Dyslexia and Mind Mapping: A Visual Solution for Written Tasks – Part 1 | Dyslexia UK

Dyslexia and Mind Mapping: A Visual Solution for Written Tasks – Part 1

March 11, 2024 Keir Williams Comments Off

Dyslexia is a neurological condition that affects a person’s ability to read, write, and spell. Students with dyslexia often struggle with tasks that involve a lot of written work, such as planning, composition, spelling, punctuation, and grammar. However, there is a visual way of structuring information that can help overcome these difficulties: mind mapping. In this two part blog post, we’ll explore the benefits of mind mapping and provide some tips for making effective mind maps. We will also look at technological aids that can be used to help to develop awesome mindmaps.

What is Mind Mapping?

Mind mapping is a visual way of organising information that involves creating a diagram to represent the links and relationships between different ideas and concepts. It helps to prioritise and order information, making it easier to understand complex ideas and plan for written assignments or revision before exams. Mind maps use a combination of text, images, numerical and coloured information, which stimulates whole brain thinking. This approach overlaps different cortical skills, such as logical, numerical, creative and spatial skills, enabling the brain to work more effectively in making links, connections, and retaining information.

The Benefits of Mind Mapping for Dyslexia

Mind maps provide an overview of difficult concepts without the need to read lots of text. The use of pictures, colours and arrows linking concepts emphasises causal links and relationships that might be harder to represent in text. For students with dyslexia, this visual approach to organising information can make writing tasks less daunting. When recalling facts, mind maps enable the reader to recall the space on the page, which can trigger memory recall. Overall, mind maps can help students with dyslexia to overcome the challenges they face when working with written information.

How to Make an Effective Mind Map

  • Prepare to plan: Before you start making your mind map, get a large sheet of blank paper, ideally A3, if not A4 and place it horizontally on your table. You will need a range of coloured pens and pencils. Post-it notes can also be a useful addition, especially to provide extra space if you run out at the edge of the page! You will also need the information to hand that you intend to be summarising in the mind map, such as your revision notes or textbook.
  • What’s the big idea? All mind maps start with a central idea, concept, or topic. This is the starting point of your mind map and should be written in the middle of the page. You could also include an image or colour that you associate with this topic. Personalising the central idea will help to strengthen your connections with the content. Colour and images help to draw your attention when looking at the mind map and also trigger associations as our brains quickly and easily respond to visual cues rather than words.
  • Add branches: Draw 4 – 8 different curved thick branches coming outwards from the central image. Add headings at the end of each branch that represents the subtopic. Limit the headings to key words or brief phrases to chunk the information into core topics and themes. The use of keywords triggers connections in your mind which means that you will be able to remember a larger amount of information.
  • Develop the detail: Draw further, thinner branches with further detail relating to each sub-subtopic. Keep expanding the mind map with additional sub-subtopics and branches. At the end of each branch add further images, quotes, numbered lists, or other information that you want to remember. Try to keep these as brief as possible so you are not overloaded with longer complex phrases.
  • Finish with images and colour: Colours make images stand out, which helps our memories to recall them. Adding colour to a monochromatic page also makes it more appealing and engaging. Colour code each of the main branches leading out from the core idea. By adding related images to each section, your brain will more easily recall the text and information contained.

This video shows how to build such a mindmap: https://youtu.be/u5Y4pIsXTV0

Further tips

  • Draw a rough copy first to think about what is essential, and how things inter-relate to each other
  • Put a clear key image in the centre for a strong visual link. This images acts as an easily memorable ‘hook’ to the topic
  • Put the most important information close to the central and the less important information on the edges
  • Put information on related topics next to each other
  • Mind maps are difficult to plan accurately. Don’t worry if your mind map looks messy. It is just for your use and only needs to make sense to you
  • Always start at the top left and work around the page. This will help you to remember the information in order
  • Keep it brief. Just focus on recording key points and essential information such as dates, names, key terminology and facts
  • Do not write down unnecessary words or full sentences
  • Don’t worry that creating mind maps takes time. The process of thinking about the topic by creating this is a form of revision

For more technological tools that can help people with dyslexia see the following posts:

To speak to a dyslexia assessor, contact us: https://www.dyslexiauk.co.uk/#request-form