Monday, April 20, 2009

Working with Different Sensory/Modality Strengths and Limitations

by Jane Bluestein, Ph.D.

Found at

Verbal Ability

Strong Verbal

Red Square Left-brain, right-hand dominant
Red Square Strong Verbal Skills
Red Square Can communicate even under stress
Red Square Like to talk about what they're learning
Red Square May be overreactive to noise, touch, visual input (difficulty paying attention)

Verbal/Communications Limited

Red Square Right-brain, left-hand dominant (stronger kinesthetically)
Red Square Left-brain, left-hand or right-brain, right-hand dominant
(may also be kinesthetically limited)
Red Square May need more time to think, respond
Red Square May be able to demonstrate understanding in other ways
Red Square May do better in conversation than in front of the class or "on the spot"

Visual Ability

Strong Visual

Red Square Left-brain, right-eye dominant
Red Square Can take in and understand visual input, even under stress
Red Square May notice visual dimensions of an experience (ex: scenery, lighting)
Red Square Receive info by looking, watching, reading or being shown
Red Square Need eye contact, need to see speaker
Red Square Do well with maps, charts, diagrams

Visually Limited

Red Square Right-brain, right-eye dominant or left-brain, left-eye dominant
Red Square Can overload in a "busy" environment
Red Square May look away from teacher or close eyes to concentrate
Red Square Keep maps, charts and diagrams simple
Red Square Provide verbal directions

Auditory Ability

Strong Auditory

Red Square Left-brain, right-ear dominant
Red Square Can take in and understand auditory input, even under stress
Red Square May notice auditory dimensions of an experience (ex: dialogue)
Red Square Receive info by listening or being told
Red Square Process with self-talk, inner voice
Red Square May need to look away (shut out visual distractions) or not look at speaker

Visually Limited

Red Square Right-brain, right-ear dominant or left-brain, left-ear dominant
Red Square May tune out speaker
Red Square May close eyes to concentrate, turn dominant ear toward speaker
Red Square Put directions in writing, make visual info avail, allow to create mental image

Kinesthetic Ability

Strong Kinesthetic

Red Square Often right-brain, left-hand dominant
Red Square Would rather touch than look
Red Square May notice kinesthetic dimensions of an experience (ex: action scenes)
Red Square Receive info by touch, movement
Red Square Often described as hyperactive
Red Square May have difficulty with visual or auditory input if kinesthetic needs are not met (especially if movement is restricted for a long time)
Red Square Provide kinesthetic outlets (ex: playing with string, clay, beanbag; chewing gum) during non-kinesthetic activities

Kinesthetically Limited

Red Square Fewer kinesthetic demands in traditional classroom,
so will generally do OK(may have trouble in classes that demand fine- or gross-motor skills)
Red Square Work from their strengths


Keeping Modality
Channels Open

Red Square Minimize stress in environment (weaker channels shut down under threat)

Red Square Do integration activities to "wake up" different parts of the brain

Red Square Accommodate more than one modality whenever possible (ex: saying and writing directions)

Red Square Teach kids to self-regulate (without disturbing anyone else)

Red Square Provide outlets, various ways of paying attention
(options you can live with, options that will not disturb other learners)

Excerpted from Creating Emotionally Safe Schools, by Jane Bluestein, Ph.D. © 2001, Health Communications, Inc, Deerfield Beach, FL.

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