Some of these abilities affect the reading of words or the understanding of what is read. Some abilities have a direct relationship to arithmetic and mathematics. The SOI identifies visual and auditory memory. It reveals the difference between evaluation and problem-solving. In addition, SOI allows each individual to demonstrate creative idea fluency that enhances performance. SOI is personal to the individual student and offers the opportunity to develop areas of learning ability that may stand in the way of successful learning.
SOI is successful when the student internally OWNS the abilities to learn!
I write this in March of 2015. I have had 32 years of learning how SOI has impacted the lives of thousands and thousands of individuals. I have had 32 years to learn the following:
- We need to become more skilled at identifying symptoms, not just labeling.
- Symptoms are useful if they lead to solutions.
- Teaching to a test does not have the same power as developing specific learning abilities.
To teach is a verb. It requires action on the part of the teacher. To learn is a verb. It requires action on the part of the student. SOI assumes that the teachers are teaching. If the student is not learning, common sense would be to look at the student, not the teacher. I don’t even want to think where our family would be if that step had never taken place.
SOI Systems, through this blog and our Facebook page, wants to reach out to all families that are concerned about their child in the learning environment. We welcome parents and teachers to contact us about symptoms to look for in the classroom. I personally was shocked at how many clues to our daughter’s problem I missed. Please read about the history of SOI and about all the programs that have been developed to meet the individual needs of students on the SOI website and learn about the amazing journey of Dr. Mary Meeker and Dr. Robert Meeker. Their genius is needed now in education more than ever before. I label them both “inspired.”
Dr. Robert Meeker says, “SOI is the weight room to education as the weight room is to athletics.”
written by: Diane Hochstein, President of SOI Service Company