SOI Systems is a company with a 50 year history of addressing student learning problems. Our focus has been primarily on making sure that the student’s capacities for learning are matching the expectations of the teaching situation – whether that is in a school, a university, or less formal circumstances like home schooling.
When the student’s capacities for learning do not match the expectations of the learning situation, we take a clinical approach to the situation – isolate and identify the learning problem; make a preliminary diagnosis, test to find the probable cause; prescribe an intervention; and monitor to see if the intervention is effective.
This is not a one-size-fits-all approach – it is individualized for each student-client. On the other hand, as with any clinical practice, there are broad guidelines based on years of experience. These guidelines define three general areas.
INTELLECTUAL ABILITIES AND CONCEPTS
All learning situations are predicated on a set of expectations about the student’s cognitive abilities – acquisition of new data or concepts (cognition), recall of data acquired (memory), informationdiscrimination (evaluation), reasoning to acquire new concepts (problem-solving), and the ability to explore new applications (creativity).
We test for all of these abilities and have training materials to address any weaknesses. In addition to the abilities themselves, our assessments identify students’ learning profiles in terms of content — whether they are predominately figural, symbolic, or semantic learners. We then use their content strengths to create a more balanced profile for all types of learning.
PERCEPTUAL AND SENSORY INTEGRATION
All learning situations are predicated on a set of expectations about the student’s capabilities to process visual and auditory information, and to have an integrated command of the information that they receive from the senses – can they visually track across the page; can they locate their visual position on the page; can they re-establish their focus shifting from near-point to far-point; are both eyes working together in visual tasks; can they shift their perceptual focus from one side of their body to the other – all of these are capabilities that, when lacking, can adversely affect learning at a most basic level.
In the face of learning problems, we test for all of these capabilities – including the auditory counterparts – and have prescribed exercises to bring the perceptual processes back to the norm. The system is called SOI-IPP.
Some learning problems are genuine outliers – problems that occur with such infrequency that the most practical approach is not general screening, but rather training practitioners to be alert to the symptoms and have strategies for dealing with the problem. A good example would be the ability to identify a learning “perfectionist” and then having a structured approach to create new behaviors that will capitalize on the devotion-to-correctness, but not to the extent of penalizing overall performance. We have protocols for coaching these behavioral changes and others that can adversely affect learning
In summary, our goal is to help as many students as possible – by addressing the most prevalent learning problems with an individualized approach in the most efficient and practical means possible.