Welcome back to another day in our Autism A to Z series! Today was another that I initially struggled with and then I finally had to go back to my daycare roots and what I had learned in Early Childhood Education classes. So for us, K is for Kinesthetic. Most of the time, you’ll associate kinesthetic with a learning style and it is one of many learning styles. While Sweet B has a mixture of learning styles, her main two are Visual and Kinesthetic.
First, let’s start by defining Kinesthetic:
Kinesthetic is the adjective form of the word kinesthia. And according to Miriam Webster, Kinesthia is as follows:
a sense mediated by receptors located in muscles, tendons, and joints and stimulated by bodily movements and tensions; also : sensory experience derived from this sense
Traits of a kinesthetic learner are:
- Often fidgets or finds reasons to move
- Is not very attentive to visual or auditory presentations
- Wants to be “doing” something
- Tries things out and likes to manipulate objects
- Gestures when speaking
- Is often a poor listener
- Responds to music by physical movement
- Often finds success in physical response activities
- Learns better when able to move during learning
- Likes to move hands (doodling, tapping,) while learning
- Uses movement to help concentrate
This definitely applies to Sweet B and to many individuals with autism. They are often very fidgety and need to find something to occupy their hands or body with in order to learn. As a tactile learner, hands on activities are useful and helpful because of the sensory input that happens. I think we all have a bit of kinesthetic learner in us as somethings are easier to learn by doing.
How does this relate specifically to Autism?
Many individuals with autism are fidgety, have excess energy, need something to hold on to for tactile input, etc. They need to be occupied in some way or another to have an outlet for their excess energy and to focus on a task. By integrating kinesthetic learning, you’re giving an individual with autism an opportunity to focus and learn.
Unsure of what your child’s learning style is? Or maybe you’d like to find out what your learning style is. Take the learning styles inventory test. You just might learn a thing or two or maybe use that as a starting off point for how to help your child succeed both academically and in every day life.