There are two basic kinds of learners: Verbal and Nonverbal. Intelligence does not play a role in this distinction—it is simply a difference in learning and thinking styles.
Verbal learners mainly think in words rather than pictures, with a sort of internal dialogue. Verbal thought is linear and follows the structure of language. Thinking verbally consists of composing mental sentences, one word at a time, at about the same speed as speech.
Nonverbal learners mainly think in pictures. They think with 3-dimensional, multi-sensory images that evolve and grow as the thought process adds more information or concepts. They do not experience much, if any, internal dialogue. This thought process happens so much faster than verbal thinking, that it is usually subliminal. Dyslexics are usually nonverbal learners.
Anatomy of a learning disability
As those with ADD or dyslexia read, write and listen, we string together pictures in our minds in order to understand what is being read/said.
Read a word with no picture
When reading, writing or listening, we come across words or symbols which have no picture. (the, was, but, +, ?, #)
Usually, we push on despite the blanks until the picture sequence is broken up too much. As the sequence is broken up by these missing pictures, comprehension is lost and we become confused.
Dyslexics have a perceptual talent, triggered by confusion, which works against us when it comes to reading symbols such as letters and numbers. Subconsciously, we alter our perceptions trying to understand what is being read or heard.
Those with ADD do the same thing with what they hear and see, giving them incorrect perceptions of what really occurred.
To dyslexics and ADD individuals, these distortions appear as reality. Therefore, we make mistakes in what we are reading, writing or how we react to situations. Some common mistakes may be:
- Alter a sequence of letters, numbers or words.
- Omit a letter, number or word.
- Skip lines.
- Stop or hesitate.
- Voice becomes monotone.
- Writing is illegible or messy.
- Reading, spelling or writing become slow and laborious.
- Guess at words and spellings.
- Ignore math symbols or lose the sequence while computing a math problem.
- Lack of concentration.
- Tired in school or while reading.
- Easily distracted.
- Inconsistent (one day they can do something - the next day they can't).
- Problems following instructions.
- Difficulty forming/keeping relationships with others.
- Frequent inability to sit still.
Reading, writing or math are difficult because of the mistakes they make. Those with ADD become frustrated with the reactions of those around them.
Individuals adopt compulsive behaviours, patterns and mental tricks to reduce the mistakes and frustrations caused by disorientation.
Some common old solutions are:
- Extreme concentration.
- Memorizing rather than understanding.
- Rereading over and over. Sounding out each letter of every word.
- Avoiding reading, writing or math tasks.
- Getting others to read or write for them.
- Hanging around with the wrong crowds.
- Becoming class clown.
- Withdrawing from social situations.
- Adopting the I don't care attitude.
- Extremely good at making up excuses.