The Role of Visual Memory in Communication

By: Cheri Florance, PhD

Memory is how we move thought from our fluid attention systems to our crystal knowledge. Visual memory is a very powerful and dynamic set of systems that equips the brain with enormous capabilities. How we organize memory determines how efficient we are at thinking, responding, communicating, and comprehending.

The role of memory is critical to understand when you have a child diagnosed with a Pervasive Development Disorder such as PDD-NOS, Autism or Asperger's Syndrome.

Many children diagnosed with PDD-NOS may have symptoms in language processing and communication because their highly visual thinking is interfering with the development of verbal skills. A child that is a highly visual thinker and has highly visual "brains" in the family tree can show as many as 50 specific symptoms in communication, attention and memory. I call this group of children "Maverick Minds."

Visual thinkers experience visually what they are thinking. They follow a visual pattern rather than verbal to negotiate the world. To verbal thinkers, their communications may seem like nonsensical rambling. In fact the communication is following a logical pattern but it is a visual rather than verbal pattern.

Visual people often use the brain's Associator to form memories. They learn of a new idea and they relate that idea to their own knowledge base. The opposite of the Associator is the Sequencer from the verbal pathway.

The Sequencer is rigid and ordering, one sound following another to make a word, words produced in specific order to form grammatically correct sentences and ideas linked in order to make paragraphs.

The Associator is time-independent and the Sequencer is very time based. Understanding consequences depends on a time based understanding of cause and effect.

Creating associations
Visual memory involves the brain function called the associator. The associator creates memory by linking concepts or ideas. An associator works optimally when it can complement the sequencer, but for Mavericks the associator can become the enemy or the antagonist of the sequencer. The associator can multi-task, leapfrog ahead conceptually, intuit solutions, see patterns and relationships readily, and manage an enormous workload effortlessly.

A simple example of the associator is the ideas that come to mind when you see a fire truck. This fire truck could make you think HOT, RED, FIRE, TOY, DALMATIAN, or 911. For Mavericks, associations are a constantly available and very user friendly thinking tool.

Visual memory is one of the four brain pillars that are essential for developing a symptom-free life for a Maverick child. Visual memory is the thinking powerhouse that is your child's greatest asset/liability. You use it not only to process and retain visual input but also as a mental refresher.

You can train your child's visual memory so that it becomes an asset rather than a liability. Visual memory can be harnessed by training the skills needed for immediate memory, short-term memory, and long-term memory.

To learn more about creating a customized training plan for your Maverick Mind, visit us on the web at www.ebrainlabs.com or contact our office at 1-866-865-9820. We have helped many children who are visual thinkers move into verbal land.

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