—– By: Ann Costantino —–
A Scotland-based dyslexia awareness and online education training company put the discussion of learning style differences into high gear on Monday when it posted a seven minute video which compared dyslexic learners and traditional learners to the difference between learning to drive an automatic vehicle versus a stick shift.
“Let’s talk about dyslexics and normal thinkers, when it comes to … learning to read and learning to study,” Darius Namdaran said, the director of BulletMap Studio, which teaches dyslexic people how to map their ideas through strategies called “mind mapping.” “It’s like the difference between a manual car and an automatic car,” he said.
While motioning to the gearshift in his vehicle, Namdaran said during the video, “…If you’ve got a manual thinker, when it comes to reading… it’s like you have to go into the gears. And you choose one gear, and then you have to choose your second gear, and then you have to go into your third gear… and you might stutter because you might not quite have the right gear. But imagine if you were taught to drive a manual car, but the person teaching you only knew how to drive an automatic car?”
During the video, Namdaran then demonstrated the differences he said exist between traditional learners and those struggling with dyslexia, by driving his car in various gears, revving his engine by going too fast in first gear and eventually stalling out. His point was to demonstrate that teaching a dyslexic brain to read and study by using traditional methods, simply does not work.
“Imagine if a teacher said ‘look, you’re a stick shift car. One out of 10 cars are stick shift cars. One out of 10 people is dyslexic. They are manual thinkers when it comes to learning how to read and learning how to study. And so they need to be taught how to go up each and every gear,’” Namdaran said. “So it takes a bit longer to learn how to drive a stick shift car.”
Namdaran then asked, “Does it mean that once you learn how to drive, that your car is any less powerful? Or any less fast? You get stick shift Ferraris and you get automatic Ferraris…” But, Namdaran said. “You don’t get that choice when it comes to your thinking style, you inherit that from your parents. So, if you are a dyslexic thinker, if you are a systematic thinker, you need to systematically go up these four or five gears … you need to be taught this particular little part for reading and studying, by someone who’s used to going up the gears, instead of just going into drive.”
A description on BulletMap’s website says it offers webinars, courses and training videos for parents and children struggling with dyslexia by honing in on seven of the main challenges of high school, using strategies for note-taking, finding patterns by identifying keywords, remembering information, testing practice, exam-taking, essay writing and answering questions accurately. The company’s mission “is to give dyslexic teenagers the confidence to overcome the stress of high school and exams by teaching them how to mind map.”
Namdaran’s video, which has surpassed 100,000 views and has been shared on social media thousands of times, can be watched in its entirety, below.
For those seeking support with dyslexia in Maryland, Decoding Dyslexia MD has 14 chapters representing all 24 of the state’s counties. The organization is hosting a Dyslexia Advocacy Day in Annapolis on Jan 30th. Details about the event can be found here.