Critical Thinking In Individuals With Dyslexia

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REVIEWED BY NUMBERDYSLEXIA’S EXPERT REVIEW PANEL ON DECEMBER 07, 2021

An individual can have four modes of thinking: Analytical, Divergent, Critical, and Creative. After identifying and defining information (analysing), one has to process the same by conceptualising and solving them. This is what Critical thinking actually is. 

On the other hand, dyslexia, as we know, is a result of different brain wiring. So, can unique neurological wiring1 make the person a better critical thinker? To better understand the same, we here discuss how dyslexia affects logical thinking. 

Critical thinking components- Do they have it all?

We have already discussed critical thinking and its various characteristics in our previous posts. Critical thinkers possess more than essential skills of analysis, argument, reasoning, and problem-solving abilities. The underlying component is probably Empathy. Let us look into the status of each component minutely.

Conceptualising Abilities- Their edge over others

In common opinion, Dyslexics are as smart as their peers. They are excellent visualisers, to the extent that they can explain almost every detail about their imagination. Research conducted by Martina Hedenius2 shows that Dyslexics have a better picture memory.

Conceptualising with having clarity of every detail leads to visualising. Being sublime helps them be more creative, retain better, and also assists with other critical thinking abilities. 

Analysing- It’s a Snap

Analysing abilities form a positive streak. The unique wiring makes individuals with dyslexia great visualisers as they remember facts in the form of experiences, examples, and stories. In a reasoning research3 by Dr. Alison M. Bacon, it is seen that people with dyslexia show no impedance to visual aids, unlike others, making them the best visual inferrers and analysers. 

The pictorial analysis makes their task easy, and they end up working in highly interdisciplinary fields. Thus, analysing is a snap as long as they have pictorial analysis.

Problem-solving- Not really a snag!

A thesis4 was made on students with unique neurological wiring of age 9-13 to analyse their problem-solving skills. The goal was to look at these children while they solved arithmetic problems. The results showed that the different brain activities made no difference with respect to the working memory. This also lies true when there are symbols and meanings.

However, these children took some quality time to read, understand and recognize those keywords for later reference. Thus, It can be taxing for them to retain the facts and tackle achieving the answer.

Strategies for better critical thinking- Can it be amplified?

We can acknowledge the status of each critical thinking component from the previous section. However, it would be impactful for individuals with dyslexia if they mull over some tips to polish these components.  

Tips to refine- Exposing those edges

All the above sections clue that critical thinking in people with dyslexia is conceivable; interpreting some tips can refine those edges:

  • Knowing exactly what you want will solve half of the problem. People often fail to set targets and make decisions. Overcomplicating the problems induces unhappiness. The first step towards critical thinking is to know what you want or what the problem needs.
  • Decision-making and critical thinking are personal. Know that you are not always right, and knowing this should not constrain you from being a critical thinker. Being ready to face the consequences of wrong decisions builds up the courage to take a bold decision.
  • Problem-solving sometimes needs you to break the problem into solvable pieces. Critical thinkers should know how to break problems into parts. Knowing what needs to be done first and then setting priorities can make critical thinking effective.  
  • The best habit that one can induce is to question the assumptions. Everyone has a set of assumptions about everything, which may not be true—question these assumptions to analyse truly.
  • Reasoning is the ability to think about anything logically and sensibly. People often reason without the proper information, They often over-generalize or under-generalize the situation.
  • Diversified thoughts give better results by combining thoughts of multiple brains and ideologies. Thus, form an opinion after cross-checking from different sources.
  • Thinking in reverse can be an effective tip when you are stuck with a puzzling question; when the question is looked at from another perspective, new ways to interpret open, thus increasing chances to solve. 

Summing Up

Critical thinkers are problem solvers, empathetic, logical, and one step ahead in creativity.  When the teacher gives a problem-themed question, a critical thinking student takes the first step to analyze it and thus strives for the probable solution for it. But a crucial thing about critical thinking is that it just does not play a role in education. When it comes to individuals with dyslexia, their abilities to think rationally are often questioned. But, thinking logically and creatively is one of the unappreciated traits of dyslexia. 

The important aspects of critical thinking like Conceptualization and analysis are their edges, while people with dyslexia may take some time to infer and solve problems. However, pondering through some tips may amplify their attributes. 

References:

[1] Ordinary and extraordinary brain development: Anatomical variation in developmental dyslexia (Galaburda A, Annals of Dyslexia, 1989, January) 

[2] Enhanced Recognition Memory after Incidental Encoding in Children with Developmental Dyslexia (Hedenius M, 2013, May 23)

[3] Dyslexia and reasoning: The importance of visual processes (Bacon A. 2010, December 24).

[4] Problem-solving by primary school children with particular reference to dyslexics (Reid P. 2002) 

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