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Anatomy of a Learning Disorder

Picture Thinking
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The Dyslexic/ADD Picture Thinkers:

  • Understanding comes through  stringing together pictures in their minds. 

  • ​Picture thinking speed is approximately 1,000 times faster than word thinking

  • Average brain processes at 32 pictures per second




  • Word thinking slows down to only 100-200 words per minute.

Symbols vs. Pictures:

  • When reading/writing/listening, this person has difficulty with non-visual words or symbols

  • Examples:

    • the 

    • was 

    • but 

    • +

    • ?

    • #

    • 217 total

Try it out:

Can you picture the word "elephant?"

Maybe it looks something 

like this

Now try to picture the word "the." 


What do you see?

You probably saw the word t h e, right?

Imagine trying to deal with 219 of those words!


  • Because of strong visual abilities, they are often triggered to be disoriented by confusion when presented words/numbers

  • Without thinking, they erroneously change their perceptions leading to:

    • Confusion​​
    • Working overtime to understand what is being said or heard.

  • Those with ADD do the same thing with what they hear and see, giving them incorrect perceptions.


  • Usually "pushes on" with reading/focusing despite missing pictures

  • Comprehension lost

  • Confusion reigns

Reading, writing or math are difficult because of the mistakes they make.

Those with ADD become frustrated with the reactions of those around them.




To dyslexics and ADD individuals, these distortions appear as reality. Therefore, they make mistakes in what they are reading, writing or how they 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.

  • Impulsive.

  • Easily distracted.

  • Disorganized.

  • 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.

What are Compulsive Solutions/Behaviors?


Patterns and mental tricks to reduce the mistakes and frustrations caused by disorientation such as:

For those strugging with Dyslexia:

  • 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.

Frustrated boy reading

For those with ADD/ADHD:

ADD frustrations


  • 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.




If you, or your child, have difficulties with reading, writing, handwriting, spelling, math, or attention, please contact me at:

Unsure if Dyslexia could be causing these difficulties? Please take advantage of the free:  Davis® Dyslexia On-Line Assessment


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