Trauma Treatment and SOI ALA-PLA Learning Therapy Part 2


Click here to read the first part of Juan’s story.

Juan took the ALA test on the computer and was at the first percentile in every subtest and ability. We began working with LOCAN and the SOI CD and workbook, and retesting with paper and pencil. During our first workbook training session, Juan was nervous because he knew he “did not do well” on the SOI computer test. I asked him why he thought that and he said it was NOT a language issue but a comprehension issue. He did not know what the test was asking him to do. This was an interesting dilemma – the test assesses for comprehension and following directions, but how are you supposed to get an accurate assessment of these abilities if they don’t understand the test directions? Juan also stated that he had very high test anxiety (hence: PTSD interfering) which also impacted his test performance.

During the retesting, my assistant read the directions slowly, using her finger to point to the test. She asked Juan to repeat the directions and explain what he has to do for each subtest. Before he began a subtest, she said something to reduce his anxiety- “take a slow deep breath” or remind him that the test is simply to understand his learning styles and that some of this would come more naturally and some of it would be difficult. He seemed to be less anxious after this. His subtest results were way better on the proctored paper test versus the computer test.

He had extreme anxiety during the memory subtests and would hit himself on his leg when he could not remember a digit he read or heard. Clearly, these subtests and the difficulty in recalling numbers triggered his PTSD from being beaten in school. He rubbed the “magic” bead I had given him during hypnosis/relaxation him a few times to try and reduce the anxiety.

Juan is doing really well on the SOI workbooks! He always starts off nervous but slowly starts to feel more comfortable page by page. I go over the directions with him twice and color code or underline any important information. We also do samples together if it is a new section of the workbook. Juan said he likes the color coding and circling/underlining because of his dyslexia; it makes it easier to follow.

After each page, Juan is asked whether it was easy, medium, or hard and will notate his answer on each page. He usually starts off saying medium and then after a few pages will say easy. Only once has he reported “hard” and that was during our first workbook training session. Juan’s difficulty in understanding how to do a task is NOT a language issue. It is definitely a dyslexia/comprehension/semantic issue. Only once did I see language as an issue — he did not know what the word “brook” was when classifying it during a workbook exercise. Is he dyslexic? Does it matter? Not in SOI lexicon!

I already see an improvement in Juan’s ability to retain information and understand directions. I see the most improvement in his confidence. He said that he knows he needs to believe in himself more and that the workbook has made him feel better about his ability to complete tasks faster as well as understand what is being asked of him. We are continuing SOI training!

written by: Valerie Maxwell, Ph.D., Psychologist

Click here to read the next part of Juan’s story.

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