Dear Dr. Witkowski,
I believe that taking time to truly reflect on the skills you taught me, and how I applied them at school and in my daily life, has granted me a great deal of clarity in what I ought to write about in this testimonial.
What I can say about the skills you taught me is that they helped me bring much needed balance and clarity to my life. Prior to my acquaintance with you and Phyllis, I was a very depressed and troubled individual. I believe that my depression was a product of my past failures in school and my personal life. Having been born with ADD and Asperger syndrome, I have always struggled greatly with learning at school, and interacting socially with others. After high school I more or less gave up, as I believed I was not intelligent enough to succeed in life, which led me to become very depressed.
However, the work I did with you helped bring balance and clarity into my life by showing me that I am both capable and intelligent enough to achieve success in life. Through the work we did, I learned how to properly learn, which is what I lacked during high school. Prior to our work I never really bothered to think about how to educate myself which is no doubt why I failed. However, after having worked with you, I now see both the value in proper learning and education.
Yet not only did this work help me in school, but it also helped me better develop my future. Prior to our work I wanted to be a soldier as I didn't believe I was intelligent enough for college. Additionally, I was depressed, and saw combat and violence as a way to vent my aggression. I was also depressed to the point where death no longer seemed a burden, and I was not afraid of dying in combat as it meant being free from depression. I never even thought of what I would do after the military, but I imagined that life would only go downhill from there.
But after our work, I realized that I am capable of exceling in an academic setting, and I have decided to choose a career path in the medical field. Not only would this allow me to use my knowledge for the sake of helping others, but it would grant me a much better and more stable future. I hope someday to have a family of my own, which is something I never wanted prior.
It might seem almost strange that such seemingly simple work could help me turn my entire life around. But when I really think about it, such work is not as simple as it seems, and such an impact is not surprising in the least.
We humans evolved around our brains. While birds use their wings to fly, dogs use their noses to smell, and fish use their fins to swim, we use our brains to think. The brain is a vital part of our existence, as we use our brains to adapt an survive by building tools, and learning new concepts about the universe we live in. Our brain is our greatest tool, and thus it has become clear to me that without learning how to use our brains, how can we expect to adapt and survive? What I realized from the work we did, is that the brain is a tool. It is a very complex tool capable of such extraordinary things, yet like every tool you must know how to use it. In addition, the brain is like a muscle in the sense that it can only get stronger if you exercise it through learning new things.
Last semester I took 5 classes, and received an A in each one. I joined an international honors society, and I will soon be volunteering at UCSD Health. Such achievements are a testament to the work we did, and having taught me these skills which I have used to succeed, I believe such achievements belong to you as well.
I want to truly thank you for all you have done for me. Prior to meeting you I was wasting away at home, angry and depressed. And now I am on my way to hopefully becoming a medical doctor, the early steps no doubt, but without your help I wouldn't be moving forward at all. Your work didn't simply teach me how to learn, it taught me how to live, and it changed my life for the better. Working with you is one of the best experiences of my life, and I can not ever thank you enough.
January 23, 2018
Our daughter, Kate, began working with Beba at Cognition Ignition almost one year ago. She was in 4th grade and had been struggling in school for quite some time. Her struggles were primarily in the area of reading, however, by 4th grade, the reading struggles were causing difficulty with school in general. The struggles at school were beginning to negatively impact her self-esteem, while increasing her anxiety. Homework was time consuming and frustrating for the entire household. She was also getting stomachaches and headaches and worried about going school, sometimes leading to tears at bedtime.
As a special education teacher, I tried everything from traditional interventions to nontraditional therapies. In 1st and 2nd grades, we had her going to tutoring. In 3rd grade, she was diagnosed with visual convergence insufficiency, so we added Vision Therapy to the regimen. Just before 4th grade, she did a music therapy program. All the while, she was getting reading intervention services at school and I was meeting with teachers often, but her reading was not improving. Sometime during all of this, a fellow parent from Kate's school told me about Cognition Ignition. I kept looking at the website and reading the testimonials. I didn't call right away because I wasn't familiar with Instrumental Enrichment and, quite honestly, I was hesitant to drag Kate to yet another "specialist". I did my own research on Instrumental Enrichment (the materials that Beba uses at Cognition Ignition) and finally decided to call him.
Kate started the next week and I went to every session watching, listening and asking questions. I was so optimistic, yet skeptical at the same time. We started by doing 2 sessions per week for about a month. Then during spring break, Kate went more intensively where she did 4 sessions per week for 2 weeks. Then we moved to weekly sessions for the remainder of 4th grade. Between February and June, Kate did approximately 30 sessions with Beba. About halfway through those sessions, homework was noticeably easier. She was more independent, her spelling and reading were improving, she was much more talkative and all around happier. At the end of 4th grade, her teacher was amazed at the growth in her reading – her end of the year reading assessment had improved 3 grade levels from the beginning of the year. All of her grades on her report card improved by one letter grade – from Bs and Cs in January to As and Bs in June. We kept her going weekly through the summer and for the first couple of months of 5th grade. Kate completed a total of 44 sessions with Beba and has had a successful start to her 5th grade year. She is independently reading the fourth book in a six novel series that is at grade level. She has not complained or worried about school once this year!
I was so excited about the changes we were seeing in Kate that I started inquiring about getting the training myself to become a practitioner. Beba started doing weekly sessions with me. After about 5 sessions, I noticed that I had more energy. After another 5 sessions, I realized that I was also feeling so much happier and calmer. I was feeling more productive, as everything I did came with so much more ease. The best way I can explain it is that my 42-year-old self was feeling like I was 25 again! I completed 18 sessions with Beba and I am still feeling great 5 months later.
Our family is more grateful than we can express for the expertise, kindness, wisdom and care that we've received from Beba. He is a generous man who has amazing gifts to share with those who are looking to build, strengthen or tune-up their own cognitive abilities or those of a loved one.
Shelby Policastri and family
December 9, 2014
When my daughter began school there were a few indications that she may not be reaching her full potential. The teacher expressed some concern, but then later was less concerned when Sofia made some progress.
The following year in first grade, once again, there were a few "red flags." One example her teacher shared with me that sticks out in my mind was that she had spent several minutes with Sofia helping her understand a math problem. They did it together and then she left Sofia to do the next problem and checked on her in 10 minutes. She said when she came back to check Sofia's work, she hadn't done any of it. I knew my daughter was smart and that she was fully capable of doing well in school, but I didn't know how to help her in the way that she needed. I was also seeing that the teacher couldn't put her "finger" on it either. She recognized there might be an issue, but didn't know how to help her.
Next, in second grade, it became clear that if I didn't figure out how to help Sofia her teachers were going to categorize her as unable to do the work that other kids were doing. In essence, have low expectations of her. This is where our journey began to try and get some answers. She struggled with reading and completing tasks, especially multi-step problems and tasks. She was getting help from the reading specialist at school as well as tutoring after school for reading and math. As a teacher myself, I knew we weren't getting to the core of the issue. The tutoring was like putting a "band-aide" on the problem, but it wasn't fixing it. Sofia was evaluated at school and that's when the school psychologist suggested trying medication for "attention." I was completely frustrated. I would not even consider medication when we hadn't even tried any other ways besides tutoring to help her! That's when another teacher told me about Dr. Witkowski at Cognition Ignition.
From Sofia's first appointment with Beba she loved it. We cancelled her tutors and focused on getting her "mind in gear" and that's exactly what happened. Sofia began working with Beba in third grade about once a week. By the time she got to fourth grade, she was making huge strides. She was completing tasks, her hand writing and spelling greatly improved as well as her reading and math. In fact her teacher commented that she had never seen a student improve so much in one school year. We were seeing huge improvements.
In second and third grade Sofia's scored below basic and basic on the STAR test. By the time she took the Star tests in fourth and fifth grade, she scored ADVANCED! This was a huge triumph for Sofia who had struggled so much! Sofia continued to work with Beba for part of fifth grade, but as the workload in school became greater and our schedule became busier, she stopped working with Beba. Beba always said that you don't regress with his work and I can attest to that. I recall that between vacation and illness, Sofia missed about two months of appointments. I thought for sure she wouldn't do very well at that first visit following a break, but it was the exact opposite! She did amazing and had one of the best appointments ever!
By the time Sofia reached sixth grade, she was doing very well in school and even earned the gold President's Award for Educational Excellence in language arts and math!
Now Sofia is in seventh grade and is doing very well. She loves school and learning. She amazes me with the things she remembers and talks about especially in science and English. That is one thing I must mention…When Sofia began working with Beba, her memory improved greatly. Instead of forgetting things all the time like homework or something she needed at school, she began to remember what she needed to do and retain the information she was learning at school.
I cannot say enough about the work Beba does. I have a completely different child. She has become an independent learner. She's organized and "plugged in." She knows what her assignments are and when they're due. I'm so glad that we found Beba and that we started the work early on. For us, it was a commitment of time and an investment in Sofia's future. I say this to encourage parents to stick with it and they will most certainly see positive results. I still remember what a difficult transition Jr. High was for me so many years ago. My grades dropped and I didn't like school. Sofia hasn't had that experience at all! She has all As and one B, but most importantly she's learning and enjoying school.
I'm happy to speak with any parent who has any questions about the work my daughter did at Cognition Ignition.
*Update - 2016*
We had the distinct honor of meeting "Mr. David", as we call him, in the summer of our son, Connor's upcoming first grade year. He is now in third grade. We have a lively, adorable, bright child with a heart of gold and endless energy. We noticed around the age of two that he was both very hyper and his thoughts were disjointed at times, among some other "quirky traits" we had some concern about.
We started the path of many tests, evaluations and exercises through the Children's hospitals and other outlets. They diagnosed him as a mild version of Asperger's and some audio/visual processing challenges as well. In some of his evaluations through the years, it was stated that his ability to comprehend ideas or any real abstract thoughts discussed by another person was difficult for him to understand, and some test scores had him at 0% ability or 10%. That, of course, doesn't mean he can't learn these things, but it is more than heartbreaking as a mother to think your child would suffer in the future if he can't learn these skills and will really have a hard time understanding instructions from teachers and adults, let alone other children. We went to years of occupational therapies and everything under the sun.
I was completely against medicating him at that point, as I was willing to try anything before that and although I think it's helpful for some cases, I did not believe that it would be helpful to Connor. So, I started researching alternative approaches and came across Cognition Ignition. From the very first meeting, Mr. David was positive, funny, extremely kind and worked incredibly well with Connor, both in his undying patience and kindness, but also to get him to do these exercises that would have been a nightmare pulling teeth attempt if it had been me trying the same thing.
He said from day one that, "I would never promise you something that I could not deliver". I believed him and I was right. The results from our weekly and sometimes bi-monthly meeting with him have transformed our son into a calm, patient student that has total ability to comprehend ideas from others and take direction from his teacher and others with an ease that is truly remarkable. His evaluations at school have those same previously low percentages as 60-80 % now, and climbing!!
He is THRIVING and we owe a gigantic part of that to Mr. David. I have no idea where we would be if we didn't find this incredible program that takes the whole process and makes it so positive, so interesting and so caring!! Connor is not only thriving, but school this year is really amazing and going better than any other year by a long shot. He is happy, has tons of friends and has a mind that is growing, expanding and continues to do so every day, without a drop of medication. It is not a quick process, but we have been shown both it's unbelievable value and lasting effects it's had our wonderful son.
I truly believe from the bottom of my heart that our son's life is forever changed because of the wonderful works of Cognition Ignition and I will be eternally grateful beyond words to have Mr. David give us the best gift we could ever, ever get - Our son, Happy, Healthy and having a Great Life!! And, it continues to get better and better!! No words can ever express our gratitude for that.
San Diego, CA
By: Kevin Patrick 22yrs old 8/13/15
After this Friday, I will have finished my third week of working with Dr. David Witkowski, or as I now affectionately know him as "Beba" which is his nickname. We have been working together for two sessions a day, Monday through Friday, for those three weeks. Right after the first day of working with him, I noticed a sense of calmness amongst myself. I was better able to hear people when they were talking to me instead of reacting to what they were saying before they had even finished their thought.
This allowed for much less interpersonal conflict. It didn't just disappear and certain things were still able to trigger me, but I was much better at containing myself over the little things. After the first week, I noticed an even greater change. I was now not only able to listen and hear people without reacting, but I had started becoming aware of the emotions that were triggered by certain situations before I acted on them, allowing me to deal with and process them and then handle the situation more appropriately. As the work went on, I noticed even greater progress.
In the second week, I began to start slowing down my thought process in almost all aspects of my life. I was more thought out with all of my actions and made many fewer mistakes, which in turn caused me to be much more time efficient. As I write this, I have one day, two sessions, of work left to do with Beba and it is incredible at how much my daily processes have changed. Before our work I had a very high tendency towards impulsivity and always rushed through things often making mistakes.
With the work that I have been doing with Beba, it has totally reprogramed my brain to take time and process the information I am dealing with correctly making me much more calculated, efficient and successful. I feel so much more confident in myself after this work and know it is an investment in myself that will continue to pay off for the rest of my life. I could not recommend this work any more highly to anyone, and I hope that everyone has an opportunity to benefit from this work.
Dear David –
After seeing the changes in my son, I have to write to convey my deepest appreciation. I cannot thank Mr. David enough for his help with my 8 yr. old son, Jake. My son has a serious deficiency in audio processing and was struggling severely in school. His deficiency prevents him from understanding instructions given verbally and processing more than short sound bites. Anything beyond that exceeds his ability to concentrate on the entire message. As a result, the message is lost on him. As you can imagine, this can cause real problems in the classroom setting.
Compounding that was the difficulty we had with homework. Trying to get Jake to sit for more than 5-10 minutes straight, concentrating and focusing on the homework problems was impossible. Homework was a nightly ordeal – 5-10 minutes of homework, 10-15 minute break – then repeat. Over and over. It could take over 2 ½ hours to complete a few pages of homework. And he wasn't retaining what he learned. And the entire session would be punctuated with complaining the whole time.
Jake was aware of his struggles, telling me time and again he wasn't smart and couldn't do it. Or homework was terrible and couldn't he just play? He was aware of his poor performance even at age 6 and it greatly undermined his self-esteem. It was heartbreaking to see such an intelligent mind hurting like that. Fortunately for Jake, my wife came across Mr. David's Cognition Ignition program and we started my boy right away.
Mr. David's philosophy of harnessing the child's brain is exactly what Jake needed. He doesn't need a pill. He needs to rein that powerful brain in. Mr. David is incredibly passionate about what he does and this passion transfers to his students. Jake loves going to see him and his attitude is always positive. When he started with Mr. David, his ability to sit still and focus was 10 minutes maximum. Now, Jake can stay focused for nearly the entire session. The transformation is nothing short of miraculous.
His experience with Mr. David has transferred to both classroom and homework. Jake is starting to get it. He now sits with a tutor for an hour straight (occasional complaints but a fraction of what we heard before). Then I will sit with him for math homework. He can do six pages of homework at a sitting. I have even had to call the break when I lose track of time and suddenly realize we've been poring over math for over an hour straight. Jake just turned 8. He does math FOR AN HOUR! And he starts the page saying "Oh, I can do that. This is easy peasy!"
His ability to sit and concentrate means we can now work through new concepts, thinking about them and working through them to achieve the solution – you know…learning. He now has the discipline to meet the challenge instead of just giving up because he can't sit still long enough to let the new information sink in.
His demeanor has changed as well – now I see pride in his eyes, confidence in his approach to new things – Jake is starting to believe in himself and his ability. What he and I have learned is that his brain is like a young thoroughbred – it wants to race ahead as fast as it can. But he is learning to rein it in and slow down. Taking a slow breath before starting a math problem was even an idea he came up with on his own. Last week, he even asked me to leave the room because he wanted to do a 10 problem math quiz on his own. And when I came back and checked his work (100% correct) the pride showing on his face for impressing his Daddy is something I will never forget.
Jake is not all the way there yet. To be sure, a transformation like this doesn't happen in a matter of weeks. It is a process. But as far as I'm concerned, we will continue going to Mr. David until Jake has it mastered and there is no doubt in my mind that day is coming. I have seen the transformation with my own eyes. And it is a beautiful thing.
Thank you from a truly grateful father,
San Diego, CA