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spatial perception-itis-ology-arhea

November 18, 2009

All my life, I had a desire to be special.  Talented.  Funny.  Desirable.  Something.  Instead, for most of my childhood I struggled through school and had a difficult time showcasing any specific skills or talents to set me apart from the pack.  I never really doubted that I was smart.  I have always loved challenges, but struggled to compute through long word problems and even the most simple math problems.  Oh algebra, how I hated thee.  In fact in high school I even failed it.  That’s right, I said failed it.  I was not the best scholar in school.  I loved learning, but never could find an effective way to do it.  And here is why…..

I see the world in images.

So for example, when you say “H is a letter” I immediately know that it’s second column second letter from the left.  They are always in the same order in the same position.  They are not individual.  I don’t see one without seeing all the letters and how they are in relation to one another in the image.  Same goes for the days of the week.  You’ll notice that Saturday and Sunday are much bigger and on top while the weekdays are small and in reverse order.  I have no idea why this is.

Almost everything is this way for me.  Nothing is just a single thought.  It is an image that shows how it relates to something else, almost like a flow chart.

Except numbers.  Numbers are in a single line and almost completely fuzzy.  In fact by the time I see the number 30 in the line, it’s on a gradient transparency.  I see very little after 32.  They are all so difficult to see.  It’s no wonder math has always been such a struggle for me.

So something interesting about what this means for me…or really what it means about me….I discovered an article that kind of details specific characteristics of people who have spacial perception.  For starters, there are two types of people who deal with this.  One is the spacial learner who scores really high on IQ tests and is most often recognized as a genius.  Yeah that’s not me.  I’m the type that doesn’t perform well under timed testing situations or with math or memorization.  I do, however, love a challenge, doodle incessantly,  bleed creativity and live through music.  True, true, true and true.  I dream vividly, love computer graphics and watch television avidly.  True, true and I wish it weren’t so true.  It also generally expresses itself by causing me to stumble over really simple tasks, such as writing blog posts or remembering to buy dog food. But complex long term projects kind of really make my brain tingle.

I wish I would have known about this when I was a kid.  Imagine all the things I could have accomplished and avoided had I known that I needed to be taught differently than every other brilliant schmuck in my class?  Although, in my district I’m pretty sure they would have had no idea how to handle me and I just would have ended up in my mother in laws behavior disorder class (she restrained kids in my junior high). I probably would have given her an asthma attack and that never ends well.  Be happy it didn’t play out that way Debbie.

One benefit to finding out right now is that it’s believed to be hereditary.  I’ll be able to observe my own spacial spawn someday in an effort to help them avoid any issues they may find in seeing images and flowcharts 24/7.

In the meantime, I’ll probably just be a weirdo and keep being bad at math and memorizing.  Fun research though huh?  See now you can call this an educational freak show blog

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10 Comments leave one →
  1. November 18, 2009 2:27 pm

    I think you and I are polar opposites. And yet we both give Debbie asthma attacks. What’s with that?

  2. Debbie Woods permalink
    November 18, 2009 5:22 pm

    I would have loved you back then. But You did not even notice me back then. I LOVE YOUR SPIRIT
    The disorder lady

  3. Katie permalink
    November 18, 2009 10:20 pm

    I think you called me a schmuck….

    • November 18, 2009 11:43 pm

      a “brilliant” schmuck. don’t discount yourself katie.

      but….if the shoe fits….

  4. dreamerblogs permalink
    November 18, 2009 11:24 pm

    How did you come about figuring this out? I always love little “oh, there’s a reason why I think like that, I am not just a total weirdo” moments.

    • November 18, 2009 11:44 pm

      I heard someone on tv or the radio or something talking about it. Basically it was a complete “ah ha” moment. I honestly didn’t really realize that everyone wasn’t like that.

      And once again…..the cheese stands alone 🙂

      • Stephanie Vallo permalink
        November 19, 2009 12:48 am

        AWESOME!!! I’m special too!!! For me, it’s also the calendar. My days of the week is almost exactly like yours, including reverse order of the days. The only difference is that there’s not really a division between Saturday and Sunday and Friday is divided so that part of it is included with Saturday. (But I always have to start with Sunday).

        My months look like this…

        January September
        February
        March October
        April
        May November
        June
        July December
        August

        Only, the words in the right column should be larger (or maybe closer?) in order for the columns to be the same length. And each month is inside a square. If you say a month, I have to start in September and go through them in order. (Although, when I was a kid the columns were reversed.)

        Maybe this has something to do with why I have always scored in the top 4 or 5 percent on most standardized tests, yet numbers are COMPLETELY meaningless to me! (Seriously, I couldn’t remember my own cellphone number for about a year.)

        I, too didn’t realize until just a couple of years ago that this didn’t happen to everyone! I read some article online that said this is related to some sort of sensory disorder that makes people perceive sounds as colors and other crazy things like that.

        • November 19, 2009 1:09 am

          yes! I love this Stephanie! when I was reading the article to a friend the other day, she laughed out loud when I mentioned that a common characteristic is extremely bad memory.

          I’ve even written about how bad mine is http://bellablogs.com/2009/06/01/got-a-brain-like-a-sponge-bob-square-pants/

          I still don’t have a clear answer on whether or not Chris’s birthday is the 21st or the 22nd of April. Good for him….I just celebrate both days 🙂

          Thanks for replying with this. It makes my night 🙂

  5. Stephanie Vallo permalink
    November 19, 2009 12:24 pm

    HA!!! I do the same thing! Even after 11 years, I have to think really hard every time before I can remember if Eric’s birthday is August 30th or 31st. I have to remind myself it’s NOT the last day of the month. It has only gotten worse since Evan was born on March 31st.

    I’d love to read that article you are talking about. I’m so happy that someone understands! When I first learned that this was a real thing, Eric did not understand at all why I was so excited about it and my mom couldn’t even imagine what I was talking about. I remember reading that for some people, numbers, dates and letters “have a specific place in space” and I was thinking, “THAT’S ME!!!”

  6. mamma di permalink
    November 27, 2009 12:24 pm

    You get it from your father. It’s all his fault. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!!!

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