Special education

Mind Maps are particularly useful for helping those with learning disabilities. The Mind Map on page 231 was done by the author in conjunction with a nine-year-old boy we shall call 'Timmy'. Timmy suffered from fairly severe Cerebral Palsy, which meant that his motive functions were significantly impaired. He was considered by many to be ineducable and unintelligent.

When spending an afternoon with him surrounded by coloured crayons and blank notepaper, Tony first asked him to say who his family was. As notes were made Timmy watched intently, even correcting a fairly complicated spelling of his sister's name.

Timmy was then asked what his main interests were, and without hesitation he said, 'space and dinosaurs', so these were put down as major branches of the Mind Map. Timmy was asked what he liked about space. He said, 'the

Mind Map Grammar


Mind Map of a language lesson for a group of non-native English-speakers by their teacher Charles La Fond (see page 229).

Mindmap Lars Soderberg

0"E PEUX Si JE v iCOX Vowi-OlP- C'EST PoWOlR.




auf'nl j" a5 f ouSAvowsrwi issdfjs ilS



ms vas m au wawos-pt LA


our v^ofjs


tTTaf vokj


fouPOUOI ?

Lars Soderberg's Mind Map of an overview of French grammar (see page 229).

Mind Maps Special Education

Mind Map by 'Timmy* with the help of Tony Buzan, demonstrating the abilities and knowledge of the learning disabled (see page 229).

planets'. Timmy then concisely named the planets in their correct order showing that he not only had a far better grasp of our local solar system than 90 per cent of the population, but that his picture of it was clear. When Timmy got to the planet Saturn, he paused, looked straight into Tony's eyes and said, 'L-U-H-V-L-E-Y ...'

When it came to discussing the dinosaurs, Timmy asked for the pencil and did a quick scribbled drawing. Knowing that such scribbles are never meaningless, Tony asked him to explain what it meant. Timmy explained that it was, fairly obviously, a diplodocus and a tyrannosaurus rex: father, mother and baby. Timmy's mind was as bright and clear as any good university student's, his only difficulty being between the wiring of his thought and his physical expression of it.

He asked to do his own Mind Map. He produced another 'scribble' and explained it as follows: the orange represented his body, which made him very happy. The black squiggle in the top section represented his brain, which made him very happy. The yellow squiggle represented those parts of his own body which did not work, which made him unhappy. He paused for a moment and finally added the dark squiggle covering the bottom of the Mind Map, which he said represented how he was going to use his thinking to help make his body work better.

In this and many other such cases, the Mind Map frees the 'learning disabled' brain from semantic restrictions which often increase the disability if there is one, and may even create one where, in the beginning, there was not.

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