soi-ipp · Unique Issues

SOI-IPP Program and Concussion Care

Avoiding concussions and treating concussions is a big topic in the news today. This morning the national news question of the day was, “Should high school football be banned?” Here in Texas, high school football is “king” so I don’t see that happening anytime soon. On the news, they were saying that perhaps there should be a licensed trainer present at every football game with a concussion protocol that is followed to the letter. That’s not a bad idea.

Coaches are sending players back onto the field after concussions. Last week one of my high school clients told me about a friend who plays select soccer.  Last summer during a tournament, this girl went for a header and collided heads with a member of the opposing team. The girl on the other team was rushed to the hospital. After answering a few questions this friend was sent back onto the field to play. It was not until she fell on her head two more times that the coach decided to pull her from the game. This girl suffered severe problems from concussion in the weeks and months that followed.  This formerly straight-A student is still struggling to pass her senior classes. When my client asked me if the SOI program could help her friend, I answered with a definite “yes!”

I have seen the SOI Program help several of my clients who had suffered from brain trauma. One was a sixth-grade boy brought to my center a few years ago. A year before he came to see me, he had fallen from the school’s eight-foot-high monkey bars onto his head. His neurologist had released him from care and declared that he had completely recovered, but his mother knew that everything was not completely back to normal. Continue reading “SOI-IPP Program and Concussion Care”

Unique Issues

Attention Issues and SOI

When Ernest, age 10, came to my SOI classes twenty years ago, he drove everyone crazy.

He banged his pencil on the table, danced in his seat and only looked at his SOI brain exercise module when I asked him each question individually. Our teachers persisted in developing his attention by using an expanded form of SOI that included sensori-integration as well as brain training modules.

As Ernest did each balance board exercise, he would have to bring his attention again and again to the task at hand to be able to master it. He struggled at first, but as each exercise was mastered, he would be given the next level. Before the SOI program, I don’t think Ernest knew he could control his own brain. He just reacted to everything.

After about sixty hours of classes, he would come in, sit quietly at the table and engage in his booklets with interest. At school, he’d become a star pupil. He now knew how to shift into the reflective mode so necessary for success in reading, composition and math.

The process of finding out exactly what a student like Ernest needed and providing the right exercises in the right order plays out again and again in SOI/IPP. Easily 90% of the students we assist have attention issues of some kind. Ernest looked like a full-blown “ADHD” candidate when he first came in. His lack of control around focusing entirely evaporated, however, once his neurological connections were put in place through exercise – both physical and mental. Continue reading “Attention Issues and SOI”

Unique Issues

SOI Support for Dyslexia

I believe the best support for struggling students with dyslexic symptoms is the full spectrum of Structure of Intellect interventions. Most of the students at Positive Learning Solutions have some degree of dyslexic symptoms, and have made much reading progress with their program and are progressing in school.

First, identifying visual and auditory perceptual processing problems and remediating them is necessary for success in overcoming any learning problem, and dyslexia is no exception. SOI-IPP and specific SOI computer and paper modules provide that underlying support for visual, auditory, and spatial abilities.

Any referrals to Meeker Paradigm Area 3 health professionals are appropriate as well. Some visual symptoms – such as letters/numbers/words moving or distorting, or losing place frequently – that are found in dyslexia checklists from any source, are in recent years found to actually be Irlen Syndrome symptoms co-existing with dyslexia. Free questionnaires can help determine if an Irlen screening and specific colors can eliminate part of the barrier to reading and learning.

Particularly if starting a phonemic awareness/phonics-based dyslexia reading program, a student is at a clear disadvantage if the auditory processing/memory are not strengthened beforehand. The SOI Auditory Kit strengthens auditory discrimination, semantic sequences, and memory of units. The Auditory Kit and Memory Matrix (particularly the 3 auditory exercises) are used with most, if not all of my students with much success. Every area of a student’s memory ability needs to be strengthened before any dyslexia reading program is begun. Continue reading “SOI Support for Dyslexia”

Unique Issues

Judiciary Reform & SOI

Aiza Sanchez founded Centro SOI Saltillo 16 years ago. In 2010, she was introduced to the judicial powers by the former director of the psychology faculty. The judges and judicial staff were having difficulty changing from one judging system to the other.

Their first evaluation was in 2011, and they have been evaluating ever since. Last November, Centro SOI Saltillo trained 8 judges and 20 public attorney defenders with the auditory program and SOI modules.


The judiciary system reform in Mexican has been changing for the last seven or eight years from a system called “Inquisitive” to a system called “Accusative.” There are principal differences in the systems. First, the system changed from a “law” fundamental to a “human rights” fundamental. Second, the process changed from a written to oral form.

Coahuila state was one of the first states to initiate this change. One of the main issues in the process of changing from one system to another was developing strategies to prepare the professionals in the justice system not only in their knowledge of the law, but in their intellectual abilities, emotional stability, job competences, and constructive cognitive processes.

Acquiring knowledge about Continue reading “Judiciary Reform & SOI”

learning skills · Unique Issues

Parents: Take Your Babies Out of Those BUCKETS!

What buckets am I talking about? I mean those baby carriers that small children sit in while riding in the car. I am sure you have seen moms take the baby and his “bucket” out of the car and put the child and “bucket” into the grocery cart at the market or the stroller at the mall. When shopping is done, back into the car goes the baby in his “bucket.” What amazes me is that these babies seldom cry or act like they want to be picked up. Neither of my grandsons would stand for the being in the “bucket” one minute longer that they had to be. Sometimes, my grandsons would stiffen into a standing position so that it was very difficult to even buckle them into the “bucket” for the car ride.

A few years ago I worked with a third grade boy at my center, whom I will refer to as Bob. The SOI test indicated he was average on 8 tests, all in Cognition and Memory. He also had two low average scores, one in recognizing shapes that have been turned and the other in speed of handwriting. The rest of Bob’s SOI tests scored above average. These were high scores considering that Bob was struggling in school.

The IPP Screening indicated what caused Bob’s problems in reading and math. He had trouble with all of the focusing skills and all of the sensory-integration tests, with the exception of balance. Bob liked sports and his sense of balance was his only saving grace.

As I worked with Bob on the IPP physical exercises, I realized that his awareness of body in space was negligible and that he had not internalized right from left. At nine years of age, his mom reported that he Continue reading “Parents: Take Your Babies Out of Those BUCKETS!”

Classrooms · Unique Issues

Can We Play in School?

Spring has arrived in full bloom here in Texas, and with the beautiful weather, I am gratefully reminded of how enjoyable it is to see our kids play. Here at Shady Oak Learning, we take play seriously. It is embedded in our school day. Children who come here have about an hour and a half of free play time outdoors throughout the day. Why? Because research supports that play is an essential part of brain growth and behavior development. Children who move and play show significant increase in IQ.

According to David Elkind, professor emeritus of child development at Tufts University and author of The Power of Play, children spend 50% less time out doors than they did in the late 90’s while passive leisure, such as watching television and playing electronics, has increased dramatically. Research especially shows that the kind of play that promotes sociodramatic play, where children participate in make-believe activities, can increase children’s success in school.

When we found the spot for our current school, one of the requirements was that there was a play space big enough for our kids to run and play. Fortunately, we walk to a neighborhood park a half a block away. I was concerned at first that there was no playground equipment; it was just an open space with trees and a sidewalk surrounding it. I have been fascinated with the play activities the children have come up with, such as making castles with princess and knights, cops and robbers, and, of course, cowboys and Indians. Sometimes I observe them just running laps or walking and talking around the park, Continue reading “Can We Play in School?”

Unique Issues

SOI and Dementia/Alzheimer’s

I am often asked if SOI can help people with dementia or Alzheimer’s. I immediately answer with an emphatic “YES!” In working with SOI for over a decade, I have found that when improvements in brain function are made in a person who does not suffer from dementia or Alzheimer’s, said improvements remain even after SOI sessions are completed (barring any future damage to the brain). However, once improvements are realized with a dementia or Alzheimer’s patient, the results may not remain after sessions discontinue.

Here’s why:

Dementia is not a disease. Dementia is a set of symptoms, the most prominent of which is memory difficulty (with additional problems in at least one other area of cognitive functioning, including: language, attention, problem-solving, spatial skills, judgment, planning, or organization (the SOI test evaluates all of these). There are many possible causes of dementia; some are reversible, while others are not.

Alzheimer’s is a disease that worsens over time. Alzheimer’s causes the symptoms of dementia that are irreversible. Unfortunately, it is not possible to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease with 100% accuracy while the patient is alive; it can only be accurately diagnosed after death, when the brain tissue is carefully examined by a specialized doctor.

Roy Cunningham with daughter, Pat (circa 1950)
Roy Cunningham with daughter, Pat (circa 1950)

When I opened MindMenders in 2008, I had the privilege of working with my dad, Roy Cunningham. At the time, Dad was 83 years old and was experiencing many signs of dementia: very poor auditory memory, slow mental processing, less language, and withdrawing in social situations. The causes of Dad’s dementia were chemotherapy treatments for cancer and mental inactivity (he had retired 10 years before). Even though my dad never finished high school, I always knew that he was very intelligent, so I was not surprised at the results of his SOI test; many areas of his test were still in the gifted range!

Dad and I had SOI sessions twice a week that fall. After 40 hours of sessions, I re-tested his below-average SOI tests and all areas improved significantly, Continue reading “SOI and Dementia/Alzheimer’s”