Development of a Learning Disability


Why do some students seem to move through the school system with such ease, while others seem destined to struggle? It could be because of their thinking style.

There are two mental processing styles: verbal and non-verbal. All people begin life as non-verbal “picture thinkers”. As language is introduced and the brain develops, a preference for processing occurs. Individuals who think primarily in language are considered verbal processors–linear or “word thinkers.” Individuals who think primarily in images are considered non-verbal processors–global or “picture thinkers.” All people process in one of these two styles of thinking or a combination of both.

Confusion or Frustration?

When the brain encounters new or unique information, the first thing that happens is a subconscious sensation of confusion. This triggers the brain to attempt to resolve the confusion. A word thinker’s brain accepts this challenge and begins looking for details in a sequential manner; a picture thinker’s brain begins looking at the big picture, seeing the confusing information from all angles–front, back, top, bottom, left and right. For both ways of thinking, either the confusion is resolved or frustration occurs.

Word thinkers tend to be detailed oriented and sequential–they tend to perform well with tasks involving the written word and numbers and because of this, they generally fare well in school.

On the other hand, picture thinkers tend to think globally looking at the big picture and visualizing the end results, using their imagination in problem-solving and addressing issues from multiple angles. They tend to think quickly and then fill in the details later. These individuals are often artistic, athletic or musical. Even with these strengths, the world of written word and numbers (school) is often a struggle. This can be both confusing and frustrating for these individuals which can make school performance even more difficult, leaving them to question their own intelligence and outsiders to question their work ethic. Their struggles are often inconsistent–one day they can perform a task and the next they can’t. If allowed to continue in this struggle, the picture thinker becomes lost and considers himself a failure at school and its related activities. A learning disability is developed.

Luckily this does not need to be the end of the story. It is possible to help control global thinking so that they are able to consistently bridge the gap between picture thinking and word thinking, while at the same time retain their unique talents.

As an educational consultant, trained in the Davis® Methods, I am equipped to help those who are struggling with learning difficulties in reading, writing, math, attention or social. Clients may have received a label such as dyslexia, auditory processing, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, AD/HD, or autism. They come from all walks of life– ranging in age from 5 to 95-years-old.

Learn how we can help you or someone you know here.

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