Symbol Relations

This capacity is involved in understanding the relationships among two or more ideas or concepts. A weakness in this capacity may result in the following difficulties.

In more severe cases the child reverses the letters b-d-p-q.

The child has some trouble learning how to read a clock (an analog clock). The relationship between the hands are mixed up with the hour hand being read for the minute and vice versa or the minute hand being misread by 5 or 10 minutes.

The person does not understand math concepts. The person can learn math procedures but has no idea of the meaning or "why" of the procedure. Mathematics is mechanical or procedural rather than conceptual. The person does not understand formulas such as distance = rate X time and therefore has trouble figuring out the formulas for rate and time.

The person has trouble understanding cause and effect relationships or the reasons why events happen. This has implications for learning in school, on the job and in social situations.

The person has trouble understanding grammar and doing grammatical analysis.

The person has to read material over and over again and is never certain as to whether he has understood what is being said.
The person has great difficulty figuring out word problems such as "Sally is shorter than Jane who is taller than Mary. Who is tallest?" because he can't see the relationships.

The person sits in on a seminar and is not able to comment on the points being made because he does not fully grasp the meaning at that moment. After he leaves the seminar he plays the ideas over inside his head, comes to understand what was said and then is ready to comment but the situation is no longer available. This is a very frustrating experience. This can also happen in a discussion in a social situation.

The person can't grasp the logical inconsistencies in what some body is saying, which may leave him prey to destructive friendships or con artists.

There is often personality rigidity or stubbornness associated with this learning dysfunction because the person has difficulty considering several alternatives logically at the same time in order to plan and make decisions. Once the person has made up his mind it is very hard for it to be changed because he has so much trouble holding two or more alternatives in his head simultaneously and looking at the advantages and disadvantages of each. He can't see the relationships between two or more positions.

The individual often has trouble understanding and communicating his own thoughts and feelings to others due to this problem. This can lead to feelings of anger and frustration on the one hand and helplessness, alienation and depression on the other.

The most salient feature is a sense of uncertainty - of never being able to verify meaning but only guess. There is a general difficulty in interpreting the meaning of any symbolic information whether spoken or written and the person is left with a constant sense of uncertainty as to whether he has correctly grasped the meaning intended.

Arrowsmith has changed the way I learn to a whole different level. It has taught me to be patient, and it has allowed me to mature in different ways. I am glad that I was placed in this program because if I had not participated, I would probably be stressing out in high school with my learning difficulties instead of feeling like a regular student.

- Faye, Student

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