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”

The Basics

The Least of These: A Conversation

Twenty five years ago I stood in front of the storage closet in my special education classroom. It was the second semester of my first year of public school teaching. The bloom was off the rose.

Tired and depleted, I had spent money that I didn’t have to supply and equip my classroom with items that were truly needed, but not in the budget. I sighed and closed the door, wishing I could go home, but knowing there was still much to do to prepare for the next week.

My resolve and enthusiasm was giving way to the harsh reality of the system. I had determined as I began my career in Special Education that no student would endure what my nephew had experienced, even at the hands of well-meaning educators.

But now the demands of high expectation and increasingly low hope had taken its toll as I experienced too many students with too many problems, too little time, and too few resources. There is nothing new under the sun.

“I won’t be doing this next year,” I assured myself. “This is certainly not what I expected when I signed on to this ‘noble profession.’ I am an intelligent, educated person. I can do something else. At least in another profession, I could physically and emotionally have something left at the end of the day to give to my family.”

I shut the closet door, plotting my exit, and was startled to hear these words, inaudibly, yet unmistakably, invade my consciousness, “Inasmuch as you did it unto the least of these, you did it unto me.”

“The least of these?” I stopped, I stared, and I sighed, having recognized these words. Continue reading “The Least of These: A Conversation”


What Career is Right for You?

What did you want to be when you grew up?

A firefighter? Doctor? Teacher? Football player? Veterinarian?

Many of us knew what we wanted to be when we grew up. Some of us made that dream a reality, and some of us took a new path.

Choosing a career for the first (or second or third) time can be a daunting task. There are so many choices. So many important decisions to make.

SOI provides a unique opportunity for individuals to evaluate their career potential. Continue reading “What Career is Right for You?”