Thursday, April 6, 2017


Spring Break

As a child I don't remember thinking much about time, It just seemed to go by effortlessly.

Even during spring break. Do you remember spring break? When we were kids I remember it being called Easter vacation.  It meant a time to play outside and to get a jump on spring-time play, and it was immediately around Easter Sunday!
Imagine this bike in blue and white 

Kite flying and bike riding were the big hits in my neighborhood. I have fond memories of standing in the front yard watching my kite soar over my head, the wind tugging on the string. Time seemed to stand still.
Oddly enough, one year stands out above the rest for me -- that's the Easter vacation when it was cold, cloudy-gray and rainy outside. It was the spring break when I was forced to play inside for a whole week.

It was the Easter vacation when I cut an 'L' shaped slit right through the fabric of my black and white corduroy pants! Guess I was playing with scissors!

(Playing inside for a W H O L E week was tough for me. Here's an example from elementary school --- I had been riding my Monark bicycle around the block, no-handed, feeling great one sunny day! The next thing I remember was going inside, leaning back across the orange couch and asking for a drink of water.
What did mom do?  She immediately called Dr. Tratt's office, then rushed me to his clinic where they diagnosed me with Scarlet Fever! So now you understand, being inside was not all that typical for me as a kid.  After all my mother called the doctor based on the fact that I came inside to play!)


Footprints in the sand

This year we escaped the rainy weather in the mid-west and made a last minute trek to the beach. There we had pure white, pristine beaches with just right temperatures!  Perfect; plus I had no need for corduroy pants! No Monark bike for riding this spring break, but, that left time for walking. We walked for miles and miles, barefooted on the beach. BAREFOOTED!


One morning it occurred to me that my footsteps reminded me of dyslexia. Here's my explanation: number of steps you might take on the beach are about 1-3 per second (I know, depends on your speed of walking- and where your energy dial is set at!*)

I've categorized three kinds of sand experiences here:

1) just washed over
2) recently washed over
3) awhile ago washed over

I know, you're most likely thinking I'm a bit crazy to be thinking about these categories, but here's my thought -- close to the ocean your steps disappear in a blink of the eye. I know. I took several pictures trying to catch my footprints only to find out I couldn't turn around fast enough to see them!

This meant I had to walk in the recently washed over areas of the beach to have a shot at taking a picture of my own footprints!

And here's my point: in the time it took me to take a step or two, in a second or so, my footprints were washed away. Clean, smooth, a fresh start, sand just waiting for a new impression.

Brain Science

According to science the brain of a dyslexic can process an average of thirty-two (32) images per second. That means in one second of time the brain has formed around thirty-two images. That's 32 pictures, images which carry meaning, color, energy, expression, emotion, impressions, shape, size, scents, feelings, movement, and I could go on and on with this description!

And what's happening in the brain of a non-dyslexic? Well, in their brain they are probably processing three, four or maybe five words. Yes, there is a big difference!

In the Blink of an Eye

In one second of time the sea, though, is unforgiving. The tide does not stop for mankind, nor does time. It goes on.

Which means that in the blink of an eye a new second arrives, and with that minuet segment of time our world is all new. New images, with a list of unspoiled possibilities!

So, did you ever wonder why you're distracted, creative, emotional, have crazy may be one of those thirty-two images and all that stuff one second of time can carry along with it!

An Energy Dial showing low to high energy

Cathy Henkle Cook, M. Ed.

OnPoint Learning Center, LLC
Columbia, Missouri
(573) 819-6010

Empower Your Life with the GIFT of Dyslexia! 

Thursday, March 23, 2017

All in the Family

It's in the books. In the books on the family!

To the dismay of my family I am a genealogy-nut! It's history, it's old, it's family and I am obsessed! Given the chance, I'd research for days on end, studying centuries old census files, and snippets from old newspapers; I'd pour over notes from family bibles, wills, last testaments, and more!

However, time to indulge in this genealogy obsession is in short supply; therefore, the activity becomes even more alluring!

Maybe it's odd, but studying the past seems empowering to me. The enormous sacrifices my ancestors made are incredible (so, I'm a little biased!) but their decision to leave the homeland to come to America is inspiring.

After centuries of hardships, famine, fires and a fierce dedication to God my Henckel ancestors left Germany for America. The final leg of their trek occurred in 1717, marking 2017 as the 300th year of the family's immigration to North America.

Before sailing to the new world these ancestors purchased land from William Penn (it's now called Pennsylvania!) and by the 1760's they had settled Germany Valley, Virginia (now it's West Virginia). The land was along the Seneca Trail and overtime not everyone passing through the area was friendly. Construction of a fort to protect family, friendly Indians and other locals was undertaken by my six times great Grandfather, John Justus Henckel. He also became the fort's commander. This fort was then utilized during the Revolutionary War.

Here's more info on the muster rolls for Henckel's Fort and facts on Germany Valley

Henckel's Fort
Life in a fort during the 1770's was not all military action and war tactics! After all inside were many family members living their lives. This meant younger children still needed their reading lessons and spelling practice.

Not naming any special names here, but, there just might be a few other 'Henkles' with dyslexia. I can't imagine that I'm the only one! 

Did you know that dyslexia is an inherited learning difference? So, this might be a giant leap but I'm guessing there were dyslexic tendencies in some of those Henckel youngsters back in the 18th century!

Here's a link to research studies on the Genetics background of dyslexia. 

Yes, there is a hereditary component to dyslexia.* I'm guessing some of my ancestors also had creative ways to learn to read and spell. [NOTE: through census reports I know the adults marked they could read and write English]

This also means that in your family, if a parent, grandparent, aunt or uncle has dyslexia or dyslexic traits there is a good chance that you or one of your children may have also inherited this genetic trait.

I imagine back in 1775 children were learning to read, write and spell using common documents of the day like the family bible and the occasional children's book they might have had.
Even though this book, Hawthorne's Scarlet Letter was published in 1850 (that's only 70 years later) this was a book one of my great aunts was given by her teacher.

Yes, I'm taking a giant leap here to correlate the 1800's to that of the 1700's but, it is interesting! I do think this highlights the types of materials youngster may have read; after all it wasn't until I was in high school that the Scarlet Letter was accepted reading material in my day!

From the Scarlet Letter to the Henckel's Fort I've covered a bit of ground today. Thank you for indulging me in one of my favorite topics!

*According to the study I have linked above as GENETICS a child who has a parent with dyslexia has a 40-60% chance of also developing dyslexia. There are more interesting numbers and facts in the same article!

Cathy Henkle Cook, M.Ed.
OnPoint Learning Center, LLC
Columbia, Missouri
(573) 819-6010

Empower Your Life with the GIFT of Dyslexia! 

Monday, March 20, 2017

It's just my imagination

There are a lot of traits associated with dyslexia. Of course reading difficulties is a well known one, but let's talk about a more positive dyslexic trait -- imagination! It's a novel idea to play up someone's strengths rather than their weaknesses, so let's have a little fun!

Did you ever hear of someone who had an imaginary friend when they were young? Did you have one? Maybe you made up words? Or, maybe you thought a word was pronounced (or spelled!) one way and it actually wasn't --like sketti for spaghetti?

Imagination is a wonderful thing and young children possess an infinite quantity of this magical brain ability. Let's test your imagination abilities right now.

Meet Create-a-Word

Here's Rominelt. I'm sure you've heard of this word meaning an indestructible suit of armor.  A Rominelt is exactly what every ancient castle owner depends on! See in the picture [to the right] how the sword cannot penetrate the armor and it has broken into pieces?

Okay, maybe this word is foreign to you, which is understandable as it comes from an ancient culture and all, so how about a Rebeclemo?

Yes, a rebeclemo.  Now this is a modern term, invented in the last decade or so! Never heard of it? So what is a rebeclemo?

Okay, truthfully, first let me explain a bit. I work with gifted clients and as we transition from the beginning of the correction program, into the second half, an introduction is necessary.

For my introduction the other day to this second phase of a Davis Dyslexia correction program I thought back in time, and without missing a beat I had the perfect story. This story was about a younger client who was also quite gifted.

"Rebeclemo came into being that day while I was working with this now young lady (she was an elementary school student back then.) We began the Create-a-word process and this young lady quickly realized she needed a name for her invention. Although there was no 'invention' so far, she felt this was a necessary first step. Out of my office she went, roaming through the hallways of the office building, reading the signs on each office door. From several doors she wrote down one letter. Those letters? 

r - e - b - e - c - l - e - m - o


"Once the name REBECLEMO was established creating the model of what it 'looks like, sounds like and means' was easy. In no time my young friend had a high-top shoe with magical flying abilties formed, sitting right there on my desk!"


Alright, I'm not attempting to invent a new language or to add words to our existing dictionaries, but I am trying to make a point. Imagination is one of the best indicators or strengths we as dyslexics posses. In fact, here's a list of  the ten most common signs of dyslexia. This is a link from Australia. Imagination is number ten on this list.


The imagination of my clients is remarkable. The model of this young girl's Create-a-Word was so strong, even after almost ten years it's still in my mind! REBECLEMO!
Look over the image of ROMINELT above and see how long you can remember this new word!

Cathy Henkle Cook, M. Ed.
OnPoint Learning Center, LLC
Columbia, Missouri
(573) 819-6010

Empower your life with the GIFT of Dyslexia!  

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Are we listening?

A few years ago I wrote about one of my first teaching experiences, which was waaaay back when I was a young mom. One fall our church's Sunday school director became insistent that I was the person who could fill the vacant position as the first grade teacher.
ME? I thought she was crazy!

To say I felt inadequate to fulfill that role is an understatement!  Eventually, I did agree to be the 'helper' for this class while three others agreed to rotate month-by-month to be 'the teacher'. Once we began the year I was grateful for my behind the scenes position, simply to support the teacher and help as needed.

I really don't remember how things began to change. Somewhere along the line I suddenly found that I was interested in the needs of the children. Their reading abilities were impressive for first grader's. Well for everyone except for one of child.

This child was a beautiful and sweet young girl who was quieter than the rest (possibly she grew quieter as her time to 'read' can along.) You see most weeks the teacher would ask the kids to take turns reading the lesson aloud. I can still get a picture of this one girl who would push back a bit from the long rectangular table as if she were separating herself from the group. I remember her chair being a little sideways from the, thinking back it seems so obvious now, but then I didn't know. She was just a normal little girl.

Normal. Yet today, I still hear adults who should know better, make statements about kids who look normal, and therefore should not have any issues.

Years have gone by and I've changed from being the classroom helper and the parent volunteer to often being the person in charge. Funny how things change!

Now, you probably will NOT find me sitting quietly in the back of the room observing!

Now I recognize that the child went to great lengths to avoid reading aloud, or to avoid reading at all.

Adults in this day and age have created a slew of methods to deal with dyslexia.  It really has become down right confusing. Funny -- confusion -- that is exactly what we're trying to avoid in the first place! not cause an increase! In my last post I introduced the basic tools used in a Davis Dyslexia correction programming --release, energy dial and focus.

Recently I worked with a young client who needed help maintaining focus. In fact in the past he had taken medication to deal with ADHD, and had needed help in class to stay on task and complete his work.
But when my job is to help someone who is struggling with dyslexia it also is important to instill in them the ability to use the tools of release, energy dial and focus independently.

So I've gone from observing back in my early days of helping with a first grade Sunday school class to giving clients in 2017 brain tools, tools they need for reading aloud if they choose to read aloud.

And what did I hear the other day from one of my clients?

"I got focused at my piano lesson and I did better than I usually do!"

After only a few hours of a Davis program, with absolutely no prompting from a parent or other adult my client was successful at applying tools to stay focused! No one reminded him to stay focused, no one told him what to do; he didn't take any medications to increase his focus, yet he applied what he had learned a few hours before, to playing the piano and he felt great about the end result!

Cathy Henkle Cook, M. Ed.
OnPoint Learning Center, LLC
Columbia, Missouri
(573) 819-6010

Empower your life with the GIFT of Dyslexia!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Why my business is called OnPoint Learning

Ann Swan and Cathy
According to Wikipedia: Swans are birds of the family Anatidae within the genus Cygnus

A little south of the University of Missouri, on the south side of Columbia, there are a few small lakes. At one time one swan lived on one lake, and the other swan lived closely by on the other. One day they seemed to discover one another because I heard they were together.  I hadn't seen either swan for sometime, until today.  

Today there they were, drifting along on the water, next to each other in the 60-something degrees of sunshine. Seeing the two swans felt like a heart-warming sign of spring. And, I was reminded of something. While it wasn't a bird of the genus Cygnus that I remembered, it was a Swan, an Ann Swan!  I first met this Swan named Ann during the second week of my Davis training. It was the first of several training weeks we would have together in Plano, Texas. 


The first day of the training began as I navigated my way into the building, up the elevator to the second floor, into the south-west lobby and then waited until the receptionist buzzed me into the private office area. I searched for the right conference room, finding a small room in this upscale office building. I opened the door and walked in where a few other trainees were already seated. Everyone in this training would be a new person to me as my very first week of training had been in San Francisco, California at the Davis Dyslexia International Association headquarters.  I really can't remember why I ended up transferring to Texas to continue my training, but I had. Truthfully, I had hoped to continue my Davis training in San Fran, where I could walk -morning, -noon and -night along the beautiful San Francisco Bay and hop on the Bart to travel into the city during the evenings and weekends. 

That was not meant to be, and here I was in the northern Dallas suburb of Plano, ready to continue learning. First, though, to meet the group. 

Like a Bird

I walked through the doorway and, well, from that moment on I felt at ease. One chair was between the tall slender lady with a short haircut, the edge of the table, and me.  She promptly stood up from her chair and welcomed me. 

"Hi, I'm Ann Swan, swan like the bird!" As her words presented her name, her hand motions gave me an analogy that I'll never forget. First she did a little flying bird-wing motion and then a heart like effect, like swans make when they put their heads together. 

That's how I remember it, but truly, I was not expecting such a greeting, warm and friendly. Absolutely my most treasured memory is of how she made me feel. Welcomed.  

Over the course of these first training weeks Ann and I became close friends. She was remarkably in-tune to the steps and procedures of the Davis Dyslexia methods and was a great resource in talking through and practicing these new ideas. Sometimes she'd walk over to my hotel, just across from where she stayed on the Parkway.  My 'room' included a convenience kitchen where we could cook a meal. 

Those two weeks of training quickly came to an end and we all went back to our homes, jobs, families and the beginning of the work on our first field study for our Davis licensing. By September it was time for us to go back to Plano for double weeks of learning.

Throughout this phase of our training Ann showed remarkable insight into the program.  Many thought she was a perfect candidate for a specialist role with the Davis Dyslexia international association. Her role as a professor teaching at the university level had clearly prepared her for the next steps in the Davis organization, yet she always managed to complement me on my intuitiveness with the program. One of the final days of that two-week workshop four or five of us decided to go to Macaroni Grill for a meal together. The reason it's important to mention it was a Macaroni Grill is because those restaurants (not sure any of them are even still open) but, their tables were covered with white butcher-paper, and crayons were provided for you to draw and write, to create! 

Each of us were excited, anticipating the possibilities of the differences we could make in our communities and in our own lives after we passed the requirements for our licensing. As I remember it was Ann who picked up a crayon and started jotting words down on the paper. Names began lining up across the table. The rest of us sat for a moment taking it all in when we realized what she was doing. 

Getting OnPoint

On the table in front of me I jotted some business names down, drawing a little picture to go with each of them. Someone said my business name sounded more like a church! I don't even remember what it was! But Ann, after making a few modifications to her ideas, penned the name On Point Learning to the center of the paper tablecloth. 

Three Months Later

Sadly, one important detail has been left out of this story.  During this year of training Ann had become ill and was diagnosed with cancer. Our time together in Plano would include me helping with her port, handling her medications, or other necessary tasks. September's training would be our last together. 

In November I was driving through Oklahoma, heading south to Texas, anticipating our two weeks of training workshops when I got the call. It was bad news. Her cancer was worse. Ann tried convincing me she might be able to rest one week at home in Florida, and with God's grace, she would have enough strength to head back to Texas for the second week

It was not to be. 

Her Name Continues
I'm not clear when the idea came about. I sent a note off to Ann with a proposal, asking permission to use the On Point name she had chosen, On Point Learning.  It would be in her honor. 

She agreed. In fact she had had the same idea. Thinking back it all seems so logical, even simple, but in Ann's final days these were important steps so our thinking was full of emotion. 

Those two birds on the lake today reminded me of a bird, rather a swan, a Swan named Ann. 

'On Point' = 
 a point above and behind the head;
 when the mind's eye is mentally placed 
on that point our senses work in harmony. 

Cathy Henkle Cook, M. Ed.
OnPoint Learning Center, LLC
Columbia, Missouri
(573) 819-6010

Empower your life with the GIFT of Dyslexia! 

Monday, March 6, 2017


"I have observed dyslexic adults can teach and understand special needs children in a better manner."

This is a comment I received last year. I'd never thought too much about it before but, thinking it through now it does make sense! People often tell me that I have an advantage in working with dyslexic individuals because of my dyslexia. 

The writer of the comment also went on to say that dyslexic students require more time to learn. Let's talk about that! 

Yes, in one way you can say we would need more time. Let me explain, though: We might need more time when:
 *we have a new or confusing subject to learn
 *If something is taught without examples or models
 *or, we're trying to learn something when not using our strongest learning sense. 


Wait, these are the EXACT moments when our Davis tools can be activated, or inserted into the situation and we can complete the work at hand! 

Here's what I've heard this week --

My student: "What time is it?" 
Me: "It's 11:30"
Student: "Wow! It feels like I've been here 30 minutes! and it's been hours!" 

I'm not extraordinarily entertaining, but when I can give students the proper tools for the situation these brain tools can make a huge difference! With the right methods we can learn and be productive while using our gifts and talents!

Recently I spoke to a friend about her grandchild. One point she made was about focusing, specifically that focusing is hard for someone who's learning style is that of a picture thinker. 

I agree. 


What do our classroom teachers expect all students to be able to do ... to independently pay attention, to focus when told to get ready, to be prepared when the teacher begins talking and to be a good listener. 

All teachers want their students to accurately hear when they announce to the class, "Get ready" or say "Time to focus" or "Get out your books and be ready to read".  Sometimes, in these classroom and other situations the dyslexic learner or 'picture thinker' --as my friend put it--  is deeply lost in their creative brain! 

A dyslexic can have their creative talent brain-mode turned on and be ready to actively work at any time, like in a classroom or the office, at the shop, gym, business, or restaurant by using the Davis tools of Release, Energy Dial and Focusing. These are effective game-changers! 

Cathy Henkle Cook, M. Ed.
OnPoint Learning, LLC
Columbia, Missouri
(573) 819-6010

Empower Your Life with the GIFT of Dyslexia! 

Monday, February 27, 2017



Conditioning. Reshaping. Strengthening. Is this about a workout of some kind? No, this is about brain training!

Recently a five-year-old German Shepard dog, named Rumor, won the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York City. Rumor is quite the intelligent dog, not unlike my Shetland Sheepdog, 'McDuff of Meisinger' who was our family pet while I was growing up. Until I caught the finale of the Westminster dog show I'd almost forgotten about the dog obedience classes Duff and I went through the fall after we brought our Sheltie home as a young pup.

Duffy graduated every single semester I took him through classes and  I loved going with him to the parks and rec classes. Dad always said Duff did a pretty good job during obedience school...a good job of training me!

That champion dog Rumor has a trainer who possesses the skills necessary for producing an award winning dog! Dogs need guidance in becoming well trained.

My dog was certainly intelligent enough to follow training expectations and to excel at training, but according to my dad, Duff just managed to finagle me and to get past my directions!

Let me give you an example.  When guests were over for dinner at our house, their dinner plate never failed to be the subject of Duff's intense review! If you looked to the left for more than a second he would spring up from the right to snatch your hamburger or chicken leg slickly off your plate!

Our next door neighbor's Italian grandmother was one of Duff's favorite targets. Grandma P. would start her daily walk down the neighbor's long, straight drive to the mailbox at the end of our shared lane, slowly moving, one foot after another; but THE second her thick-soled shoes touched the graveled area where our driveways connected, she became a part of Duff's game. With that step he would charge down our lane barking at her. Sorry Grandma P. :(

The point of this story? Intelligence, ability and determination are great, but having the right tools to implement these into your life, they are essential.

Look at Duff in this picture with my parents, sitting attentively there in our yard (I'd guess it was Easter Sunday which meant the moment we drove away for church he'd be on his way to raid our Easter baskets of their chocolates!)

I'll admit that my age probably didn't help get me the results I would have liked to have had with my dog. After all I was pretty young and had no prior experience with dog training. At least I'll claim that as part of my excuse for Duff's antics. But, if I'd been able to apply training techniques to all of Duff's behaviors I might have had a dog who didn't chase our elderly neighbors or eat our house guests sandwiches!

Likewise, with the Davis dyslexia correction program we can teach children and adults to use our tools of Focusing, Release and Energy Dial in an effective manor; plus, we can model these techniques for we help that person become independent!

Cathy Henkle Cook, M. Ed.
OnPoint Learning Center, LLC
Columbia, Missouri
(573) 819-6010

Empower your life with the GIFT of Dyslexia!