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How Dyslexic Adults Can Retain Information: Multi-Sensory and Visual Learning

One of the most common dyslexic struggles for adults and kids is retaining information. No, you are not dumb, and nothing is wrong with you. We need help to keep information because of a few things, but it boils down to working memory struggles and information not being presented in a way that works for us.

Like most things related to dyslexia, our goal should never be to accept the struggles but to find ways to minimize them. Creating systems and processes that work for us is vital to success. Today we're walking through the 2 ways to help you take in and hold on to information!

Multi-sensory learning

What is multi-sensory learning?

Multi-Sensory learning is when you use more than one sense (taste, smell, visual, physical, sound) to take in information. Multi-sensory learning sounds like a buzzword, but it's a proven method that helps kids learn, and adults retain information.

Why is multi-sensory learning good for adult dyslexics?

Dyslexics have poor working memory, which means when we take in auditory information (verbal), we struggle to hold on to the info. However, combining two (or more) different senses gives you more than one way to connect with the information!

Implement multi-sensory learning:

So the next big question is how do you incorporate more senses in your daily life? Reasonably quickly, actually. Next time you have a big document you need to read through, try text-to-voice software (like speechify) and listen while you read; bonus points if you take notes or highlight simultaneously.

Another great example is if you are trying to memorize information. Instead of just staring at your presentation (trying to remember your talking points), get up and move your body, practice speaking out loud, or even record yourself and listen back.

Visual Systems

What are Visual Systems?

They are what they sound like, systems that are visual. Examples would be a desk calendar, sticky notes on your computer monitor, or even a bowl by your entry to place your keys.

Why are visual systems good for adult dyslexics?

Dyslexics have a powerful memory for visuals. Our narrative reasoning allows us to create incredible mental images and movies. Leaning into that strength can help us store and take in information more efficiently.

Implementing Visual Systems:

Visual systems go so much further than just having a desk calendar. One of the big ones that we recommend is color-coding EVERYTHING! By everything, we mean color code your different web browsers, calendar, to-do list, file folders, grocery lists, everything. Creating a solid color scheme can help you quickly identify what you are looking for and help you retain information. When taking notes in class in college, I used to use 3-4 colored pens. Black was for topics, blue was for sub-topics, the pencil was for notes, and pink was for underlining things the teacher repeated. Creating a system helped me create visual pictures in my head of what my notes looked like, which, in turn, I could bring up during my exams.

Visual systems don't just have to stick to paper, either. A lot of dyslexics (and those with ADHD) struggle to remember things exist if they can not see them. I am super guilty of not paying paper bills on time because I drop them in the "mail" pile on my counter and forget that they exist (along with the coupons I swear I will use). I have created a visual system to remind me to pay my bills to combat this. It sounds crazy, but I tape them to the top of my computer monitor as soon as I get them. I make it inconvenient and hard to forget that I have a bill due.

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