Dr. Conway: How about an adult? How about a 17-year old? He comes in – scored in the 70’s. We were actually able to move all those skills up to 115, 97, 76. This boy took four months time. Because he had a lot more problems. He had attention problems, comprehension problems, visual-spatial tracking problems and phonological problems and we had to work on all of it. But when we did that, we saw these skills systematically move up into at least his IQ range, which is his goal of targeted functional abilities.
Dr. Conway: Here’s his other word-reading skills. Even his written expression, because we did a training program for written expression as well, is solidly in the average range. Here’s his writing. But if I had not told you ahead of time and said to you, what grade level is this kid who is writing this, you would not have told me “eleventh grade”, I guarantee it. But this is how well he writes as an eleventh grader.
Dr. Conway: He was asked to write an essay with three points – give me the reasons for or against putting PE in school. And he writes:
“Dear Editor – I think every child should have PE. It’s fun but healthy too. I know some children might not like it, but it would help them blow some steam off too. So maybe they wouldn’t be so wild in the classroom.”
Dr. Conway: Not qualified for eleventh grade writing. He is not on track for a standard diploma, he is on track for a special diploma because he’s fallen so far behind. Guess what his mother does for a profession? Certified ESE Reading Specialist. And here’s her own son, her last child, whom she spent all her time trying to help. He’s severely dyslexic, as well as ADHD, as well as having some comprehension and sensorimotor problems, and nothing she has learned from strategies or compensatory skills.
Dr. Conway: Here’s what he could do four months later. Now what I didn’t tell you was this was a timed test. He only got ten minutes to write and had no help. No notes to look at, just write. He’s what he could do, four months later, with the same prompt. Look and see what’s different about his structure:
“Dear Editor, may name is Jon. I think everyone should be required to take PE. Pe is a great exercise each day. Not everyone should be in marathon condition, but I think it would keep kid somewhat healthy and at school more. Also, kids sit in the classroom about seven hours a day. We need PE to wake us up for class. Sometimes classes get boring. PE is a way to have fun and help us stay awake in class. In conclusion, PE will bring kids to school, help make better grades and is just a little fun each day.”
Dr. Conway: How’s he doing now? We went back and did credit retrieval. He went back and got on track for a regular high school diploma. We got a letter from his mother two years after he finished treatment from us – he is not on track for a college degree and he finished his Associate’s Degree. He had the intelligence all along, yet the deficits were holding him back. When you actually change those foundational skills, you change the higher-order functional skills as well. And you change the trajectory of what they can do.
Dr. Conway: When he was given it untimed (this is not his handwriting, by the way) then he wrote a five-paragraph essay about why farming is important to the United States economy. He now knew how to use imaging to organize the information, he now understood the grammatical structures, he now had better phonological skills, all because we did a really intensive treatment program to really build those skills in four months time.