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”

learning skills

SOI LOCAN: Reaching Out to Malawi, Africa

Almost exactly a year ago, my husband and I were sitting in the living room of a dear friend, visiting with two recent acquaintances. One of our new friends, a lady from Kentucky, is the director of a mission in Malawi, Africa. The other new friend is a pastor and leader of the community, church, and school in this very remote village in Malawi. Over cool drinks, we shared our various experiences, work, and dreams as our Kentucky friend translated as needed into Chichewa for our new African friend.

Both were fascinated to know about SOI and the work I have done over the past 20+ years with children who were challenged in their learning. The visitors shared their concern over what they in Malawi had come to call “the third grade dropout.” Apparently, many students in their community progress to a third grade reading level, but then, year after year, are unable to move forward. Around the age of 18, they finally give up, unable to pursue higher learning.

They were perplexed. Why would children, so intelligent in so many ways, bog down and languish for years at the same reading level, unable to progress even after extensive tutoring?

Indeed, why? The question seemed familiar. Haven’t educators here in the U.S. asked similar questions about some of their struggling students? I assured them that using the Structure of Intellect (SOI) methods, we would be able to answer that question.

A few months later, Continue reading “SOI LOCAN: Reaching Out to Malawi, Africa”


Figuring Out Figural Learners

One of the most enlightening aspects of my training with SOI was learning about figural learners.  When my youngest son, Christian, was 6 years old, I discovered through SOI testing that he had sensory integration issues and was a figural learner.

What is a figural learner?  A learner who has high figural-spatial skills, but is lower in semantic and symbolic learning and learns best by using concrete, hands-on, three dimensional information.  They see pictures in their mind and excel when they are able to learn by seeing, touching, and doing.  Most young children start out as figural learners.  My son Christian was in a Montessori environment for pre-school and excelled there.

However, traditional school environments are mostly semantic and symbolic and not a place where figural learners flourish.  Most traditional reading programs are phonics-based or whole-word reading, which is not the best reading method for figural learners. Many students who are highly figural find they do well when they are out of school.  This is when they can use their real world figural skills in careers such as graphic design, film production, interior design, art, or even in careers such as plumbing, automotive repair, and construction.

For those of us who are in an elementary environment, the issue is how can we help students who are figural learners succeed? Our school, Shady Oak Learning, incorporates strengths-based learning, where we use students strong areas to motivate them and help strengthen weak areas. In addition to strengthening semantic and symbolic skills with SOI modules and Certified Learning, here are some other resources we use to boost figural learners:

SOI LOCAN – This is a figural reading method that all of our young students enjoy!  They recognize the glyphs, play bingo and translate those later to words, sentences and paragraphs. Continue reading “Figuring Out Figural Learners”