Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Learning disabilities don't exist

Last week I went to a talk about dyslexia and this time I sat straight in my chair because I knew what the person was talking about and it all made perfect sense to me. He said that learning disabilities don't exist and eventhough I think he didn't cover the whole picture, what he said was right and part of the puzzle.

Most people use both part of the brains and you need both to function optimally. Right handed people are predomantly left brained and left handed people right brained.

The functions of the right and left hemisphere are almost opposites, such as

Language thinking..................Pictural thinking

Most people have a dominant area. If you are dyslexic you are a predominant right brainer. You don't have to be a left hander but probably one of your decendents was. The more you are on the continuum of the right brain the more likely you are to think in pictures, which is the case of dyslexic children. For many of these children language doesn't make sense . They understand concrete words like horse and tree, because they can form a picture of it. The word hurry actually comes from a cart they used in the mines. Hurry up doesn't mean anything to them so they tend not to listen when parents say hurry up. Therefore they invented the term ODD.

Anyway they are in big trouble. When you are academically good and good in language you are very likely to become a teacher or when you are very academic a professor. These people have set up an education system in their mirrow image, valuing left brainers and down playing right brainers, although unaware of it.

When somebody is 70% right brain and 30% left, they are forced to work their whole life in the 30% area to make it stronger. Engineers and mechanics are often right brained. They have better insight in the technic than anybody but they are forced to write an essay about it, which is a nightmare for them and in practise a mechanic never has to be able to write to be good in his job. Most just drop out of school and some end up in crime.
Girls are equally affected by dyslexia but they mostly go undetected. Because they have several  language areas they can compensate for it. They are however far slower in processing the language.

In this time of vast change we need  creative people and if we ever want to see an Michelangelo again or an Einstein the attitudes have to change and people have to realise that right brainers learn differently instead of being learning disabled.  Maybe some left brainers can't because they have a learning disability in right brain thinking.


  1. This is an entirely new way of thought for me. So as we all believe everybody is equal. That was a good insight.


  2. Hi Marja! Interesting post! Always learning... anyway...

    Blogtrotter is firmly back to an amazing building... ;)). Enjoy and have a great week!

  3. I found this very very informative...thank you so much for sharing this info... I've learnt a bit:)

    Have a great day, Marja:)


  4. This is a good post Marja. I am reading it again. Happy

  5. Interesting to say d least...very unlike ur posts of tours n a pleasant surprise.I blogged after a long time.Pls chk Marja.

  6. On many of these points I had no idea how things worked. Great post!

  7. Marja! This is the most interesting post I read today! It's true that our brain halves have different tasks. I have several relatives on my husband's side who suffer from schizofrenia. That means that the brain halves don't communicate. One brain half sees or hears something other people don't do. The other brain half has to correct it and give the right information but it doesn't, and then the person suffering from delusions believes that he really sees or hears right.

  8. Very interesting post again,dear Marja!
    Have a nice day!

  9. a very interesting post..thanks for the information Marja

  10. Very good post. I am fascinated with the brain and how it works and have read many books and articles on it. I have been working in the field of special education for most of my professional life and though I could never explain why as you have here; I have always told my students as well as their parents that the term learning disability is only a label. A label used to put students in categories in order to 'help' them learn, but in reality how many brains take in, manipulate and express information in the same way? Probably not many. Then for the life of me, I have never been able to understand why we expect people to learn at a certain rate, or in a certain way as what we might call the "norm" or what might fall within a range considered as the "norm". Society wants to put us all in a neat little package and those who are different or unable to conform are labeled. In reality...we all learn things differently. when we were created, a large part of our uniqueness takes place in our brains. At least that seems reasonable to me. Each person has a unique take on the world as we engage in and experience all it has to offer. The world of education needs to spend more time helping ALL students by assessing, probing and finding each person's unique learning style and then teach according to what they find. This can be done and I think we are moving in that direction, but change is not readily accepted and it takes time. Setting up classrooms with a wide variety of teaching techniques that offer many avenues to learning as well as opportunities for investigating and applying what we learn would be best. Instead of standardized testing we would do our students better by teaching to their strengths rather than expecting them to fit as square pegs in round holes. Just my thoughts. ;)


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