In our previous blog post, we talked about the difference between eyesight and vision as well as some possible consequences when either of those things are not working optimally. We also discussed some of the general functions eyes have to be able to perform in the learning environment and why vision issues can be so easily missed.
This week, we’re going to focus on:
- possible behavioral components when vision isn’t strong
- practical skills that require a strong vision system
- how SOI can help build stronger vision skills
What’s wrong with me?
We’ve all had the experience of trying something new. When we are attempting to learn a new skill, we expect to have struggles in the beginning, but with time, patience, and practice we expect to get better.
But what happens when we try to master a skill for six months, or a year, or four years, and there still isn’t improvement? Would you think you were stupid? Would you be frustrated? Would you begin to dread your next class or lesson? The answer to all of these questions for most of us would be a resounding YES! These feelings would be understandable, completely justified, and would most likely lead us to give up or quit.
With that in mind, what do you think it feels like for a 3rd or 4th grader who can’t read? There have been years of instruction, different methods tried, and still the student is unable to read. We can almost certainly expect a student to exhibit some negative behavior around this issue. Some students act out and become the “class clown” in order to redirect the attention away from the fact they cannot perform in class. Other students may act out differently and become combative or defiant when it comes to schoolwork or homework. And others may completely fall within themselves and withdraw from being social at all because of the shame they feel.
Regardless of how behavior is influenced by the lack of visual skills, it’s generally going to make things more difficult for the students, parents, and schools who have to work with the deficit. Incidentally, if these behaviors continue unchecked, a possible consequence is that these children grow up to be adults with the same sort of negative self-talk and attitudes towards school and work.
For these reasons, it’s important to discover the truth about why a child cannot read as early as possible. Understanding that the real reason(s) a person can’t read is not because they are “stupid” or somehow mentally deficient in some way can go a long way to repairing their confidence as a learner and their dignity as a person. Simply labeling the child and putting them in special education can sometimes make things worse, particularly if the label is incorrect.
SOI can help reveal the root causes of reading difficulties. The accurate and detailed information gathered through our comprehensive assessment enables us to rule out some possible problems and expose those that are disrupting the learning process.
What’s all the fuss about reading anyway?
In today’s rapidly changing and technologically driven world, some have argued that reading is not as crucial a skill as it used to be. That simply isn’t true. Books may not be as frequently used anymore (which is upsetting to those of us who love nothing more than to curl up with a good book). But if you think about how heavily dependent we are on social media, you’ll quickly realize we may actually do more reading now than we did in the past when most people got their news from skimming the newspaper.
I have had days in which I didn’t pick up a book, but read ten or more articles on things that caught my attention while scrolling through social media. In addition, many videos have text overlaid on them now. And our global economy has also exposed us to an ever-increasing number of very good foreign films that find their way into our homes. And, unless you are fluent in the language spoken in the film, you will be doing a lot of reading for the next couple hours in order to understand what’s going on.
In addition to all the media we consume during our waking hours, most jobs in this country are considered “white collar” jobs and require reading and writing skills. So, with reading and writing being such strong components to our lives, we can see why a strong vision system is so crucial.
A strong and efficient vision system is also very helpful when driving (particularly at night), playing sports (try tracking a ball when your two eyes don’t work well together), and other near-point work like soldering circuitry or welding. Many jobs now require time to be spent in front of a computer, where performance will be affected by a weak or easily fatigued vision system.
How can we build a stronger vision system?
The first step, which we already discussed, is proper and accurate identification of the problem and whether or not it is a vision issue. If the problem is in the vision system, then we need to know more information on the type of problem it is.
- Do the eyes not come together well at near-point?
- Maybe they come together fine, but they don’t stay together as we move across a page.
- Perhaps they come together and stay together as we move them, but the action is not “smooth” and they bounce all over.
- Or, perhaps they can perform all of these actions adequately, but only for short periods of time before they fatigue.
Each of these issues comes with a different solution. So, proper identification is the key to understanding where we need to start.
One way SOI can do this is through our cognitive testing. We have several options depending on the age/ability level of the student as well as geographical location. But, the goal with all of these options is always to get to the root of the problem the student may be having and to address it directly.
Once we have identified what the issues are, we have comprehensive workbooks that address the weaker areas. These workbooks often start with a simplified concept (foundational), but quickly move into more difficult concepts which serve to build the skill to a higher level. Finally, the workbooks move into the challenging phase to help the student create ownership of the skills so that they will not be a problem in the future. Once a skill is built to this level, it’s like riding a bike because you don’t have to relearn it later. These workbook exercises are not a curriculum, but serve to strengthen the abilities necessary to learn curriculum.
The other way SOI can directly address learning difficulties, particularly when they fall in the perceptual areas (visual, auditory, or sensory motor) is in an IPP (Integrated Practice Protocol) lab. In our IPP labs, a student will take the appropriate cognitive test as well as go through a comprehensive screening of their perceptual systems.
This screening allows the SOI practitioner to have another tool at the ready: the IPP exercise plan. This plan is generated by the SOI Management program based on the results of the student’s perceptual screening. This exercise plan directly addresses any of the weak areas in the physical systems of the body which might be disrupting the learning process. In addition, the student will also have the workbooks to reinforce and strengthen these skills at near-point (where we read and do most school work).
“The IPP lab is to education, what the weight room is to athletics” – Dr. Robert Meeker
SOI & Vision
Our program’s goal is to first identify the problem(s) to the best of our abilities, and then to provide solutions to the problem(s). One of the things that the system of SOI provides us with is a protocol as to where to start so we can achieve our goal as quickly as possible.
Because of this protocol, we focus a lot of our attention on vision related issues. So much of the information about the world around us comes to us through our vision system and must coordinate with all the other systems in our bodies. We tend to find most learning issues stem from a weak or compromised vision system. And so, because of the two reasons above making vision our paramount concern, we always start with assessing the vision system so we can either rule it out as a problem or give it the attention it requires.
If you are interested in finding an SOI provider in your area or learning more about how SOI might help you or your student achieve better results in work or school, please click here. We work with schools (pre-K through college), workforce readiness programs, and adult and juvenile corrections programs. We also can provide career guidance for those looking for a change.
If you would like more information about any of our programs or products, please visit our website for more information.