In her definition of visual spatial learners, Dr. Linda Silverman, who pioneered the concept, includes the quality of being a late bloomer, as well as “creatively, mechanically, emotionally, or technologically gifted.”
People who are ‘auditory-sequential’ learners are considered more academically talented and likely to be an early bloomer.
There are certainly many people who are creatively productive earlier in life, but painter Robert Genn notes there are a number of artists who are late bloomers.
In his article Early and late bloomers, he notes “Cezanne did not preconceive his work, but rather let the painting-in-progress tell him what it needed.
“He took a long time, was always dissatisfied, and bloomed late. He’s the third most illustrated French artist of the Twentieth Century. Of all his reproduced and celebrated images, only 2% are from his twenties.”
Paul Cézanne (1839–1906) created this painting “Road Before the Mountains, Sainte-Victoire” in his 60’s, between 1898–1902, according to the Wikipedia page.
In her article I Think in Pictures, You Teach in Words: The Gifted Visual Spatial Learner, Lesley Sword (of Gifted and Creative Services Australia) explains, “Temporal, sequential and analytic functions are thought to be associated with the left hemisphere of the brain.
“In contrast, spatial thinking involves synthesis, an intuitive grasp of complex systems, (often missing the steps) simultaneous processing of concepts, inductive reasoning (from the whole to the parts), use of imagination and generation of ideas by combining existing facts in new ways (creative thinking).
“It is influenced by visualisation and images and an awareness of space. Spatial, holistic and synthetic functions are thought to be associated with the right hemisphere of the brain (book: ‘In The Mind’s Eye’ by Thomas West).”
Also see my post Left Brain, Right Brain – Creativity And Innovation.
Dyslexia and visual thinking
Linda Silverman refers to the above book, writing: “Tom West suggests that left-hemisphere deficiencies, such as dyslexia, are fundamentally linked to right-hemisphere strengths, such as visual thinking, spatial ability, pattern recognition, problem solving, heightened intuition and creativity.”
That quote is from her book Upside-Down Brilliance, referring to West’s book: In the Mind’s Eye: Visual Thinkers, Gifted People With Dyslexia and Other Learning Difficulties, Computer Images and the Ironies of Creativity.
From my earlier post Dyslexia and Creativity.
Characteristics of learners
In her article The Visual-Spatial Learner: An Introduction, Linda Kreger Silverman. Ph.D. explains more about her concept, “Around 1980, I began to notice that some highly gifted children took the top off the IQ test with their phenomenal abilities to solve items presented to them visually or items requiring excellent abilities to visualize.
“These children were also adept at spatial tasks, such as orientation problems. Soon I discovered that not only were the highest scorers outperforming others on the visual-spatial tasks, but so were the lowest scorers.”
She found that the main difference between the two groups “was that highly gifted children also excelled at the auditory-sequential items, whereas children who were brighter than their IQ scores had marked auditory and sequential weaknesses.”
Here is part of her list of qualities [click to see larger]:
Dr. Silverman says, “At the Gifted Development Center, we have been exploring the visual-spatial learner phenomenon for over two decades. We have developed strategies for working effectively with these children, guidance for parents on living with visual-spatial learners, and techniques to help visual-spatial students learn successfully through their strengths.
“This information is now available in several publications, including: Upside-Down Brilliance: The Visual Spatial Learner.
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Last reviewed: 19 Jun 2012