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Auditory-Sequential Learner

By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D

Q: My 2 year old boy is extremely verbal and very active and energetic. Lately, it seems that his developmental independence is particularly aggressive and he shows frustration very easily. All sounds very normal.

But my instinct tells me that my son needs much more stimulation and structured activity. Can you suggest toys and activities for an active 2 year old that are not standard material of trucks, puzzles, letters and building things? I also find that my son is not very spatially interested - puzzles and putting things together bring about little more than exasperation from him. Can I create pathways for his spatial development and ways to encourage more persistence on small tasks?

I know this is a broad inquiry, but I feel that if I don't find better avenues for learning for him he might become more frustrated and more aggressive when he's not sure what to do with himself. I don't want him to start shutting down his urgent desire for more interesting activity.

I know that if I engage him, like any developing toddler, he is eager to do things himself. But I need to find some ways for him to occupy himself too. He enjoys make-believe, books, videos with a story, singing and instruments. Thanks for your time.

A: From your brief description, your son may be an auditory-sequential learner as opposed to a visual-spatial learner. It is quite normal for toddlers at this age to get aggressive and frustrated, particularly so if they do not feel challenged with the activities they may be doing, which may indicate higher abilities. Below is a list of learning styles of an auditory-sequential learner.

  • Has auditory strengths

  • Learns step by step

  • Learning is by trial and error

  • Thinks analytically - good at details

  • Better at arithmetic

  • Learns sounds of words easily (phonics)

  • Good at following oral directions

  • Excellent at rote memorization

  • Excellent short term memory

  • Has good handwriting

  • Rather well organized

  • Learns from models for problem solving

  • Performs well in timed tests

  • Does repetition in order to reinforce learning

  • Learns concepts sequentially, from easy to difficult

  • Learns despite emotional reaction (less sensitive)

  • Academically talented and an early bloomer

  • Prefers subjects such as algebra and chemistry

  • Usually maintains a high grade

  • Development is fairly synchronized

The above are a few characteristics of an auditory-sequential learner. Perhaps, by knowing the kind of learner he is may help you help him better with his learning needs and environment. For his spatial development, you may want to visit the following website (visual-spatial development is introduced by Dr Linda Silverman):

You can also help him with his creative development by "creating" new toys for him. For this, you need to be very creative. Toys in the market are rather common and he may need new things. For example, paper toys (made by folding paper to shape), taking him out to the playground, playing with sand, etc. Persistence on any task will only come if interest is maintained. Unfortunately, at this stage, you may need to work quite hard yourself in terms of involvement in his activities. This is all trial and error, and it may take quite some time before you find out what he really enjoys for a period of time; then again his interest may not be long lasting.


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