How Mind Mapping Helps Manage Dyslexia

Dyslexia header My job at MindNode is customer support. And among the many requests are some interesting conversations that allow us to learn more about why people use MindNode, and how. This blogpost was written by Gerry after I asked him about how mind mapping helps him deal with dyslexia.

Enjoy, Paula

There is a general perception that dyslexia is about words floating off the page and it being difficult to spell etc. - while this is true to a degree, dyslexia is more fundamental. As someone once said its more about the way the brain is wired and how dyslexic people learn, remember and write their thoughts down.

Let me try and explain.

The first and biggest difference is how i remember things... I (& generally dyslexics) have terrible, terrible short term memories. Also, and associated, i need context to understand or remember something.

Here are a couple of examples:

My boss comes up to me and says “Bill called... He says go ahead." Without context such as "Bill from Acme corp. called about the 1000 widgets in blue," I find it hard to remember who Bill is. Even if i have had the conversation with Bill in the last 24hours.

At school it was not a fact that I didn't understand something, but more, to remember, I had to know why something was the way it was. In physics I needed to know why something is the way it is and what that means for other parts of the subject. History was a particular challenge, which I failed, as I would forget the lessons within 15 minutes of walking out of the class. An example would be when I studied the Russian revolution, we started at the revolution and the events thereafter but did not even touch on WHY the revolution took place.

To-do lists are of no real use to me, as they are usually something like “Call Bill about the widgets." I spend a lot of time on To do lists looking up what is up with Bill and the widgets that I need to call Bill (who is this?) about.

Most dyslexics, me included, find it very hard to put our thoughts down on paper. It has taken me about an hour to write this!

Also the opposite is true, that is, if I get a long email from someone it takes a lot of energy to focus. If I don't focus I can genuinely forget what the previous paragraph said. This puts me off reading long emails. One way to solve this problem is I get my Mac to read it to me.

Of course with a mind map I can both communicate easily and also consume information with little effort. In fact I use MindNode on my iPad to take meeting notes and pass these on to my team with no more commentary. Its a very efficient way for me to work.

The fact that all I have to do is write key words down and that these words are surrounded by other words that give context makes them the ideal mechanism for taking notes, following list of task etc. I can now walk into follow up meetings and glance at my mind map and I am right up to speed.

With the new tasks, again, I can just glance at the map and immediately see what tasks I have & by default they are surrounded by context.

Dyslexia brings its challenges but it also brings many benefits, which have undoubtedly helped me in my career. The trick is always to play to your strengths, but identify your weaknesses and have strategies to mitigate these - MindNode has been a very important tool for me and allows me to play to my strengths.

To learn more about Dyslexia visit

Photo credit: Lori Greig (license)

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