Any of you who have been following this blog for some time or who have read Shut-Down Learner, know that we pay particularly close attention to the kids I have called “Lego Brain Children.” These are children who gravitate to “hands-on” visual thinking activities like building with Legos, making pictures or constructing things.

While most people learn best when there is a multisensory presentation of information, these kids really thrive and are “wired” for the visual. In the classroom they often look quite drifty and inattentive, yet give them some hands-on tasks (drawing, building, creating, taking swimming lessons somewhere like Coast2Coast First Aid and Aquatics) and they can do these activities for hours, with little to no sign of inattentiveness. Typically, their reading spelling and writing are shaky at best.

I have literally evaluated a few thousand kids in my career and I continue to be struck by how children like these are misunderstood and quickly put into “disordered” categories.

Perhaps the question is not whether the child is disordered, but “disordered for what?” That is, I may be pretty “disordered” at this task in front of me (say, paying attention in school or reading, for example), but am pretty capable in this other area (say, creating elaborate Lego cities).

Most of you are aware of the different “intelligences” (e.g., verbal, visual/spatial, social, musical, athletic/movement, interpersonal/social, mechanical, etc.).

It’s my guess that the vast majority of people are pretty good at one or two of the intelligences, fair at a few others, and pretty poor at another two or three.

It’s just the way we are wired.

Neurodevelopmental variation rules.

The problem is we form much of our self-esteem and core set of self-beliefs within the first 10 years or so in our life and if we are one of those Lego-brain types who are not reading, spelling or writing very well, not to mention drifting off task, we form some pretty erroneous conclusions that become deeply hard-wired in our belief system.

“I am really dumb” is one of the core beliefs held by these children, hardwired into the personality and mental structure at a very young age.

(As I write this I reflect on the thought that most of my professional life has been devoted to one thing – trying to help kids overcome this one core belief.)

Understand this. While many talk about dyslexia and ADHD (who are often Lego-Brained children) being a “blessing and a gift,” underneath it there is often great pain.

Sure, it’s wonderful being able to build elaborate cities with your Legos and to create elaborate drawings, but when you are getting frowny faces and “D’s” on worksheets that are not readable by you, at that moment you’re not easily reflecting about the blessing or the gift.

Takeaway Point

On an email I received recently from a colleague, the bottom of her email had the following quote:

Everyone is a genius, but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid ~Einstein

I think that about says it all.


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