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FREE REPORT: The Fine Line Between ADHD and Kinesthetic Learners

by Ricki Linksman, Director of the National Reading Diagnostics Institute and Developer of the Keys to Reading Success™ .

Keys to Reading Success™ is an internet-based K-12 reading program now available to schools and parents. The Keys to Reading Success™ program allows teachers and parents to diagnose students’ reading skills, learning style, and brain-hemispheric preference on-line. The program instantly scores results of ongoing instruction and testing, and provides an instant individual reading plan for each student. It includes a complete K-12 reading curriculum with lesson plans in all learning styles, including kinesthetic and tactile learners.

Many children seen at the National Reading Diagnostics Institute in Naperville, Illinois have received a diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Yet in-depth reading evaluations of these youngsters often reveal that rather than having an attention disorder, they are simply kinesthetic learners that need to engage in gross motor (large-muscle) activity to learn best. Once they are given the opportunity to learn through the proper methods, their ADHD-like behavior often disappears.

It is interesting how many students are now being labeled "attention disordered." Years ago, only medical practitioners determined whether a child had an attention disorder, and the numbers were small. Now, teachers, relatives, and next-door neighbors are quick to point out the characteristics of ADD. Increasing numbers of youngsters are routinely placed on ”trials” of Ritalin, without first ruling out other factors that could be causing apparent ADHD symptoms. A kinesthetic learner may not need medication so much as innovative teaching methods.

There are four basic types of learners: visual, auditory, tactile and kinesthetic, While types may overlap, visual learners tend to work best with visual stimuli, while auditory learners relate best to lecture-techniques and verbal material. Tactile-oriented students absorb new information most readily through their sense of touch, such as when tracing letters made from sandpaper.

Kinesthetic learners require body movement and action for optimal results: they need to move around, use their muscles, explore. Flashlight writing is an example of a kinesthetic technique. Writing letters in sand or shaving cream is both a tactile and kinesthetic method. Kinesthetically oriented children find it stressful to be asked to ”look and listen” for long periods of time. Imagine the frustration of having your hands tied, your mouth covered, and your eyes blindfolded, so that you could neither gesture, speak, or see. Kinesthetic students face similar frustration when they are not allowed to move in a classroom. To relieve stress, they seek to break out of these constraints. When faced with several hours of desk work, for which they are required to ”sit still,” they tend to get up to sharpen their pencil several times, they ask to go to the rest room, or they drop things, so they can get up to retrieve them, They may seek to be class monitors, to run errands. If they can’t engage in these activities, they will at least begin to move while in their seats: wiggling their legs, leaning back in their chairs, rocking, or tapping their pencils. When these actions are also not acceptable, they may resort to misbehavior as part of a psychological need to move. Teachers consider many of these behaviors as red flags for an attention (or behavioral) disorder.

Another frustration kinesthetic learners face is poor achievement. Any type of learner can be successful. But of all the learning styles, kinesthetic learners are least likely to receive appropriate teaching. When reading is taught in the primary grades, most of the instruction involves the teacher talking (auditory) and using displays, either on the chalkboard or in books or handouts (visual). The teacher introduces new letters, words, or word families verbally and has the class repeat them (auditory), then write them (tactile). In kindergarten students generally take part in group activities involving songs with various actions and routines (kinesthetic). Projects requiring large-muscle movement are also common at that level. However, from first grade on, seatwork predominates, and creative, kindergarten-type activities rapidly diminish. Not coincidentally, it is at this point that teachers often start complaining about "ADD behaviors" in some of their students.

Unfortunately, remedial reading instruction, tutoring, or even a specific learning disabilities program may not be successful if a student’s learning type has not been properly identified. Frequently the approach is just “more of the same,” using the same types of techniques as in the classroom. A thorough reading evaluation and a customized approach, however, often results in rapid progress.

At the National Reading Diagnostics Institute, we recommend kinesthetic techniques before prematurely applying a label of attention disorder. An ounce of prevention, in the form of instruction matched to learning preferences, is worth years of remediation or special programs using inappropriate techniques.

Keys to Reading Success™, an Internet-based K-12 reading program, is the most accelerated program for reading available. It containing an on-line reading diagnostic test, the Superlinks Assessment (Linksman Learning Style and Brain Hemispheric Preference assessments) and a complete curriculum with lesson plans for all reading skills. The program instantly produces an individual reading plan, and contains a reading curriculum in phonics, comprehension, vocabulary, fluency, phonemic awareness, study skills, memory, and test-taking skills. The lessons and materials are specially designed for each learning style: visual, auditory, tactile, and kinesthetic, and students with a left-brain hemispheric preference and/or right-brain hemispheric preference. Keys to Reading Success Available for schools and parents through Keys Learning. Visit the websites: keyslearning.com or keystoreadingsuccess.com; or call (630) 717-4221 to set up a free virtual on-line tour of the program.

Solving Your Child’s Reading Problems by Ricki Linksman; Fine Communications, March 1998, 368 pages, hardcover, $8.98. You can reach The National Reading Diagnostics Institute at 1755 Park St., Suite 200, Naperville, IL 60563; phone: 630.717.4221; fax: 630.778.0220; email: www.keystoreadingsuccess.com.

How can I learn more? You can arrange to have an on-line demo from any computer with an Internet connection. Without leaving your school or home, see how this time saving, cost-effective, and proven program can help your students succeed.

Keys Learning: (630) 717-4221 or email: info@keyslearning.com

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