Anatomy of a Specific Learning Disorder

  • People generally either think verbally (with words), or non-verbally (with pictures) and most do a combination of both, but are usually predominant in one or another.
  • Most people with dyslexia are  picture thinkers, which often gives them a very strong perceptual ability and allows them to perceive things three dimensionally.
  • Dyslexics make mental pictures of the words, using their imagination to create the story, or fill in the information they are reading, which is a very fast process.
  • When reading words with a corresponding picture, such as ‘house’, or ‘dog’, dyslexics create a mental picture of that word, which they build upon them as they read more and more words.
  • When a dyslexic reads a word without a corresponding ‘picture’ such as ‘the’ or ‘and’ or ‘because’ they are unable to recall a picture to attach to the word and they become disoriented.
  • Using their strong perceptual ability their mind’s eye takes off from where it is to ‘look’ at this word from all angles to try to make sense of it.
  • With their strong perceptual ability, dyslexics are able to use their imaginations to see things from different perspectives, which gives them a unique perception of the world.
  • When applied to anything other than reading, this ability is the ‘gift’ described in ‘The Gift of Dyslexia’ and results in many talents, such as…artist, designer, musician, sports, music.
  • When it comes to reading and symbols it causes disorientation and confusion. When more of these ‘trigger’ words build upon themselves, the person’s confusion builds and they become disoriented.
  • To cope with these challenges, dyslexics rely on old solutions or coping strategies, such as, memorization rather than understanding, rereading again and again, extreme concentration, acting out in class, having others read, or do their work for them.
  • All people become disoriented from time to time, however people with dyslexia or Specific Learning Disorders have a lower threshold for confusion and become disoriented more easily than the average person.
  • The combination of their non-verbal thinking/strong perceptual ability and lower threshold for confusion leads to frequent disorientations as the brain attempts to make sense of the symbols it doesn’t recognize. This is the root of the learning disorder.
  • To help a person overcome their learning disorder, you must first help them control their disorientation, and then you can help them fill in the letters and words that cause them to disorientate with clay work, so that they have an image to attach to the symbols or words that cause them confusion.

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