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”


ALA-PLA: Remote SOI Career & School Placement Testing


I have come to really enjoy using the ALA-PLA test globally. The SOI ALA results below illustrate a difficult case, and I’d like to explain how I, as a psychologist, discussed the results with the parents. The goal of testing was to provide guidance for future (college) educational and career paths. First, it was important for me to identify his interests: classic comic books, film editing, and photography. He took the SOI test on 2 medications: Focalin (ADHD) and Strattera.

SOI identified his intellectual gift as transformational thinking (which I found unusual for someone on the spectrum, but not for someone who loved comics). My mother, Mary Meeker, would always Continue reading “ALA-PLA: Remote SOI Career & School Placement Testing”

Unique Issues

Case Study: Atypical Gifted/Learning Different


As a psychologist and the director of the SOI Diagnosis and Testing Center of Manhattan Beach, I assessed Ryan, 11, using a variety of ecologically valid tools to measure neuro-processing, including the following: developmental history, parent and teacher-report checklists, clinical interview, visual motor screening, the Structure of Intellect (SOI) Test of Learning Abilities, the Social Responsiveness Scale (SRS-2), and the House-Tree-Person Personality Screening.

Ryan presented with a history of poor reading comprehension, hyperactivity, sensory issues (difficulty turning pages while reading), an awkward pencil grip, “quirkiness,” poor frustration tolerance, and under-performance problems. He has great difficulty finishing his work on time, or starting a reading or writing assignment. Ryan wears glasses, which correct his visual acuity to 20/20. He is double-jointed, twirls his shirt, and makes verbal clicking sounds. When asked to read, Ryan states, “It’s just too hard; I can’t read.” He often gives up and cries. A review of his symptoms would elicit diagnostic questions including dyslexia, ADHD, spectrum disorder, learning disabilities and/or visual processing disorder.

Ryan presented with some difficulty following the test instructions, especially on reading speed and memory tests. His handwriting and fine motor (NFU) coordination appeared impaired. He did not exhibit symptoms of an attention disorder. His checklists were negative for ADHD. Ryan’s SRS-2 was negative for a Spectrum disorder. Ryan did present issues relating to a visual processing disorder – Reading Disorder (DSM-5: 315.0) – which slows down his response time and makes his academic efforts frustrating and inconsistent.

My overall diagnosis for Ryan can be summed up as follows: Ryan has a classic “learning different” brain. Continue reading “Case Study: Atypical Gifted/Learning Different”