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A part of the answer is that, from childhood onward, we have learned to see things in terms of words: we name things, and we know facts about them. The dominant left verbal hemisphere doesn't want too much information about things it perceives -- just enough to recognize and to categorize. The left brain, in this sense, learns to take a quick look and says, "Right, that's a chair ...." Because the brain is overloaded most of the time with incoming information, it seems that one of its functions is to screen out a large proportion of incoming perceptions. This is a necessary process to enable us to focus our thinking and one that works very well for us most of the time. But drawing requires that you look at something for a long time, perceiving lots of details, registering as much information as possible -- ideally, everything....
Symptoms of Dyslexia
Dyslexic people are visual, multi-dimensional thinkers. We are intuitive and highly creative, and excel at hands-on learning. It is sometimes hard for us to understand letters, numbers, symbols, and written words because we think in pictures but learning to adapt this hidden talent can lead to success, particularly in creative and inventive fields.
· Fluctuating memory problems with letters, words or numbers -- including sequences such as the alphabet.
· Skipping over or scrambling letters, words and sentences.
· Reading is a slow, tiring process often accompanied with head tilting or finger pointing.
· Reversal of similar letters (such as "b" and "d"), words (such as "saw" and "was") and numbers (such as "6" and "9").
· Letters and words blur, move, double, scramble or are omitted or added.
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· Dyslexics are prone to concentration problems, are easily distracted, light sensitivity, tunnel vision and delays between visual and phonetic processing.
· Handwriting is often messy, slanted or drifting -- and varies in size of lettering and spacing.
· Many dyslexics can write backwards with ease, often without understanding that this is not normal
· Speech disorders can include slurring, stuttering, pronunciation problems and delays between auditory-input and response.
· Uncertainty with right/left hand recognition and directions.
· Difficulty with basic skills such as telling time or tying shoelaces.
· Problems with balance and coordination which usually leads to avoidance of many sports and motion-related activities.
Phobias & Moods:
· Frequent fears of the dark, getting lost or going to school.
· Mood disturbances.
· Obsessions and compulsions.
Most importantly, having several of these symptoms can cause a complete lack of self-esteem. It's easy to feel stupid when reading or writing -- learn instead to develop your unique hands-on or visual abilities
The terms 'dysphonetic' and 'dyseidetic' are words used to describe typical symptoms of dyslexia. The person labeled 'dysphonetic' has difficulty connecting sounds to symbols, and might have a hard time sounding out words, and spelling mistakes would show a very poor grasp of phonics. This is also sometimes called "auditory" dyslexia, because it relates to the way the person processes the sounds of language.
Q. Can someone have dyslexia without reading problems? [November 23, 1998]
Can someone have dyslexia without reading problems? I am an avid reader. I never did well in English Composition class and I don't spell very well. I have always described my short-term memory as mirror (I reverse numbers, etc). My long term memory is very good, however. Even though I have found no major problems with my "strange" way of thinking, it would help explain things about myself.
A. The symptoms you describe are consistent with dyslexia. Ron Davis refers to dyslexia as a 'self-created' condition. By that he does not mean that it is a person's fault that they have dyslexia, but rather that the particular symptoms stem from an individual's life experiences. Many dyslexic people are, in fact, very good readers, but struggle tremendously with spelling or writing.
It is also very possible for a person to have only mild symptoms of dyslexia, or to have severe symptoms but only experience them occasionally. If these symptoms are significant enough to cause problems for the person -- in school, the workplace, or other aspects of their lives - then it would be appropriate for the person to seek help to correct their problems.
Many people with only mild or occasional symptoms have found that the book The Gift of Dyslexia has provided them with valuable insight into the way they think and learn, even if they did not feel they needed to get further help with areas of difficulty.
Abigail Marshall, DDAI
Visual Spatial LearnersAn Introduction
Welcome to the wonderful world of the visual-spatial learner! We’re excited to share with you information about this important learning style, and to share with you about recognizing, assessing, teaching, counseling and living with visual-spatial learners.
Around 1980, I began to notice that some highly gifted children took the top off the IQ test with their phenomenal abilities to solve items presented to them visually or items requiring excellent abilities to visualize. These children were also adept at spatial tasks, such as orientation problems. Soon I discovered that not only were the highest scorers outperforming others on the visual-spatial tasks, but so were the lowest scorers. The main difference between the two groups was that highly gifted children also excelled at the auditory-sequential items, whereas children who were brighter than their IQ scores had marked auditory and sequential weaknesses. It was from these clinical observations and my attempt to understand both the strengths and weaknesses that the concept of the "visual-spatial learner" was born.
Visual-spatial learners are individuals who think in pictures rather than in words. They have a different brain organization than auditory-sequential learners. They learn better visually than auditorally. They learn all-at-once, and when the light bulb goes on, the learning is permanent. They do not learn from repetition and drill. They are whole-part learners who need to see the big picture first before they learn the details. They are nonsequential, which means that they do not learn in the step-by-step manner in which most teachers teach. They arrive at correct solutions without taking steps, so "show your work" may be impossible for them. They may have difficulty with the easy tasks, but show amazing ability with difficult, complex tasks. They are systems thinkers who can orchestrate large amounts of information from different domains, but they often miss the details. They tend to be organizationally impaired and unconscious about time. They are often gifted creatively, technologically, mathematically or emotionally.
You can tell you have one of these children by the endless amount of time they spend doing advanced puzzles, constructing with Legos, completing mazes, counting everything, playing Tetris on the computer, playing chess, building with any materials at hand, designing scientific experiments, programming your computer, or taking everything in the house apart to see how it operates.
At the Gifted Development Center, we have been exploring the visual-spatial learner phenomenon for nearly 2 decades. We have developed strategies for working effectively with these children, guidance for parents on living with visual-spatial learners, techniques to help visual-spatial students learn successfully through their strengths, and presentations to increase public awareness of this phenomenon. We have created a self-rating instrument and an observer instrument, and, with the help of two grants from the Morris S. Smith Foundation, we are in the midst of validating both instruments. We are improving methods of assessing visual-spatial learners.
I'd like to thank everyone for the wonderful anecdotes they've submitted, many of which have been used in my recently completed book awaiting publication: Upside-Down Brilliance: The Visual-Spatial Learner. For notification of the first release of this invaluable resource, please email Nancy Golon at the Gifted Development Center with your email address and contact information. LEARN MORE!
We'd still love to hear from you for a future book if you'd like to send your anecdote. I've detailed below the information that would be helpful.
You may contact the Gifted Development Center if you are in need of counsel about this unusual learning style. We offer Dial-Log phone consultations with Betty Maxwell at the rate of $80 per hour, and we have many written materials that may help you.
Linda Kreger Silverman, Ph.D.
If you have a visual-spatial child, or if you are a visual-spatial learner, please send a little anecdote (or a few of them) and give me permission to quote it in a future book. Be sure to let me know if you want yourself to be identified or if you want your identity protected. Please ask your child if he or she wants to be identified or to have his or her identity protected. Of course, I cannot promise you that I will have enough space to include every story that is sent, but I will let you know if I end up using your material.
Here are some of the questions I would love to have your input on:
· When did you first notice that you or your child had unusual visual-spatial abilities?
· What are the characteristics you observed?
· What gifts did this learning style bring?
· What problems accompanied it?
· What was/is school like?
· What subjects did you/does your child love? Hate?
· What are your/your child’s hobbies?
· What career aspirations does your child have/did you have as a child?
· How were peer relations affected by this learning style?
· What teaching strategies worked for you/would work for your child?
If you are a teacher, please share your success stories and give me permission to share your techniques in a future book. I promise to credit you with any ideas I use.
Please email your anecdotes, permissions, responses to the above questions, techniques and success stories to Linda Greene who is assisting me with materials for the book.