I first learned about SOI in 1988 when my son was floundering in third grade. After SOI testing at a center in Carrollton, he completed a few weeks of SOI summer camp and attended weekly sessions throughout his fourth grade year. Because of SOI, he became a successful honor student, finished college, found a career he loves, and does not live on my couch!
In May 2002, I retired from public school teaching, but could only tolerate retirement for about four months. (How do you watch television without papers to grade?) I found a want-ad for a math coordinator at the same SOI Center that my son attended. I worked there for a little over five years, learning as much as I could about SOI. In May 2008, I founded MindMenders LLC and worked out of my home. I soon became certified in IPP. In January 2012, I joined forces with Dr. Ruben St. Laurent, a doctor of functional neurology, and we opened MindMenders Clinic (staff pictured above). Our patients/clients continued to be successful with SOI/IPP.
In 2012, I tested Brooke Carter (name changed for privacy), an 8-year-old second grader who could not read or do math. Our SOI-IPP program helped Brooke tremendously, but she hated school and did not like coming to sessions. We had to “peel” her off her mother at the beginning of every session. I realized that the reason she hated school and did not like coming to MindMenders was because we were asking her to do things that were beyond her capabilities.
I first heard about SOI Certified Learning at the 2012 SOI National Workshop in Fort Worth. We were able to see it in action at the elementary school where the meeting was being held. The next spring, Diane Hochstein came to MindMenders Clinic to train us. It then occurred to me that Certified Learning would be the answer for Brooke!
On October 1, 2013 I worked with Brooke for the first time using SOI Certified Learning. Brooke was 9 years old and in third grade. According to a recent ARD meeting, Brooke was working at a kindergarten level across the board. That meant that Brooke was four years behind in school.
The first morning, I sat across from Brooke and read aloud the directions on page one of the Kindergarten SOI Certified workbook: “Start at the black arrow (on the left) and draw a line through the dots until you reach the target (on the right).” Brooke looked at me and said, “Okay.” She then proceeded to turn her workbook and draw a line from the arrow at the top to the target at the bottom. I turned the workbook back to the correct position and restated the directions. Again, Brooke turned the workbook so that she was drawing a vertical line from the top to the bottom. A third time I reiterated the instructions, but held on to the workbook so that she could not turn it. She drew a line from left to right for the first time. She went on to master that first module very quickly.
No wonder Brooke could not read! Her brain could not direct her hand to move left to right to draw a line on the page! That meant that she was unable to move her eyes left to right across the page to read. Brooke came to the clinic for the rest of the year every morning before school. In six months, Brooke progressed from kindergarten to second-grade level. She can now read and do math, and will begin the fourth grade this fall (only one-two years behind, instead of four).
The power of SOI Certified Learning is that it develops those primary skills necessary to learn. It begins at the level below where the child is able to work and brings him or her up to grade level very slowly. Beginning at a level below the child’s ability helps to build the child’s confidence and change the “I can’t” attitude to “I can!”
Deficient skills are immediately identified and corrected or developed. This made such a difference with Brooke. Not long after beginning SOI Certified Learning, Brooke’s mom would just drop her off outside the door and Brooke would skip into the clinic with a great big smile on her face!
written by: Patricia Stafford, SOI and IPP practitioner