Learning About Different Brains — From Their Owners

Through the years, I’ve heard some fascinating speeches given by people whose brains are nonstandard.  In particular, Dr. Temple Grandin, who is on the autism spectrum, and Barbara Arrowsmith, who had extremely uneven capabilities as a child, have talked about their brains.  They have also spent their entire careers researching how brains work.

Yes, this website is written for children who have learning disabilities or differences. We see that sometimes parents turn away from discussions about autism because “my child isn’t autistic,” but in this particular case, I suggest that you take a look at Temple’s talk.

At 6:34 in the above video, Temple starts to give her ideas about working memory, and about the different types of brains and brain strengths.

She says that she is a photo-realistic visual thinker.  – And she’s poor at algebra, which needs a lot of working memory.

She categorizes people in this way, and says that there can be a mixture of thinking types:

Photo-realistic thinker Poor at algebra
Pattern thinker for music and math Poor at reading
Verbal facts language translation Poor at drawing
Auditory thinker Fragmented visual perception

As we talk about identifying and helping your child develop their strengths, it’s important to realize that you might be identifying a capability that doesn’t fall into ordinary boxes. Here’s our post about how to identify strengths, and here’s a diagram, describing LD brain strengths that we see, especially when our children mature.

Barbara Arrowsmith is the founder of Arrowsmith Schools, which she founded in Canada.  The Arrowsmith schools are unique.  They have no science or social studies.  Instead, they give children a 19-point cognitive test, identifying brain areas that can be strengthened by exercises.  And for the next one, two, or more years, the child spends hours every day doing cognitive exercises.  Here is her talk where she talks about her brain:

Another person who is very good at looking at different skills is Cindy Gaddis, a homeschooling parent with seven children who had very different skills.   Gaddis designed a unique structure for educating her unique children, and identified her children by their strengths (e.g. my builder son), as she both supported their strengths and helped them learn.

Here’s Gaddis, talking about different strengths in different types of brains, from a parenting (and homeschool) perspective.




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