My family traveled a very long road before finding out about SOI in 1982. As a nine year old in the fourth grade, our daughter had not yet learned to read. We had exhausted the medical community (we thought) and her school was perplexed and at times agitated with our daughter or with us.
The SOI program gave us the solutions that resulted in her ultimate success in reading, in her education, and in finding her self-esteem and confidence. Her avid love of animals sustained her through those really difficult years of school failure. A teacher friend of ours once asked her what reading group she was in. At nine she answered, “The eagle group. I can’t read and the eagle flies alone.”
Simply stated, we all missed the problem. The SOI assessment did not. Could a three-hour assessment of learning abilities give us the answer we had been searching for over a four-year span of time? Indeed. We learned a profound fact that had not been mentioned by anyone attempting to help us. Our daughter had 20/20 acuity but her two eyes did not work together. She knew the letters and the sounds, but could not keep her eyes tracking on the page she was trying to read, write, or calculate.
We were referred to a developmental optometrist for help; our next shock was listening to our daughter describe to the doctor what happened to the letters when she tried to read. They just would not stay still. We were stunned! No one, including us, had thought to ask her. On that day my life turned to SOI.
Soon after this experience, SOI created Integrated Practice Protocol (IPP). This is one of the SOI managed programs that is implemented in schools of all grade levels and in learning centers. It addresses SOI learning abilities, visual and auditory processing, and sensory motor development for coordination and concentration.
IPP would have discovered our daughter’s problem in kindergarten. I never forget that fact. This program is not a lightening bolt of immediate learning recovery. Small steps and gains are made each day. Students are required to use self-discipline and precision in completing all exercises and assignments. The feeling of accomplishment is why students gain confidence in the experience of the IPP Lab. Their challenge is to learn to apply that same discipline in other settings.
These areas of improvement are often noticed first:
- a more positive attitude
- fewer disagreements with peers
- improved listening skills
- improved ability to focus at near point for longer periods of time
- an increase in learning stamina
- improved reading ability with fewer mistakes when reading out loud
- improvement in handwriting
- more organized
- being an easier student to have in class
- more smiles from the student
Over the last twenty years of implementing SOI/IPP into schools and clinics, my respect for the impact of this intervention has only become more solid. Every person trained in SOI understands the connection between reading and visual processing abilities. They also understand the importance of encouraging students who struggle by recognizing small steps of improvement. If our daughter had to suffer the experience of learning failure for so many years, couldn’t we, as parents, find it in ourselves to demonstrate patience in the speed of her learning recovery? Our kind words mended the angry words she spoke about herself.
Because of our knowledge about visual processing problems, our granddaughter, who was challenged with the same visual difficulties as our daughter, will never need to walk the path of her mother. She received the help necessary prior to starting kindergarten. This becomes just one more amazing gift granted to our family through the brilliance of SOI and the passion of Dr. Mary and Dr. Robert Meeker.
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