Dyslexics don’t See Words in their Minds, they See Pictures

When you ask a dyslexic/right-brain child or adult what they “see” in their minds when you tell them to imagine a concrete word such as “car” they will usually tell you they see a picture of a specific car or multiple cars – they don’t see the word “car”.  Normally when you ask a left-brain person what they “see” when you ask them to think about the word “car” they will see the written image of the word in their mind, a car or a car and the word. But generally they can visualize the word when they need to.

How right-brain and left-brain people think about a word

This is a huge difference between a right-brain and left-brain thinker.  Dyslexics have a difficult time trying to learn to read because they see pictures of what the word is, not the symbols of written language that represent the word.

Now let’s take abstract words.  To a dyslexic words like “up”, “down”, “when”, “now”, “is” are difficult to learn how to spell and remember if they can’t easily visualize the idea of “down”.  They need context so they can come up with a visual image to understand and remember these type of words.  You can have a dyslexic practice these words with all the different methods to learn to spell and read that are appropriate for dyslexics along with visualization exercises to pair the meaning of the word with a concrete image in their minds.

One way to have dyslexics practice visualizing abstract words is having the student write sentences using these abstract words in a sentence that represents  a clear picture in their minds of what this abstract word means.

For example, go to Google Images, google a word like “down” and you will get many webpages of concepts of what “down” can mean.  Have your dyslexic student pick images of “down” that make sense to them, copy the pictures to your computer into a document in a program like  Microsoft Word and then on the same page create and write sentences about the picture using the word “down”.  The sentences can be serious or silly, whatever pleases your student.   Always remember to keep the picture and sentences on one page so that they connect the picture with the word as this will help them remember the written image of the word “down”.  This method can be used effectively paired with individual concrete words (animal, place or thing).

Teaching methods for the dyslexic should always incorporate the idea that they see “whole concrete images” best. Dyslexics will often learn how to spell and read words more successfully if they can use their ability to see pictures of the meaning of a word paired with seeing the word as a picture and not several parts and individual letters. For example: instead of emphasis on the letters in the word “d-o-g” they are taught “dog” as a total picture.

More on this another day.

Karen Hope
Co-founder of Dyslexia Victoria Online

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About Dyslexia Victoria Online

I have been developing and researching alternative solutions for dyslexic problems for over twenty years. The inspiration for this quest, which is what it had become, is my daughter Genevieve. She is dyslexic and after years of working at solving her problems, when she was a child, she has now overcome all of her issues and is a successful business woman, wife and mother. Today my partner, Howard deGraaf, and I are bringing our teaching methodologies through the internet to all those frustrated parents, tutors, teachers and of course, the dyslexic children and adults. Howard deGraaf, he's now my fiance, isn't Dyslexic but he is a Right Brained thinker and is a valuable asset. Just like a Dyslexic he can see the "Big Picture" and is a terrific problem solver. Many of his blog entries are observations he makes during our Dyslexia Assessments and during our Workshops and Presentations. The two of us continue to do individual assessments and we are getting many requests for presentations to teachers and Service Providers. The website continues to evolve and we are communicating with teachers and parents from all around the world. Watch for lots of changes as we continue to learn about methods and research that help individuals with Dyslexia and we get that newest information to you.
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9 Responses to Dyslexics don’t See Words in their Minds, they See Pictures

  1. Joe says:

    Having struggled with dyslexia as a young child I can honestly say that it is not easy. I can remember many times looking at things I had just written and questioning whether or not they were correct. Still tonday I am constantly questioning everything. I think the real challenge is keeping your kids in the game, its so easy as a child to get frustrated with failure and the desire to give up is so strong. Lets face it, no one ever wants to be faced with failure day in and day out and for a child suffering from dyslexia going to school is just that! My recommendation is to do whatever it takes to identify what it is that your child is good at in school, so as to keep him motivated to do what is more challenging for him. School was so much easier for me when I realized that maybe I was ok at math and suddenly not everyone in the class was better than me at everything in school. Also, if you think its hard as a parent just imagine what your child is going through.


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