Director of the National Reading Diagnostics Institute
Editor: This popular article is updated to include additional resources and tips for teaching kinesthetic and tactile learners.
Many children seen at the National Reading Diagnostics Institute in Naperville, Illinois have received a diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Yet in-depth reading evaluations of these youngsters often reveal that rather than having an attention disorder, they are simply kinesthetic learners they need to engage in gross motor (large-muscle) activity to learn best. Once they are given the opportunity to learn through the proper methods, their ADHD-like behavior often disappears.
It is interesting how many students are now being labeled “attention disordered.” Years ago, only medical practitioners determined whether a child had an attention disorder, and the numbers were small. Now, teachers, relatives, and next-door neighbors are quick to point out the characteristics of ADD. Increasing numbers of youngsters are routinely placed on ”trials” of Ritalin, without first ruling out other factors that could be causing apparent ADHD symptoms. A kinesthetic learner may not need medication so much as innovative teaching methods.
There are four basic types of learners: visual, auditory, tactile and kinesthetic.