by Rachel Pewsey posted in Ayoa.
It is estimated that up to 1 in every 10 people in the UK have some degree of dyslexia. Dyslexia is a lifelong, neurological difference which can have a significant impact during education, in the workplace and in everyday life. Everyone’s experience is unique and symptoms can range from mild to severe. Dyslexia can present a variety of challenges on a daily basis; with it affecting so many people, having the right tools to help support their thinking can have a truly positive impact on their everyday lives.
People with dyslexia often show strengths in creative thinking, and visual learning can help to support this. For many years, people who have dyslexia have found Mind Mapping to be a simple and highly effective way to help improve the way they learn, view and organize information. Dyslexia can affect a large range of actions, including spelling, processing information, concentration and organizational skills. With the right tools, the strengths and talents of those with dyslexia can really shine.
Read on to discover how Mind Mapping can be a useful and effective tool for those with dyslexia to process and organize information.
The power of visual learning
As a hidden difference and something that affects people in such different ways, the effects of dyslexia are often misunderstood. Visual learning strategies prove to be highly effective for dyslexic thinkers. Imagery, in particular, conveys a message without the need for elongated words, helping to retain memory and improve organization.
Visuals have always been an important factor for us here at Ayoa. We believe that visual learning can truly unlock your creative potential. And for those with dyslexia, who tend to have a natural tendency towards creative thinking, visual learning can provide an extremely useful and effective way to manage daily tasks.
Visuals enable us to easily see the bigger picture and remove the complexity of certain pieces of information. Research by design consultancy, Zabisco, discovered that 40% of people respond better to visual information than plain text. Visual cues and stimuli allow us to better receive and remember information. The brain is capable of absorbing 36,000 visual images every hour, making it an extremely effective way of processing and retaining information.
According to ‘The Index of Learning Styles’, developed by Dr Richard Felder and Barbara Soloman, there are four dimensions of learning styles:
- Sensory – learners who prefer concrete, practical and procedural information.
- Visual – learners who prefer pictures and look for a visual representation of information.
- Active – learners who enjoy working in groups to solve problems.
- sequential – learners who have information presented to them linearly, in an orderly manner.
Whilst learning styles vary for every person, the benefits of visual learning for dyslexic thinkers is significant. So, how does this relate to Mind Mapping? Mind Maps use a unique combination of colors, imagery and visual-spatial arrangement to help support and stimulate our thinking processes – making them a truly effective tool for dyslexics and visual learners to manage anything from their daily tasks to capturing and expanding on their creative ideas.
What is Mind Mapping?
A Mind Map is a visual thinking tool, displaying connecting thoughts which radiate out from one central idea. Ideal for exploring ideas and presenting information in a uniquely visual way, a Mind Map uses a mix of keywords, colors and imagery to prompt memory and association. They can provide dyslexic people with a better way to organize and assimilate information. People all around the world use Mind Maps for:
- Planning – from projects to essays.
- Organizing – from shopping lists to daily to-do plans.
- Note-taking – from lecture notes to capturing big ideas.
- Studying – used as a way to revise and prepare for exams.
What are the benefits of Mind Mapping for Dyslexia?
- Mind Mapping helps with organization
Organizational skills can be a challenge for dyslexics. Fortunately, Mind Mapping is a tool that makes it easy to organize tasks and ideas in one, visual display. You can easily add separate branches to categorize information into different areas. You can also use different colors to differentiate each branch, making it easy to instantly identify the information you need without feeling overwhelmed.
- Mind Mapping improves concentration
Many dyslexic people can find it a challenge trying to get their initial ideas down on a blank page. However, by drawing a Mind Map, your Central idea provides a starting point from which to expand on. From here, it’s easier to see how ideas connect together and where they can grow. This approach gives the flexibility to get ideas down, and then add a more linear structure at a later point.
- Mind Mapping breaks down complex information
Using Mind Maps can also help with dyslexia by breaking down large pieces of information into more manageable, bite-sized chunks. In the working environment, in particular, writing official documents such as reports or policies can be a challenge as they can present you with a lot of dense, extended information. Mind Maps can help to simplify extensive and detailed information by categorizing it into smaller and more manageable pieces. Coupled with images, this can help make gathering the information needed much easier to achieve.
How does Ayoa help with Dyslexia?
Ayoa remains faithful to the visual learning principles of Mind Mapping and offers a variety of Mind Map styles to suit your preferences. With a wide range of easy-to-use features, ideal for both individual and collaborative working, Mind Mapping in Ayoa helps to focus concentration, improve productivity and expand creativity.
Central idea images
Choose from a variety of visual stickers to use as your central idea. This image is used to represent the topic you want to explore; the visual nature of your central idea helps to stimulate memory and associations in your brain, so any idea you add to your Map is automatically anchored to your central idea. This means you’ll never lose sight of your main topic or theme.
Curved, radiating branches
Our Organic Mind Maps, in particular, use curved branches that radiate out from your central idea to support and stimulate your thinking processes. When you think of an idea, this tends to spark various connected trains of thought within the brain. Mind Maps work in the same way, by capturing these thoughts via connected branches. This means you can dip into your Map at any point and add new ideas and build on them as they come to you.
Customize with color
Our unique Branch Editor tools allow you to customize and style the branches on your Mind Map in the way that suits you best. Ayoa uses dyslexia-friendly font as standard, with the ability to edit the color and size of your text and branches where needed. This allows you to easily categorize different areas of your Mind Map using visual indicators, making the information on your Map much easier to process.
Add supporting images as visual signifiers
In Ayoa, you have the ability to add images to your Mind Maps to support your ideas and help to identify certain topics at a glance. Add an image directly to a branch to represent each idea. You can upload your own, or even search for an image directly from the gallery within the branch editor. Adding these images helps to make your Mind Map more engaging, ideal for presenting information and communicating ideas.
Organization for the whole workplace
As well as supporting dyslexic thinking with creative and adaptable Mind Maps, Ayoa also seamlessly synchronises Mind Mapping with Task Management features. This allows you to turn any ideas created in a Mind Map into a task, where there is the option to add notes, due dates, reminders, checklists and more. This takes organizing your thoughts one step further, making it a tool that can be used to aid organization skills across all elements in the workplace.
Mind Mapping can provide dyslexic thinkers with stronger independence and boosted confidence to capture and develop their ideas. Discover more about Mind Mapping in Ayoa and how it can help you process information and organize your work in a way that works with your brain.
Ayoa is also on the DSA (Disabled Student Allowance) list of approved suppliers for Student Finance England. We also offer all students and educators 35% discount on all our plans, so you can make the most of Ayoa during your studies.