This article, by Dr. Debbie Walhof an innovative pediatrician, takes a very different view on whether we should look at a student as a visual-spatial learner, or focus on their dyslexia.
As a mother, Dr. Walhof had to deal with years where schools focused on her son’s dyslexia. This leads to both a focus on a dyslexia and their weaknesses and it tends to diminish a student’s self-esteem.
What was missing was a focus on her son’s strengths – his visual-spatial strengths. Dr. Walhof knew her son had these strengths, but did not realize that there was a way to capitalize on his strengths.
When our child first experienced problems with reading our first reaction was to have her tested for dyslexia. We thought a dyslexia test would lead to a dyslexia program that would lead to success.
We were wrong. Our child continued to struggle with reading comprehension problems, even after multiple dyslexia programs.
My wife discovered two things:
1- Our daughter could do far better with a program that taught to her strengths. When we capitalized on her ability to learn best when she saw and experienced information, she could both dramatically improve her reading comprehension and she could love reading
2- When we looked back at lists of dyslexia symptoms, we saw a sharp focus on weaknesses – phonics, phonemic awareness and difficulty reading out loud
When we started to help other dyslexic students, we also noticed two things:
1- Students with dyslexia often have attention and/or visual tracking issues. When the attention and visual tracking issues were identified and addressed, their program was far better
2- When we looked at the Symptoms of Dyslexia, we noticed a distancing of dyslexia from attention and visual processing challenges
Since our focus is on helping student succeed, we shifted to a focus on these students visual-spatial strengths, we identified and addressed the relevant issues and we worked hard to boost their self-esteem and their love for reading.
We want to thank Dr. Walhof for being a leader as both a pediatrician and a mother to shift the focus to the visual spatial learner and their strengths.
7 big benefits from Focusing on the Visual-Spatial Learner and Their Strengths and Interests While Addressing Their Challenges
1- Reading comprehension and learning gains come quicker
2- Self-esteem and self-advocacy skills can be improved
3- Great connection with other visual-spatial super stars – Einstein, Edison, Disney, Schwab and Branson
4- The student sees real benefits in many aspects of their lives
5-We could help the over 60 percent of the student’s who learn this way
6- We could reduce special education costs, drop out rates and long term social costs
7- This opens the door to helping students to be incredibly successful in careers that play to their strengths
We are at the beginning of what we hope will be a Parent and Professional Revolution to focus on the Visual-Spatial Learner and their strengths