Classrooms, soi-ipp

Alternate Schools – Alternate Programs

There is a very strong case to support the existence of alternate programs. Most people are aware of alternate programs that are geared to students who are at risk socially or who struggle academically. Many students can be guided to become successful, productive members of the community with the right kind of intervention.

What you may be less likely to know about is that there is a profile for the “Gifted with Learning Problems” student. These are the ones we refer to as having mountains and valleys.

These students’ potential may be completely derailed as their needs go unmet. They may be brilliant in math with visual or auditory issues that impede reading success. Or they may excel in reading and composition but struggle with algebra.

Teachers are often aghast when their most brilliant students choose to pass on higher education. I’m always amazed at how many truly intelligent people are unaware of their gifts. Or they know they have potential but cannot face the education system with their problems and, for them, so many doors close. The truth is, it doesn’t have to be that way.

Dr. Robert Meeker has pointed out that most learning problems are not profound. They are for the most part undiagnosed and untreated. In our school system, the focus is usually on teaching the child with problems to “cope.”

Most learning problems can be helped – poor auditory processing included – if you understand what’s needed and have the tools to deal with it. Likewise, most problems with math can also be corrected.

Continue reading “Alternate Schools – Alternate Programs”

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”