Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Parenting A Child Who Is A Visual Learner

Jake is my visual learner
Parenting kids is hard enough without adding gifted to the equation. And when you do, many times the gifted child is misunderstood, misguided, mislabeled, and misdiagnosed. That was what happened to me, until I realized that I was a highly visual and intuitive person. A label and diagnosis that isn’t made at the pediatrician's office when you are eight years old.

So How Do You Parent a Child Who is Highly Visual?
As a parent, it is important to understand your child and their gift. This will allow you to help them gain confidence and succeed. With the gift of clairvoyance (the term I use to describe a highly visual person) there are a few things I’ve learned along the way. But before I share what I've learned, I'd like to elaborate on the word clairvoyance. Clairvoyance means to have the ability to perceive things or events in the future or beyond normal sensory contact. Having premonitions isn't the only ability a highly visual child could experience. They also are more inclined to have a photographic memory. If developed, a visual person should be able to recall everything they see. They also have better hand - eye coordination. But that doesn't mean they will live up to the potential of their gift. It takes a parent who first understands it and then how to support them and their interests.

Below is what I've learned about raising a highly intuitive and visual child.
  1. A child who is visually sensitive will also be more emotionally sensitive: A visual child has the ability to feel what they see. It’s like their sense of seeing transforms into a feeling throughout their body. If someone gets hurt, they will feel their pain by just seeing it. If there is a scary movie on the television, they will become part of the movie. They also will have a greater number of nightmares compared with the average child. As a child, I had so many nightmares and was petrified of sleeping by myself. I drove my mom nuts, begging her to let me sleep in the same bed as my older sister who I shared a room with. Yep, I actually shared a room with my sister and still had to sleep in the same bed with her so I wouldn’t be as afraid. I still can’t watch scarey movies. Comedies is what I most enjoy because it leaves me with a feeling of happiness and laughter.
  2. Nightmares and dreams are more vivid.  Parents should talk to their children about their dreams. As I got older, I started to keep a dream journal. Especially because many of my dreams had become prophetic. I could also use my dreams to help me understand what I feared and what I was struggling with.
  3. Imagination and clairvoyancy can be misinterpreted. Children have a more difficult time separating their imagination from their intuitive ability. This is something a parent needs to watch and help coach their child on. They are different skills and different feelings. It takes practice to know the difference. I still can remember my oldest son Jake watching Spiderman at the age of three years old. I thought, "What's the harm?" But then I realized that some children, especially ones who are highly visual, should stick with the movie rating system. After the movie, Jake had become Spiderman and he tried to climb my walls. He climbed on top of an end table and then leaped trying to cling onto the fireplace mantel. He could have gotten seriously hurt. It was an eye opening experience for me.
  4. You have a heightened creative imagination. Kids who are highly visual can see things in a way that others can't. These are the inventors. The artists. The visionaries. The crafty mom's.
  5. Highly visual children learn by seeing. Many times they don't need a teacher, unless the teacher illustrates the problem on a white board. Otherwise, they just need a book or instructional manual. But we live in a society where all kids have teachers. As a parent, it's important to understand your child's teachers learning style. And to also help your child's teacher understand your child's learning style. As for my gift. I found that it came in handy during exam time. During an exam, I was able to go back in time (in my mind), pull up a visual of what I read in a book, and locate the answer to the question. Some people call this photographic memory. By the time I got to college, I was a straight A student and graduated summa cum laude. I’m not brilliant. I just know how to use my gifts.
  6. Your intellectual and physical development may not be at the same level as what you see your capability being. It's like the child who picks up a baseball for the first time, throws it, and then gets frustrated because it didn't go where they saw. Parents need to be aware that visual children can get very frustated if their physical ability isn't as developed as what their visual is. This could cause them to quit. Encouragement and practice is the key!
  7. You're ability to predict and forecast future events is heightened. However, things you see may not become reality immediatelyTime is the constraint for visual people. For instance, sometimes what I see seems like it is going to happen tomorrow. It's like I can taste it. This is the prediction part of clairvoyance where you see events in the future. There have been times where a vision I receive seems like it will happen in a few days, but ends up occuring one year later to the day. It's important to understand that your prediction will most likely happen. But the reality of it is that time sometimes intervenes, making you aware of what life is all about.
  8. You can get frustrated being part of a team of auditory and feeling learners. Parents should help their visual learners understand that some kids learn through hearing and other's learn and experience through their sense of touch.
  9. You have better hand and eye coordination.  Kids who are more visual will most likely have better hand and eye coordination, giving them an advantage in sports. But only if they are interested in playing a sport. My ability to visualize helped me master the art of pitching. Before going to sleep, I would visualize myself pitching a strike over home plate over and over, again. This practice helped me to become one of the top softball pitchers.
  10. You are the dreamer. They see opportunities that others may miss. They love fantasy. They have hope. And they believe and are heartbroken if someone doesn't believe in them. The only thing about a dreamer is they need to learn that they can't live in a dream world. Reality is also part of their life and sometimes you have to work at things in order to achieve them.

With visual children, talk with them about what they see. If they don't want to share things, buy them a journal or a doodle book. Doodling and writing and reading are great tools to help your visual child express themselves!

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