more than just



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The Dyslexic Thinking Style

People with dyslexia have a unique thinking style most commonly referred to as visual-spatial. It is estimated that one-third of our population thinks this way. Not everyone with this thinking style develops the problems associated with dyslexia. To better understand this thinking style, Mind Over Dyslexia uses the terminology set out by Ronald D. Davis in his book The Gift of Dyslexia: namely 'picture thinking' (visual) and 'disorientation' (spatial).

Picture Thinking


People Generally Think on Two Levels...

In Words

  • verbal thinking

  • assemble words in your mind to form sentences

  • think as fast as the words can be spoken

  • linear and sequential (one word after another)

In Pictures

  • non-verbal thinking

  • ideas happen all at once, and build upon themselves at the same time

  • faster - a picture is worth 1000 words

  • thinking goes in many different directions

  • more thorough, deeper and comprehensive

This clip from the HBO film Temple Grandin, 2010, illustrates the idea of being a picture thinker. Dr. Temple Grandin is a world famous animal scientist and autism self-advocate. Although autism is different from dyslexia, the idea of picture thinking is the same and can be experienced in differing degrees.

Disorientation is a natural occurrence which happens to most everyone. When it occurs, all of the senses (except taste) can be altered and so one's perception and what is happening in reality are not in agreement. If you look at an optical illusion you can experience disorientation in the form of perceived movement.


Dyslexics unconsciously use disorientation throughout their day as a reaction to something interesting or confusing. Their thinking process becomes spatial, allowing for pictures to be viewed in three dimensions (3-D), like a camera panning around an object. By experiencing multiple views, more information is gathered.


Find out how this thinking style leads to Gifts and Talents and Problems and Challenges.

While creating the drawings, an architect can disorient and imagine the 3-D structure coming together.

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