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A Breath of Fresh Air

A few years ago, a doctor friend of mine referred a young student to me for assessment as he was not doing well at school. Nick, as I will call him, had a history of seizures and I was concerned he might have cognitive impairment. He was taking drugs for the seizures that made him drowsy at times, but he was now stable medically and his mental clarity was improving.

Certainly Nick had cognitive abilities that scored below average – particularly those required for reading. Yet it was obvious that he was an intelligent and engaging ten year old with a great vocabulary and basic ability with numbers.

Nick’s IPP assessment results were daunting. We uncovered difficulties with balance, cross-over, spatial development, and most of the vision abilities assessed. The vision issues were linked to the medication and included some very low scores in tracking, focusing, and teaming. Many individuals would have been very discouraged by these results, but not Nick! He had some secret weapons Continue reading “A Breath of Fresh Air”

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Addressing Learning Difficulties

IPP (Integrated Practice Protocol) is one of our most popular programs at SOI.

Why? Because it addresses visual, auditory, and sensory-motor skills through a series of exercises customized to meet every student’s needs! Each student gets to work on building his/her skills.

The IPP program is a system for treating learning difficulties. It works to improve attention span, memory, comparison/contrast thinking, eye-hand coordination, systems reasoning and other skills essential to the learning process, helping students perform better in school and in life.

With IPP, the following areas are screened. An explanation for each is given.

SENSORY INTEGRATION

  • Balance­: Balance is a motor skill.  At the beginning of life, motor activity develops before mental actions, then both work together and coexist, and, finally, mental action subordinates motor activity. The premise here is that proper development of motor skills is critical for learning­ – that motor experiences are the foundation of mental development.  When motor skills are not fully developed, cognitive learning can be affected.
  • Crossing the Midline/Mentally Crossing the Midline: When an individual is able to cross the midline (literally reach across or move across the middle of the body), it means that his/her  brain has learned to plan and carry out a sequence of movements in proper order.  When internalized, it leads to the ability to know your right from your left.  We use ourselves as a reference point in understanding the orientation of an external object or a word.  If a child had difficulty in understanding his/her own left and right, he/she will have difficulty with the  proper orientation of a word or letter, and this may cause word or letter reversals.
  • Body in Space: An individual should know where his/her body is in space with or without benefit of the visual system.  Knowing this contributes to the knowledge and development of left/right, directions, spatial relations, visualization, etc.

FOCUSING SKILLS Continue reading “Addressing Learning Difficulties”

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The Early Days of IPP

In the fall of 1991, I had the privilege of meeting a young man named Lonnie. Dr. Mary and Dr. Robert Meeker were in the beginning stages of creating IPP (Integrated Practice Protocol) and meetings with Blanch Brandt from San Bernardino were taking place. Ms. Brandt played a critical role in the San Bernardino Detention Center that housed youth that had committed significant crimes. Some of these youth would be transferred into an adult correctional institution to continue serving their sentence.

Other youth would be released upon serving their required time. Ms. Brandt served many of these youth with a program that addressed perceptual deficiencies that interrupted the learning process. One of the valued outcomes from her work was a reduction in out of control behavior. She was searching for a program that would further develop specific learning abilities and found SOI. Ms. Brandt played a critical role in the development of IPP, as did the youth she served. Lonnie was one of those youths.

I had been learning SOI and working with the Meekers during this time. Ms. Brandt invited me to come down to San Bernardino to see the work she was doing. It was at this time I met Lonnie. Lonnie had been assessed with the SOI Form A. I was impressed with his ability level and asked if I could spend some time with him. It is at this point where my dedication to SOI is found. With truth and clarity, I was able to share with Lonnie his strengths and to explain some of the challenges he faced in learning. He could not deny the information; he was the one that answered the questions correctly.

I only reflected back to him what he had accomplished. He shared what he wanted to do upon being released to return to his parents’ home and to his community. He and I spent time daily talking and I learned so much from him. I shared that Continue reading “The Early Days of IPP”

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What Can You Do to Improve Learning Effectively?

On Wednesday, March 11, 2015, I had Level 2 training for SOI/IPP (Structure of Intellect’s Integrated Practice Protocol). It was so great! My instructor was Diane Hochstein, and I’m truly honored to have her as both a trainer and friend. Her 20 years of knowledge and experience in the field of special education and alternative learning programs are amazing. I had five students the she IPP screened, and although none of these children have really bad learning issues, she was able to find areas that they could improve on! Each student was treated with respect and love, and each walked out of the clinic feeling very special.

This is what is so great about the SOI/IPP programs. You, or your child, don’t have to be a person with BIG issues to benefit from SOI/IPP. We all have areas that could use “sprucing up.” These areas may not seem to interfere with our everyday life. Maybe we have learned to cope with them or they’re just not severe enough to complicate things, but working on them might improve everyday life!

Think about it: what would your life be like if that “little issue” was gone and you didn’t have to deal with it ever again? What would life be like if you were able to process information faster? How about being able to walk better or play sports better? What if you could read faster and/or better comprehend what you read? What if you could just make working and living a little easier?

You have the power in you to change. SOI has the power to help you!

Now granted, YOU may not need SOI to function well in life, but what about the child or adult that struggles with even basic achievements? They consistently have to Continue reading “What Can You Do to Improve Learning Effectively?”

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SOI/IPP Success for a Student on the Autism Spectrum

In 2004, our IPP clinic was working with a number of mildly autistic students.

We were receiving referrals from a psychologist who offered sound therapy based on the work of the French physician Tomatis. All of the autistic students he tested had auditory processing issues – some of them quite severe. The psychologist was open to the benefits of IPP for his clients because he understood how improvements in auditory processing deficits need to be built on the foundational skills of sensory-integration. He had seen that for sound therapies to be fully effective long-term, a strong vestibular system is required.

One of the referrals, whose parents could not afford the Tomatis therapy, came to us.

Shawn was in fourth grade when we first tested him with SOI and IPP. The cognitive results showed that he had both above average and below average scores. His IPP scores were quite an eye-opener. With perfect 20/20 vision for both distance and close-up, his vision screening showed all his scores at the severe level. He also had poor balance and cross-over.

In SOI/IPP classes, Shawn enjoyed most of his modules or brain exercises. Not surprisingly, he struggled with most of the sensory-integration and vision exercises. Fortunately, his parents were patient with the time needed to develop each of the physical exercises to a mastery level. He took twice as long as most IPP students to complete. It was worth the time invested! Continue reading “SOI/IPP Success for a Student on the Autism Spectrum”

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Building a Real Student Support Team

YOUR SCHOOL CAN DEVELOP A VERY PROVEN WAY OF ADDRESSING RESPONSE TO INTERVENTION (RTI) THROUGH YOUR STUDENT SUPPORT TEAM AND HAVE STRATEGICALLY TAILORED INTERVENTIONS TO MEET INDIVIDUAL STUDENT NEEDS.

What if you were able to…

  • anticipate, identify, and intervene with ninety percent of your “at-risk” students in kindergarten or first grade
  • help eliminate students’ self-esteem issues related to failure in school
  • bypass reliance on the observations of overextended classroom teachers for most intervention referrals
  • develop an individual and developmentally appropriate plan to effectively intervene with students by the first semester of kindergarten
  • develop an efficient, systematic, easily documentable Student Support Team/RTI procedure for teachers as well as students
  • significantly reduce your Special Education referrals and greatly reduce the number of non-qualifying referrals

What do schools need besides money?

More important than money, they need the information to make good decisions. We have an education system that demands more of young children than they can deliver developmentally.

The system is demanding academic skills that are not accessible to a child until their motor sensory, visual, and cognitive skills are in place.

Our frenetic lifestyles, work schedules, and testing agendas rob our children of appropriate early learning experiences both cognitively and physically. As a result, we are labeling some students with learning disabilities that, given the right interventions, might never cross the threshold into Special Education.

Teachers are frustrated and dismayed because at least twenty-five percent of their students are not able to do what they are asked academically. They come to a Student Support Team meeting with their concerns. “Student can’t read, can’t spell, can’t do math, and can’t pay attention.” What are we to do? How can the student go to the next grade level without the requisite skills in place? How will they ever pass the standardized tests? Continue reading “Building a Real Student Support Team”

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The Link between Evaluation, Employment, and SOI-IPP

Employers, employment retraining programs, and school career counselors could all benefit from understanding the crucial link between developing evaluation skills and an individual’s success in their work world.

Evaluation skills are key to the following:

  • to being an effective executive and leader
  • to becoming successfully employed
  • to being a valuable employee

What is evaluation? SOI defines evaluation as

  • judgment
  • decision making
  • critical thinking
  • working in gray areas where no single right answer prevails – only better choices

In the workforce, individuals with low evaluation skills often don’t retain their employment. Good judgment includes the ability to prioritize – to recognize what is essential to a job well done. It is also about recognizing basic rules and boundaries and how to exist in harmony with these.

Some lessons in judgment come with experience. For example: “If I’m continually late and not respectful of others’ time, I will not be valued. Eventually I may lose my job.”

Most judgment develops only if other foundational abilities are in place. For example, if someone has low comprehension, they will find it difficult to understand the importance of certain things. How can you prioritize without knowing what’s important? Continue reading “The Link between Evaluation, Employment, and SOI-IPP”