A rant by Lisa Pearson
I was recently at a workshop where the presenter was a psychologist. One of her comments was one that I hear frequently from psychologists, teachers and other professionals: “Don’t rely on parent testimonies; don’t trust a method that hasn’t been part of research studies and clinical trials; and don’t trust the program’s biased and unsubstantiated evidence.”
This advice sounds good in theory but it isn’t really practical for a number of reasons:
- How are you going to find a large enough group of participants with the same problem? It is well known that people with learning disabilities manifest their conditions in very different ways. It isn’t like giving a pill to a group of migraine sufferers to see if their headaches go away.
- The therapy would need to be the same. With Samonas, as an example, every child has a unique protocol involving CDs specific to their particular needs. It would be like giving a unique combination of pills to a group of people each suffering from different ailments. You can’t do a study in that situation.
- Who would pay for it? Research studies cost a lot of money that would be better spent on the further development of the programs or in educating the public as to their benefits. Private businesses aren’t eligible for massive university grants.
- The programs are developed by entrepreneurs, not universities. I am not aware of a single therapy that isn’t based on extensive university-based research. As a PACE provider, the textbook Learning Problems: A Cognitive Approach by Dr. John Kirby of Queen’s University is required reading and played a large role in the program’s development. A primary role of universities is to do research, the primary role of business is to solve problems. Universities spend money on research–they don’t develop programs. Entrepreneurs gladly, freely, take this commodity (the research) and invest in program development. It’s actually a pretty good arrangement.
“Professionals” have told me that these methods are unfounded and the businesses that develop and sell them are just on a cash grab. Excuse me! Do they really think that every developer and every provider is just pulling a scam? A lot is invested in developing, marketing and providing these programs and they are difficult (and therefore expensive) to sell largely because of negative comments from ignorant and outdated “professionals.” If you want to scam money from people there are far easier and lucrative ways to do it. I, and probably most of my counterparts, earn less than people employed by non-profit organizations. We aren’t getting rich. We are following our passion and, therefore, are pretty good at what we do.
Many of these “professionals” recommend: Advocate for your child, teach your child to self-advocate, and get your child an Individual Education Plan (IEP) full of accommodations and compensations and watch as your child slips further and further behind each year. In other words, do nothing about correcting the problem.
Do something! Anything!
There are many ways to get to a destination: Vancouver to Florida as an example. You can go east across Canada and then south. You can go south to California then east. You can go diagonally across the continent. You can fly, drive, ride a bike, use a wheelchair, take a bus or train, jog or walk. The only way to NOT get there, or at least partway there, is to never embark on the journey–to do nothing.
Research your options, get testimonials, talk to parents who’ve had children go through the programs you’re considering, and see what research is available, but don’t do nothing because a teacher or psychologist is skeptical. As far as I’m concerned, doing nothing is a cruel injustice to your child.
I am personally trained and experienced in a number of methods including PACE, Master the Code, Structure of Intellect (SOI), Samonas, Balametrics, Educational Sensory Integration, Discover Math, and Davis Dyslexia Correction. All of these methods work! I have personally witnessed incredible changes in hundreds of children and adults. At least 80 percent of my former clients would tell you that friends and family noticed differences, without even knowing that the person had been in a program.
One nine-year-old boy’s parents told me that parents from the opposing hockey team asked them what they had done to their son. After just a few weeks of PACE his attention had improved so much that it was evident to everyone who’d ever previously watched him play hockey.
Another boy’s transformation made such an impact on a teacher that goes to his church that she’s referred a number of students from her school to our program.
The head occupational therapist for a child development centre told me that there aren’t any good studies on sensory integration and yet most occupational therapist swear by it because of what they’ve personally experienced.
Of course, the issue of poverty must be considered. I guess there are some people with absolutely no options. But I can put together a very beneficial program for just a few hundred dollars. To help pay for the program, we’ve had parents deliver flyers, do janitorial work, type, install cupboards, build furniture, and silkscreen t-shirts as partial payment. Currently I get all signage done by the parent of one of my students. We have great signs and banners for any occasion, and the child is getting the help he so desperately needs.
Keep in mind that if you want huge results in just 12 weeks it’s expensive (i.e. PACE and Samonas). With SOI, I could develop a good program for $25 per month but it will take a couple of years. Either way, the child is getting help and that matters more than the time it takes.
I believe that the vast majority of the service providers are in this business because of a passion for helping people with learning challenges. Their motives are usually rooted in personal experience. For me, a) my son started experiencing learning challenges in Grade 4 and, b) I owned computer schools and wanted to help my adult students who struggled with learning. I looked for ways to attack the problem as opposed to compensations and accommodations. I’m an entrepreneur–entrepreneurs are, by their very nature, problem solvers.
MYTH: These programs aren’t endorsed by professionals.
FACT: In their development, most of the methods involve considerable input from psychologists, educators, and doctors.
PACE’s developer, Dr. Ken Gibson, is a developmental optometrist and so the program began as vision therapy in the 1960’s. Gibson’s organization has an impressive National Advisory Board and PACE is used by many optometrists and psychologists within their practices and by a large number of schools in the U.S.
Samonas has its roots in the work of Dr. Alfred Tomatis, an otolaryngologist (ear, nose, and throat specialist), and has been technologically improved by Ingo Steinbach, a physicist, sound engineer, electrical engineer, and musician. It is primarily used by psychologists, occupational therapists and speech/language pathologists.
We have offices in Langley and Abbotsford, BC. Please call us for more information at (604)539-1386.