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1513 S. Hwy. 67
Cedar Hill, Texas 75104
Have you ever heard your child, your students, or yourself described in the following manner?
Lazy . . . Unmotivated . . . Doesn’t Care . . . Won’t Try . . . etc., etc., etc. Or perhaps you’ve heard, “I know they are smart, but it doesn’t show in their school work.” Or maybe you as a parent feel as if you are in 5th, 6th, or 7th grade again and you don’t want to be. You owe it to yourself, your child, and/or your student to determine if there is a reason why success is so elusive. We have found that most individuals no matter what age, don’t choose to punish themselves day after day, if things could be different.
The comments above are seldom the cause of an individual’s behavior; they are more frequently the symptoms of other conditions. Many times there are combinations of varying conditions, and there is truly a puzzle which must be solved in order for the individual to receive the appropriate type of help. Which way do you turn? Where do you go first? Process of elimination should never be your first choice (although sometimes it is a necessity).
It is for the above reasons that we recommend diagnostic testing. The right battery of diagnostic tests should at least provide you with some initial answers. Unlike achievement tests which simply tell you there are problems in academic areas (something you probably already knew), the appropriate test should tell you why you are having difficulty and most importantly, what you can do to remedy it.
CEDAR HILL PREPARATORY ACADEMY prides itself in the choice of tools it utilizes which allows personnel to zero in on specific problems and develop a remediation plan for follow-through. The following diagnostic instruments are chosen from:
Structure of Intellect Learning Abilities Test for Cognitive Abilities & Career Assessment
Scotopic Sensitivity Screening
Integrated Practice Protocol Screening – Focusing Skills
Integrated Practice Protocol Screening – Sensory-Motor Integration
TOVA – Test of Variables of Attention
Brain Mastery Dyslexia Screening
Woodcock Johnson III Tests of Achievement – Skill Gaps
Kaufman Brief Intelligence Test – 2
Observations also play a major role in diagnosis. When indicated, outside referrals are made to other professionals for additional information. CEDAR HILL PREPARATORY ACADEMY then pulls all of the information together (putting together all the pieces of the puzzle — looking at the whole individual) to determine the best plan of action. Diagnostic testing is required for all students wishing to enroll in Cedar Hill Preparatory Academy. It is recommended for all CEDAR HILL PREPARATORY ACADEMY tutoring students. The main test/screening instruments that make our center different are listed below. Please call for additional information regarding these or any of the other instruments that we utilize and for current testing fees.
Cognition – from the word cognition; meaning the mental process or faculty of knowing, including aspects such as awareness, perception, reasoning, and judgment. A very basic definition is comprehension or understanding of.
Diagnostic testing requires the uses of a cognitive test for specific reasons. These reasons include:
There are certain cognitive abilities required for success in the school setting.
If these abilities are not in place it is unproductive to introduce content and/or academic information. It may be introduced, but the student won’t “get it” even if you do it at a lower level or “louder and slower.”
It follows; therefore, that an ability that is identified as not in place (i.e. an undeveloped ability) can be considered a learning disability.
Fortunately, if an identified cognitive learning disability is simply an undeveloped ability, it can be developed through specific training/remediation. CEDAR HILL PREPARATORY ACADEMY chooses to use the appropriate age level form of the Structure of Intellect (SOI) Learning Abilities test for its cognitive test. The SOI identifies from 11 to 26 different learning abilities which affect school learning. By identifying which abilities are undeveloped we are able to develop a specific plan of remediation. This direct approach affords us the opportunity to devote time to specific undeveloped abilities and not waste time working on areas that are already developed. This testing also provides us with the information regarding an individual’s learning styles. For example, it identifies whether an individual deals better with figural, symbolic or semantic content. Why is this important? For multiple reasons.
Individuals with a strength in figural intelligence deal best with concrete information that one can see, hear and touch directly. The earliest languages were pictographic concrete representations of concepts. Japanese and Chinese children are first introduced to reading with this type of concrete language. Figural thinkers best understand this type of concrete language. The following is also true about concrete thinkers:
They best understand proportions when you draw them a pie chart.
They can run printing presses.
They are good at photography.
They are good at designing: layouts; building bridges; landscapes; dress patterns, etc.
They can repair things.
Most young children are figural thinkers and figural learners. Most of the information they have dealt with before they enter school is figural. If the child’s learning style is predominantly figural, he or she may have difficulty learning to read. Figural learners do not make an initial connection with school; they may become non-readers and are frequently labeled as learning disabled.
Individuals with a strength in symbolic intelligence deal with information in notational form. In contrast to figural information, symbolic information is abstract, such as numbers, notes of music, codes, letters, etc. Therefore, these individuals are good accountants, bookkeepers, file clerks, computer programmers, court reporters, mathematicians, music transcribers, circuit designers, shipping clerks, electrical engineers and proofreaders. The two notational systems that we are most concerned with in education are alphabetic and numeric. Much of education, especially early education, is concerned with mastering these symbolic systems. The mastery of alphabetic notation is spelling and phonetic reading; the mastery of numeric notation is arithmetic and calculation. The student who is weak in symbolic intelligence will probably have difficulty with phonetic reading, spelling, and calculation.
Individuals with a strength in semantic intelligence deal well with concepts and ideas. They make very good novelists or poets; they can argue a case in court, handle public relations, prepare reports and make presentations. They also make good counselors or teachers. Words, when they represent the sounds of language are symbolic; words when they are the expression of ideas are semantic. Thus, when we say that a student reads well, but without comprehension, we mean that the student can use the words to recreate the sounds of language, but cannot process the meanings that the words express. Educators generally value semantic intelligence more than symbolic intelligence and certainly more than figural intelligence. This is a somewhat skewed perception of the world — especially if your car breaks down in the desert, or you want to put a satellite into orbit, or you want something built, or you want to fly an airplane or do any number of things that are important, but not very semantic in content.
Unfortunately, many educators assume that children come to school with most, if not all, of these abilities in place. And these are just the tip of the iceberg. Identifying learning styles is only one component of the SOI. Most schools DO NOT test for any of these abilities; however, it should be obvious why the information is important to set up an appropriate plan for an individual.
As stated earlier, the results from the SOI are very user friendly. They direct us to any undeveloped learning abilities an individual has, as well as, their predominant learning style. They give us a very important piece of the puzzle.
CEDAR HILL PREPARATORY ACADEMY believes that focusing skills are a vital part of being a good student. The ability to focus visually is imperative to reading skills and other tasks such as copying from the board and paying attention which are required to be successful in the school setting. More and more we are finding clients that have undeveloped focusing skills. When these skills are undeveloped many times a student will exhibit symptoms of other conditions like dyslexia and/or ADD/ADHD when the source of the problem is a different condition entirely. CEDAR HILL PREPARATORY ACADEMY does a focusing skills screening as part of our Integrated Practice Protocol assessment, and based on the results of this screening, generate a plan to develop good focusing skills. If our screening indicates a need for an outside referral, we will make one to a developmental optometrist who specializes in this field.
Unfortunately, in today’s society of larger than life movies, television, and video games; and, parents being afraid to let their children go outside because of safety issues, etc., many children are not afforded the same type of physical activities (walking curbs and fences, climbing jungle gyms and trees, free play) that those in years past were exposed to. This, as well as many other unidentified causes, can result in undeveloped skills that parents do not commonly relate to learning. These skills and the order in which they are developed can be critical to a child’s learning. Such things as balance, left/right development, knowing where their body is in space, etc. can affect a child’s ability to sit in class and focus, follow a teacher’s instructions, or move through an assignment efficiently without getting lost. At CEDAR HILL PREPARATORY ACADEMY, we administer a sensory motor screening as part of our Integrated Practice Protocol assessment that not only identifies problems in these areas, but based on the results establishes a plan to address identified weaknesses. If our screening indicates a need for an outside referral, we will make one to an occupational therapist with S.I.P.T. certification, a specialist in this field. We are; however, able to serve the majority of our clients without this referral.
Dyslexia is an elusive diagnosis. It is not the same as a learning disability and therefore the traditional “discrepancy model” of testing is not a valid approach for diagnosing it. There is not one test that will diagnose it. Looking at a cluster of symptoms and an individual’s strengths are as important in diagnosing dyslexia as their weaknesses are. Our screening begins with a checklist that correlates with the symptoms of dyslexia. This helps us determine if we need to proceed. We then utilize the “best practices” that have been formulated based on the longitudinal study conducted by the National Institutes of Health. The markers for determining a diagnosis of dyslexia include: memory, auditory processing, phonics, decoding, fluency, comprehension, spelling, writing sample, etc. In addition, the markers for dysgraphia (difficulty with handwriting) include: small motor skills, speed of handwriting, and quality of duplication. Finally, the markers of dyscalculia (difficulty with arithmetic and/or mathematics) include poor arithmetic skills (memory, patterning, evaluation skills, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions, decimals, percents, etc.) and/or poor math skills (spatial abilities, logic, reasoning, abstract processing, algebra, geometry, calculus, trigonometry, etc.) Once a diagnosis is made, a plan is formulated. See “Dyslexia Brain Mastery Program.”
Academic Skills Gaps
Traditional tutoring attempts to fill in academic skills gaps (i.e. identifying the parts of speech; learning the multiplication facts, etc.) In some cases this type of tutoring is very successful; in others, it is not. We have found that this type of tutoring is imperative to the success of the student when they are ready for it. For example, when the foundational abilities to learn the multiplication facts are in place (i.e. auditory memory and classification skills) then drilling the multiplication facts is effective. Continuing to drill without these abilities in place is not efficient; it is frustrating, and it is usually not effective. Therefore, academic skill gaps are addressed in our client’s plans after their foundational abilities are in place. We will not address the academic skills gaps until the foundational abilities are in place. In addition, we carefully choose the materials and methods for filling in the skills gaps so the remediation takes place in as timely a manner as possible. Finally, for our clients who have successfully completed their programs we offer drop-in tutoring when needed. For example, if a students has successfully completed their program here, but several weeks, months or years later needs specific help on a term paper, they may call and make appointments on an hourly week-to-week basis until the term paper is complete. Another example might be a student who successfully completed our program but was absent from school for an extended period of time and needs to be caught up. Because we know that these individuals have their foundational abilities in place, we know that we can be effective with traditional tutoring — filling in the gaps.
Career Testing and Counseling
Too many individuals:
Hop from job to job
Waste time and money in the wrong career
Are unhappy, unfulfilled, searching
Easily led astray
How does one avoid these pitfalls? CEDAR HILL PREPARATORY ACADEMY takes a two-fold approach.
First, individuals are tested to determine where their cognitive abilities lie. Unlike other career tests that are interest based, these abilities are then overlaid on the required abilities for any given career. Weaknesses bring into focus any areas which need improvement if success in a given career is desired. Doors are not closed; reality is addressed.
Second, many individuals need direction. Their abilities indicate they can be whatever they want, but they don’t know what they want. CEDAR HILL PREPARATORY ACADEMY’s staff will help each individual:
Identify Personality Type
Explore Traditional & Non-traditional Career Choices
Please click HERE for our latest testing schedule.