We chose a number of case studies example of the hundreds treated by Michael Zarchin, and the following cases:
A nine-year-old boy with ADD had problems with reading comprehension. He could read well enough, but hated reading because he did not understand the content and lost his concentration immediately. He had coordination problems such as the inability to catch a ball in one hand, or to walk with his arms and legs crossed. In the intuitive assessment it transpired that he had emotional problems. I saw he was sad and bitter, with a strong drive to talk all the time. In order to stress his emotional side, I allowed him to express himself freely, encouraged him to do so and used his strong drive to tell things as a strengthening and advancing force. I asked him to show me his family photograph album, and encouraged him to tell me his memories from the photographs, and about the people in his world. He related his stories to me enthusiastically, and I suggested that we write the stories together. Later he wrote his important thoughts and experiences himself, and naturally he was prepared to read out his writings. Thus, by experiencing reading a text that had significance for him, the way was opened to reading other texts, and the road to reading comprehension was laid. He learned to love reading, and at the same time there was an improvement in his emotional problems. I also spoke to his parents and instructed them to give him more significant positive feedback.
A fourteen-year-old boy was diagnosed with learning difficulties and ADD. Like most learning disabilities, the attention problems were related to problems with focusing his eyes. I worked with him using exercises to improve the focusing, but did not achieve satisfactory improvement. I discovered that he played the piano, though not very successfully, and that he was unable to read music. I decided to utilize his playing an instrument as a work tool, and made contact with his piano teacher. I instructed her to teach him to play with his arms crossed over and to ignore, as much as possible, the musical results. She cooperated, departed from the familiar patterns and implemented my method. The exercises with crossed arms and other exercises with different fingers on each hand improved his coordination, and the self-confidence he achieved encouraged him to start learning to read music. The connection we made between the sounds and coordination, using the piano teacher, helped form the cognitive connection, and thus helped solve the attention problems.
An eleven-year-old boy who knew how to identify sounds and connect them into letters, but kept getting stuck, came to see me. He read very slowly and unclearly, and his ability to speak was limited. While watching him and observing his internal world, I had the idea of wrestling, of physical shaking that could get him out of his shell. After implementing the idea as a therapeutic exercise and holding a short round of wrestling, the boy started talking more fluently. His fluency improved in the following meetings. The body movements released his internal world better than any conversation, and wrestling was a game that amused him very much. As a result of the treatment he learned to read fluently and was accepted into a normal educational framework.
A forty-year-old man came to me with a problem of letter combination. He identified letters by name and could tell me their sounds, but was unable to combine them into syllables. After assessing his difficulty, I looked for points of strength in his senses using an attentive conversation. Like most dyslexics and people with learning disabilities, he had a problem focusing his vision. I worked with him using various exercises of coordination and eye contact, and after a short while he was reading fluently.
Each person is an individual. In the same way that wrestling or playing the piano worked in the cases described, other exercises can be created to achieve the same results. I have presented these cases to emphasize the diversity and tremendous creativity in Systematic Improvisation.