Mind Mapping For Dyslexics – Making Work More Manageable


The benefits of mind mapping are well known, it is used by millions of people across the world for a wide variety of activities from planning, organizing, learning, problem solving in settings ranging from educational, professional or just at home and has been referred to as the ‘ultimate organizational thinking tool’. Mind maps have a natural structure that represents the brains natural image filled thinking processes and helps reinforce the maps of thought in the brain. But what if these maps of thoughts are even more disorganized than normal? Widely accepted characteristics of dyslexia are poor memory, trouble with focusing, planning, and organization and in general tasks taking longer to carry out. However, with mind mapping these problems are eased, due to the colourful, symbolic and image related stature they are less dense than words – with the substantial lack of words proving easier for the visual learner. Elaine Colliar, a Scottish accelerated-learning trainer states ‘Dyslexia is often likened to a circuit board where one component is missing, therefore they have to devise a new strategy to wire that circuit board completely, and mind mapping can assist dyslexics as it consist solely of images’.

Getting ideas down on paper is often the most difficult part for students approaching a task and many dyslexics can tend to drift and become distracted. However, when you draw a mind map you are constantly seeing in your peripheral vision what you have already done whilst working on a new idea. Thus decreasing the possibility of losing your train of thoughts as you are automatically reviewing the rest of your mind map. If used by students for planning essays, the ideas in the mind map may be transferred into a linear form, expanding images and single words into sentences and structured paragraphs that remain focused on specific points.

The use of mind mapping has been made even more accessible with the introduction of mind mapping software, including Tony Buzan’s (the founder of mind mapping) iMindMap – the first software in history that fully captures the associative, organic nature of human thought. Mind mapping software has opened up opportunities far beyond its ‘traditional capabilities, creating an explosion in creativity, innovation and knowledge sharing’. Mind Mapping software has proven popular in primary and secondary schools as well as further and higher education by dyslexic and non-dyslexic students. Used with interactive white boards, the whole class can participate. This fires imagination and reinforces learning and encourages inclusion.

Planning or school work is usually an unattractive task to any student, let alone one suffering from Learning Difficulties. But using mind mapping software means that maps can be amended at any time, with information being added or deleted. They can then be stored safely for future use or revision. Mind mapping enables thoughts to be organized enabling better work to be produced, more thoroughly, correctly and quickly every time. Instead of pages and pages of linear uncreative notes, you produce bite sized chunks the mind can cope with, making a subject easier to remember for a dyslexic sufferer.