MORE INFORMATION ON SOI-IPP
Clients are referred to the IPP center because they are having difficulties learning. The clients may be students in school classrooms, teens in training courses, adults in literacy classes, or any other situation where they are failing to learn the material that is being presented.
IPP works the same in all these contexts because IPP is not tutoring. Tutoring is more intensive teaching. IPP is not teaching. IPP is learning therapy. IPP deals directly with the causes of the learning problems.
Tutoring and special education try to “teach around” learning problems rather than deal with them directly. The following describes the steps in the IPP process of dealing with learning problems.
STEP ONE: ASSESSMENTS
When a client is referred to the IPP center, he or she is given a number of assessments. The purpose of these assessments is to find out why he or she is not learning. The assessments are not concerned with how much the student knows (achievement); the assessments are concerned with the abilities and functions that are necessary for learning.
These assessments are comparable to the type of assessments one receives in a doctor's office or clinic - a clinical attempt to gather the information needed to diagnose the problems. In the case of doctors, medical problems; in the case of IPP, learning problems.
There are four principal areas of assessment.
1. COGNITIVE ABILITIES
The SOI test of learning abilities is used to assess learning abilities. The SOI Learning Abilities test assesses twenty-four different abilities (27 subtests) that affect learning. If a student shows a pronounced weakness in any of these abilities, then we have a strong indication as to why he or she is not learning.
A cognitive learning disability is operationally defined as the lack of a specific learning ability. This assessment covers one possible source of learning problems.
2. SENSORY INTEGRATION FUNCTIONS
The IPP test of sensori-motor functions tells us whether the student can integrate different perceptual functions. Without sensory integration, many of the perceptual inputs are garbled, scrambled or confused and, since perception is the starting point in any learning process, the student will be dealing with incomplete or confused data. This assessment, then, covers another possible source of learning problems.
3. FOCUSING SKILL FUNCTIONS
Almost all learning in our culture involves visual processing. If visual processing functions are not developed, the student will have problems processing data quickly enough to assimilate information in a timely and appropriate fashion.
As a consequence, the student will probably be labeled as “slow” or “learning-disabled” - suggesting that he or she is subnormal cognitively - whereas the root problem may be vision processing. IPP tests for focusing skill functions. This assessment, then, covers still another possible source of learning problems.
4. PREDOMINATELY FIGURAL NON-READERS
Reading is a special case of learning. It is not just another subject. It is the rite of passage into the rest of the curriculum. Nonreaders who have been exposed to reading instruction require special diagnosis. Among the various reasons for failure is a mismatch between the student's learning strength and the method selected for teaching reading.
Some students are predominately symbolic learners; they will do well with a phonics approach to reading. Some students are predominately semantic learners; they will do well with a basal reader or whole language approach.
Some students are predominately Figural learners; they will not do well with either phonics or sight-reading. The combination of the SOI assessment and some independent assessment of reading achievement is a key to another possible source of learning problems.
These are the assessments that the IPP system uses to get at the cause of learning problems. Once we have the information from these assessments, we can begin to deal with the learning problems.
In particular, we can train cognitive abilities that are presently too weak to facilitate learning; we can enhance sensory integration functions so poor perceptual processing will no longer be an inhibitor to learning; we can develop focusing skill functions so the student is no longer penalized in learning; and, for nonreaders, we can match the student's predominate mode of learning with the appropriate method of reading instruction.
However, before we can begin to deal with the problems, the probable causes of the problems must be specifically identified and matched with plans of treatment.
STEP TWO: DIAGNOSIS
This is the “expert” part of the IPP system. The “expert” views the results of each of the assessments and decides the probable diagnosis (the cause or causes) of the learning problem. Then the “expert” prescribes a plan for treating the problem by working to eliminate its cause or causes.
The “expert” in the IPP system is a computer program. The results of the assessments are entered into the computer, and the program then evaluates the data and provides an individual treatment plan for the student. The computer can assume the role of “expert” because it has been programmed to look at the data as experts do and to use the evaluation of the data as experts do in prescribing a plan of treatment.
The process is simple: assessment data in - treatment plan out. The expertise underlying the process is not simple. It has been constructed over many years by a procedure of emulating what experts do and then having the experts review the results to see if they would have done it differently.
By this method, we have been able to capture the critical configurations of data, the clusters of information, the diagnostic relationships between problem symptoms and basic dysfunctions, and the most effective courses of therapy. The sum of all of these is incorporated into a computer program that provides a direct path from assessment to diagnosis to prescription to treatment.
For the user of the IPP system this is the easiest part. The specialist enters the assessment data for a client and gets, in return, a printed plan for treating the client.
STEP THREE: TREATMENT
The third step is treatment of the learning problem. Since the causes of the learning problem may fall into any one or more of the four areas - cognitive, sensory integration, focusing skill, or reading/learning style - treatment plans are organized into four treatment "hubs." A plan is produced for each treatment hub (where the client needs treatment).
Thus, for every student (client) with learning problems, the system produces four different treatment plans relating to the four areas of assessment. Sometimes, of course, a client may need no treatment in one or more of the four hubs.
When that happens, the “treatment plan” for that center is empty - indicating that nothing needs to be done. So, for instance, if a client showed no difficulties with sensory integration, the plan for that hub would be empty. The system individualizes treatment even within each hub. It does not rely on a “one-method-fits-all-problems” approach.
The treatment plan for each client is very specific. It shows the treatment procedures that should be used and the order in which they should be undertaken. The results of each treatment are recorded in a part of the computer program that holds the client's treatment history.
Treatments are administered by technicians - people trained in the specific area of treatment. They are technicians in contrast to professionals. They do not need to be certified teachers. They do not need to be occupational therapists. They do not need to be vision specialists. They do not need to be professionals because they do not make any treatment-plan decisions. The decisions are all handled by the IPP system.
They do need to be well-trained in the specific treatment procedures prescribed by the IPP system. This training is circumscribed but very focused. They are training experts in their well-defined area of training. They exercise judgment but make no decisions.
Sometimes, of course, the prescribed method of treatment is thwarted midcourse - for whatever reason the client does not respond positively to the treatment procedures. On the occasions where that does occur, the technician is led to alternate activities that are designed to get the client back on course.
On a rare occasion, the alternate activities may not get the client back on course. At that point, the client treatment is referred to IPP consultants who review the case, first to reevaluate the diagnosis and treatment for the client, and, second, if the case indicates a general problem, to design modifications to the computer program to handle similar cases in the future without referral.
When all of the treatment has been done, the expectation is that the student will be able to return to the instructional situation and progress with much improved performance. In almost all cases this expectation is fulfilled - overall, those who complete the program have returned, with success, to the instructional situation.
When this expectation is not fulfilled, the case is returned to the IPP center for reevaluation. This is done because the IPP system is committed to 100% success. While the system may not achieve 100% success, it cannot be satisfied with anything less, so every failure - no matter how painful it may be to expose - is documented and analyzed as to the most probable cause of failure.
If it is a cause that can be addressed, then procedures for assessment and treatment will be incorporated into the system so failure can be avoided in the future. If it is a cause that cannot be addressed, then, at the very least, procedures for its identification will be made so more realistic prognoses can be made in the future. In other words, the system is not perfect but, by expecting perfection, it will continually improve and successively approximate its goal.
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