In August of 2013, I emerged from the Department of Neuroscience building at the University of Virginia armed with some controversial test results. Earlier in the month, intellectual curiosity had led me to sign up for a cognitive assessment: a battery of tests representing the best that current educational psychology research had to offer in determining my personal learning aptitudes and preferences. The test results were clear: a small team of talented researches concluded that I was in the “very superior” range for visuo-spatial awareness and reasoning ability—the 99th percentile, in fact—while falling in the “average to below average” range for processing and recall of auditory information. Why was this result controversial?
When I was young, I struggled with math. It was always taught in a language-heavy way, and I'm dyslexic, so that didn't work out too well for me. Eventually, my dad tried something that got me over those language barriers. He drew pictures of what the words and the symbols were trying to convey. Math transformed into mechanisms that I could visualize, and that made all the difference.
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