Thursday, May 19, 2011

Connection Between Dyslexia and Right-Brained Learners

Connection Between Dyslexia and Right-Brained Learners
by Topsy-Techie

Disclaimer: The opinions stated in this essay are those of Topsy-Techie and do not necessarily represent those of AVKO.

Dyslexia affects a large population of the public, especially now that we understand that it is not limited to people who “read their letters backwards.” Rather, dyslexia encompasses a host of varying reading, spelling, and writing disabilities or differences.

Another characteristic that affects a large population of the public is right-brained thinking. This refers to individuals with strong visual skills and memory who tend to store and access information mostly in picture form. For the right brained learner, pictures are their main line of information - - words are secondary sources at most.

Researchers have been making connections in recent years between right-brained thinking and dyslexia. It makes sense that those who struggle with word-based tasks might not be “learning disabled” as much as they are just “learning different”. In fact, in visual spatial skills, even right-brained learners who are severely dyslexic can outperform their left-brained peers 2 to 1. While logical, or sequential tasks can stump them, these learners can show incredible strength in holistic and creative tasks.

This being the case, children with dyslexia should definitely be tested for brain dominance. If your child seems to be a visual thinker, then it will not be enough to just “treat” the dyslexia. Right-brained visual learners need to be taught in specific ways that will capitalize on their strengths and minimize their weaknesses.

One of the keys to successful teaching of right brained learners is using multimedia. The more visually appealing the materials, the more engaged your right-brained learner will be. These students can benefit from educational software and videos, multimedia online games, online homeschool curriculum. Programs such as United Streaming and Cable in the Classroom are wonderful for helping to find educational programming that will supplement whatever your child is learning with visual reinforcement.

Visual learners soak in information from television, computers, and videos, but they also need time to let the information soak in, and time to do what they do best - - learn by demonstration. Field trips are incredibly important for right-brained kids. In fact, almost anything your child is studying can be enhanced by real world experiences. If they are studying American history, take them to local historic sites. If they are studying food and nutrition, find out which grocery stores or restaurants in your area are willing to host behind the scenes tours. Right-brained learners thrive on up-close and personal interaction with their subject of study.

If your child has dyslexia and right-brained dominance, it is important not to focus on their “disability,” but rather emphasize their learning differences and strengths. Just because they may struggle with traditional spelling and writing instruction does not mean that they do not have the ability to learn. If information is presented to them in a way their brain can process it, there are no limitations to what a right-brained learner can do!

For further information on teaching a right-brained, visual learner, you might want to check out Right Brained Children in a Left Brained World by Jeffrey Freed and Laurie Parsons.

Author: Topsy-Techie is a homeschooling mother and online writer. She writes the blog about learning to write at and the homeschooling blog at

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