I found a site that gave me a lot of hope. It described the disabling features that made school difficult for my son, as well as describing the phenomenal gifts he had. It just was an oasis of good feeling in a storm of negativity. (If you are interested, check this out.)Linda Kreger Silverman's name kept popping up. In 1980, she "observed" a subset of her students who performed well on visually presented areas of IQ tests. Of course, the gifted children took the top off the tests in these area's, but so did a subset of children who scored at the lowest end. The same child whose IQ scores seemed to indicate a low intelligence, scored at the gifted level in visually-presented material. She had noticed that they seemed much more intelligent than their testing showed, just by talking to them. She began to note the differences in learning styles, and typical attributes of these "visually-oriented" children. What they lacked in auditory-sequential processing, they made up for in creativity, synthesis, intuition and sensitivity. She wrote a book, Upside-down Brilliance, http://www.gifteddevelopment.com/Product_Marketing/UDB/udb.htm that goes into much more detail. The book is presently out of print and very hard to get. It can be ordered from Australia, or at a cost of $45-$118 dollars from Amazon.
You know if your child is a visual-spatial learner. They love humor. They hate drills. They can talk about anything, but can't write a sentence without major stress. Maybe they were the kid who created comic books instead of dry term papers, which, frankly, were a lot more enjoyable! (You know you loved their cartoons.) They may love the sound of language, but be poor readers, like Agatha Christie, who was purported to be dyslexic. They often get labels in school. They often prefer to learn outside the lines. It is a do or die situation: because they are so uniquely ill-suited to typical demands of school, they may feel disheartened and give up. Or they may find those who believe in them, and they change the world. Where do you think the word "visionary"comes from?
I also noticed something else while I researched visual spatial learning. I loved the cartoons that accompanied the articles and started noticing the name: Buck Jones. They were so cute. He just seemed to be so spot on, like he knew. Turns out, he did...
Buck Jones, Illustrator.
Buck knows about visual-spatial learners because he is one. So are his son and daughter. I get the distinct feeling in conversing with him online that school wasn't a rewarding endeavor for him or his children. He told me of his son and daughter who has severe dyslexia,
"my wife has fought and battled for her and our son for years and years"Sound familiar? Did you think you were alone? Here is a checklist that might help you discover if you or your child might be visually oriented, and it is written in a way that might help your child see his gifts.(Opens in a pdf). Dr. Silverman begins by saying:
"Kids seem to come in two basic designs: some are good at school and some are good at creating."We don't reward creativity in schools. We reward test taking. You know what I'm talking about.
Taking a test has never lead to any advancement in human endeavor, be it art, architecture, fashion, design, dance, sports, theatre, music or literature. Inventions of mechanical, constructive, or digital means are discouraged in schools today because it is too time consuming for the teacher, who deals in facts, not functions. Passivity is rewarded to such a degree, parents are more than willing to drug their children to get them there. Public speaking, and the ability to use language creatively...it's okay, but, will it help the school obtain NCLB goals?
Art, Theatre, Music and Shop are not needed. They are extra-curricular and the first to go. And sometimes, because of that, children who excel in these areas and not in others are the first to leave school early. For them, a high school diploma indicates more of a tolerance of adversity rather than an indication of ability. You made it, kid...here's your purple heart!
We teach to children who learn by sitting still and listening, not by tearing into projects and doing. Yet, Dr. Silverman determined that up to 60% of our children don't learn that way. Seems like an exercise in futility. It also explains how--no matter how much money we pump into our schools, so many kids fail.
I've said it before and I'll say it again. We just need more kids who learn the way teachers have been taught to teach!