Thursday, September 16, 2010

Dyslexia and Learning Styles

Dyslexia Foundation of New Zealand recognises that the left and right brain hemispheres of a person with dyslexia are wired differently to those in a non-dyslexic:

"... Dyslexia has a substantive neurobiological basis. Brain research, including studies from Yale and Auckland universities, has shown that while it is common to use the ‘verbal’ left side of our brain to understand words, dyslexic people use the ‘pictorial’ right side – making them slower to process and understand language, but stronger in creative areas like problem solving, empathy and lateral thinking."

Dyslexics tend to be top-down rather than bottom-up thinkers. This means that their Learning Style is holistic, in other words, they learn from getting the big picture or the overall idea first, and then look at the details.

Dr Sally Shaywitz, founder of the Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity, identified the strengths of dyslexic information processing as:
  • higher level conceptualisation
  • high learning capacity
  • exceptional empathy
  • excellence in highly specialised areas
  • "out-of-the-box thinking” which leads to new insights.
Unfortunately, those strengths come at a price. Dyslexic learners often have trouble with literacy, numeracy, decoding words and their meanings. Auditory information processing may be a challenge, together with making deadlines, planning and organising.

If you're familiar with Creative Learning's Learning Style Pyramid, you will immediately realise that dyslexic learners have a non-preference for analytic learning.

Ultimately, dyslexia can be characterised as a learning preference – based on individuals preferring to receive, process and present information in ways that make more sense to the dyslexic-wired brain, such as tactile, kinesthetic or video rather than through written or spoke words. (Please note that the preferences alone are not enough to diagnose dyslexia, as you may find many holistic tactile learners who are not dyslexic.)

Is it possible that your child's Learning Style displays dyslexic preferences? Find out today.

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