What is the difference between dyslexics and normal thinkers?

Imagine learning to drive a manual stick shift car but your teacher only knows how to drive an automatic car. Naturally confusions would occur. The teacher expects you to go into drive and step on the gas to move. However, manual cars doesn’t work that way.

Watch the video where I explain the analogy much better.

Stick Shift Thinker
A Mind Map of the Stick Shift Thinker video

When it comes to learning to read and learning to study, how do dyslexics and normal thinkers differentiate?

It’s like the difference between a manual car and an automatic car. An automatic car can directly step on drive mode and the car runs smoothly. If you got a manual car, you have to go through one gear to the other to run flawlessly. A manual or stick shift thinker needs to go to first gear before shifting to the second.

Imagine your a manual thinker learning to drive but the person teaching you only knows how to drive an automatic car. The teacher would say “go into drive and then put on the gas”. Gleefully, you would say “okay! I’ve got it.” stepping heavy on first gear. Then when you get to the corner, it stopped! What happened? Your teacher would say “I don’t know. There must be something wrong with your car.”

In real life, if you were driving a manual car you would put your foot down on the clutch and stop yourself stalling. But let’s say you’re still on first gear putting your foot on the gas revving at 30 miles an hour. If you went whole day driving 30 miles an hour in first gear, putting a lot of stress into your car, you’ll eventually overheat or stall in the middle. You will wonder if there’s something wrong with your car. You did everything the teacher told you but its not enough. You are still struggling while the other cars pass you with ease.

Imagine someone got in and told you that you’re a stick shift car. One out of ten cars is a stick shift car. One out of ten is dyslexic. They’re manual thinkers when it comes to learning how to read and learning how to study so they need to be taught how to go up each and every gear. They don’t just push it in. They have to do that clutch control and their gas. They have to move around and make these decisions on the road so it takes a bit longer to learn how to drive. It doesn’t mean once you learn how to drive, your car is less powerful or slower. There are stick shift Ferraris as well as automatic. It’s down to driving ability and style. Sometimes a stick shift is better than an automatic. Racing car drivers have better control with a stick shift.

You don’t get to choose what kind of thinking style you have. Dyslexia is not a selection. It is already chosen for you.

If you’re dyslexic thinker you’re a systematic thinker. You need to systematically go up these four or five gears and keep making decisions according to your environment. You can’t be taught that by someone who only knows automatic. You need to be taught this particular little part of reading or studying by someone who’s used to going up the gears instead of just going in to drive.

Now once you learn how to go up and down the gears when it comes to reading or studying, the driving instructor can tell you about roadcraft and directions where to go. It could be a geography teacher teaching you about geography or math teacher teaching math. You need that simple skill of shifting gears manually as compared to automatic. You need to learn the system and break it down into individual gears.

Does that mean that you’re manual at everything you do? No. You might be manual at reading, writing or studying but you might be automatic when it comes to higher level things like creating and designing things. Others might struggle in the creative process. They might not go past the first gear when it comes to designing a product or creating something.

As a dyslexic when it comes to reading and writing we’re manual thinkers. Unfortunately, at school, you have to be good at reading and studying. You need someone to get in the car with you and show you how to do the gears.

I hope that helps a little bit. Understand that dyslexia is not about how smart you are. It’s more like having a stick shift in a place where automatic is the norm. Everybody assumes you have the same transmission so If you get wrong, stalling in the middle of the road, people will naturally blame you for not learning the right way- their way. They conclude that you are lazy or slow. When in fact your car stalled or overheated. Using the first gear, you’ve not learned how to go up the other gears to ease the engine. At the end of the day, you are so exhausted for using the first gear all the time in a manual transmission.

What do you think? Let us know on the comments below.


How To Equip Dyslexic Children To Thrive In School

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We’d really love to hear from you so please take a moment to share your thoughts or any ways we could help you on your journey with dyslexia.

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