Leap Learning Case #2


Leaping Through IQ-Tests

When in middle school, I was tested several times using what was at the time the standard IQ test. As I remember it, the test was 6 or 8 pages long and had around 100 questions (as I remember it.) I never did well on these tests at all. Keep in mind, that there was no such thing as ADHD nor Dyslexia terminology at the time. So there was no consideration of those conditions at all.

I scored in the low 90’s and mid 80’s which is not very smart at all. As a consequence, I was considered “Shop Class Material” at best. College was out. All higher education was not possible. I never “got” what most of the questions in the test were about. And, I suppose that was the point of the test. After all, if your IQ was low you would not “get” what the test questions were about.

I never finished the tests I took and just got hung up on my first encounter with a certain type of question which I did not grasp. I remember, in particular, the series of numbers with a blank at the end of the last number and the question was: “what is the next number?”

I had not got any idea at all. I just could not even attempt to guess at what the next number was. It may as well have been in Greek. There were also questions in which A is to B and using that as guide then how is C to ____? (multiple choice question.) Same thing. I just had no idea.

What has to be added to this description was the pressure that surrounded the tests. (I took the test in a year’s time about 5 times.) In the first 4 times, I was under pressure to do good. To improve. To show progress. “My whole life depended on the results” and I was told again and again how important the test was. This was not unlike the SAT for college entry now. Everyone was pressuring me from all sides to do better… or else.


Parental & School Pressure

My parents’ bogey man was a “brick layer.” That was the absolute bottom of the barrel in their estimation as to a worthless person. Worthless was a brick layer. And, that was what I was going to be, a brick layer. So, I had to do better, much better, to be assigned to pre-college courses in high school. It was essential and terribly, terribly important.

Well, pressure like that is not good for me and I suppose not for most kids either. I just could not relax enough to do the test easily. So, I was “shop class” material and I was assigned to shop class and told that was as good as it was going to get… and, I would be a brick layer.

That was all predetermined for me by this system of tests that determined presumptions and assignments for courses and how my life was to proceed. My parents were beside themselves that they had given birth to a brick layer.new-chance-1-copy

A New Chance at an IQ Test

It is hard to say what an IQ test is actually measuring. There is a learning process involving one's subconscious. It is the subconscious that learns how to ride a bicycle or drive a car. It is the subconscious that calculates all the movement and probabilities of things in one's vision when driving a car and what impact they will/can have on you.

The subconscious is very smart and very quick but it learns something new based on importance, on allowance, on demand and service goals, and on being relaxed or not. The subconscious is holistic, picture-based, image-based, and not a step-by-step conscious-learning processor at all.


Apply for Me to Go to a Military Academy

Then, they took me to a private military school to see if I could respond to school in a "disciplined" environment. To them it was all about discipline and personal self-control. I lacked personal discipline in their eyes and their focus was on my being obstinate about disciplining myself.

If I just applied myself I would do better. They always treated this as this type of self-discipline-apply-yourself-situation. My oldest brother had graduated from MIT with an engineering degree and he was the example of self-discipline and the wonders of its rewards… I suppose he was.

You can see how I was set up to be anti-discipline or anti-self-controlled or anti-apply-yourself oriented. But, it is important to note here that it is a common part of being a teenager to be rebellious. This anti-discipline orientation was not actually rebellious.

I just set out to solve my own problems without stopping to ask how others did it. Often, if I did get their input, their only answer was "apply yourself and self discipline" and that was it. Those two ideas are not actually a solution to a problem at all. It was not rebellious, it was problem solving... on my own.


Self Discipline, But How?

I could not discipline myself except with internal negative judgments and those combined with my parents’ negative pressure was very difficult to deal with. And, that difficulty was based in having a life’s situation where you basically have no idea at all how to solve a problem and everyone around you knows but actually offers no real solution either except that self-discipline would do the trick.

I would suggest that to a person with ADHD/Dyslexia, self-discipline is not an answer and not a course of action at all. The best analogy for this is: if I took you and plopped you into Siberia and told you to pass some test in Russian and said to you: “Self discipline, you need self discipline” as the way to pass a test in Russian (and you do not speak any Russian at all – not to even say “hello.”) Oh, and the test is this afternoon, by the way… “you need self-discipline and your whole life’s future depends on it!")


So, there I was in a room alone. I was given the same type of IQ test at this military school as I had been given several times before. And there was no one else in the room but me. Before, I had been in a group of 25 or so other kids. Now I was alone. I was given the test papers and told how to indicate my answers on the paper and the test-monitor walked out and left me alone.

And, somewhere inside me, I just gave up. I did not care anymore if I did well or not. In fact, I did not want to go to a military school anyway so passing this test with a good score was not important to me. I just did not care. So, with no internal pressure “to do good” I just looked at the first question. And, I did a “OH!” it is the difference between the numbers in the progression that had a clear progression and now I could see clearly what the “next number was.” Piece of cake. I got it. BUT, I have dyslexia (I did not know that then) and the test-taking-rule specifically stated that I could only write the answer on the answer-sheet and NOT use any other writing, note taking or jotting things down during any intermediate steps.


A note about the above image: even without actually having colors, I "may" add color (or not) and the sizes often relate to the perceptual importance of the shape rather than the number's value. The background image, not anywhere actually present in the whole endeavor, is added by my perceptual-process when it is bored (bored meaning: "you have lost my attention".) And the perceptual mechanism of adding a picture makes it "interesting" even though irrelevant. Now, holding the just above number-cartoon image in mind, imagine holding the difference between numbers shown and doing a calculation to find the progression... imagine my doing that without my writing intermediate steps down... not going to happen.

But, I was alone. And, dyslexia makes it nearly impossible to hold numbers in my mind in any order or step-by-step process. Numbers were like letters, they could come forward or recede depending on their shapes. So, some numbers just disappeared in importance altogether. And there was a sort-of tendency toward their gently moving around too.

So, in any one moment the order of the differences between the numbers could change. Holding a set of numbers in my mind's eye was not possible, not, that is, to remain useful or effective at the task at hand. So, I wrote down the difference between the first 2, next 2 and next 2 and so on. I WROTE IT DOWN and that made it possible to see the progression. Then the "next number" I was supposed to have an answer for was obvious. When completed, I erased those intermediate written numbers.

I then violated the test-rules again and went through the whole test answering that numbers-sequence-next-number-IS_________??? and did them all while I was HOT. That was now a fast paced thing to do. And, I had a sense of triumph about it. I was elated! I now knew what it was about and how to do those types of queries easily. It was even fun.

Now to step backwards a bit: IQ tests are supposed to measure intelligence, to measure problem solving ability and how to see meaning and mutual relevance in things where it is hidden in the "meta" data (the differences between a shown set of numbers is "meta data." "Meta Data" is often not visible and exists as an idea only but is not actually shown as in: the set of numbers can have an average but the average is "meta data" and has to be calculated to be "real.")

This would be the layman's assignment of meaning to the IQ test. To the creators of IQ tests, they live in a world of their own with language, metaphors, concepts which only they know and handle. The "real world" lives with: "IQ test shows if you are smart or dumb"... period! "Should we put you in shop class or pre-college classes?"

But, for whatever reasons the test creators had in mind, they imposed an order or a method or a requirement that you prove that you can solve the questions only within their set of imposed conditions. They imposed:

  1. No use of a pencil to write things down in the interim.
  2. Had to answer all questions in the order in which they were asked on the test thereby mixing mental focuses.
  3. That meant that you could not get "HOT" in an answer technique or process because it was interrupted by the question of a different type altogether. 
  4. And there were disciplinarians or test monitors who enforced those rules except in my last test-taking case when I was left alone... there was no supervisor at all.

I would suggest that I was being very intelligent indeed, just not following the orthodoxy at all, though. Left alone, I could violate the imposed-order-process and do it my way, not the "imposed" way. And, for me, MY way worked very, very well. Please keep in mind that I was not rebelling, I was merely responding to a problem using the tools I had at hand IN MY WAY OF DOING IT.

And, for that test, I got a very high IQ... very high.

And no one believed it!

The more I ponder this test-procedure-imposition the more I wonder about it. Why impose these rules about how to go about answering the questions? At first I would guess that they were an attempt to "level the playing field" so that everyone was working on the same basis. I can think of no other valid-appearing answer. But, then, how would that actually accomplish "leveling the playing field?" And why even seek that as a goal? Nowadays, they would disallow the use of cell phone calculators. But, the level playing field now INCLUDES using one's cell phone calculators. It is a new "level-playing-field". Using them would be to level the playing field. Not having access to them would unbalance-the-playing-field.

Try this one:


My first, and ONLY, way to go about dealing with this is to use Excel Spreadsheet and put the numbers in different columns. Then to calculate the differences or find some other "difference" between the numbers in the middle row (the: 72, 56, 42, 30, 20 numbers). I'd then assume that they took the "4" out of the left column to deliberately screw up your thinking process.

It would be absolutely impossible for me to hold those numbers in my imagination and keep them ordered properly, calculate the differences between right column and hold those differences in my mind's eye, "imagine" the "4" corresponding number and then apply the logic to what the "3" equals. Holding assorted "meta data", holding different kinds of "meta data" in my mind's eye (imagination) and finding/calculating a sequence of its own between different rows of meta data is off my mental-stable-picture-ability.

My mental-picture-ability is not STABLE! It is fluid, dynamic, changing, odd, and, only I can learn to deal with it.

I'd use a tool to help me do it. In my world,  choosing an appropriate tool and using it is very smart. Pushing my brain to hold all these numbers in a STABLE mind set and then perform calculations is not possible. And, I think it pushes most people's abilities as well. Engineers use calculation systems, architects use load bearing calculators, civil engineers use twisted torque calculators and NEVER attempt to do in-mind calculations.

Importance: Emotional, Perceptual and by Choice

Please pay attention to the idea of “importance” because it plays a significant role in understanding ADHD/Dyslexia and how it functions – there is a perceptual process that uses different “importance algorithms” from other people. “Importance” operates differently from other people. (I will explain in another article on this blog.)

I went through the test and did all the numerical-progression questions at one time. The test rules said not  to do that, you had to answer the IQ questions in the sequence as presented. Well, no one was there, so I did it MY way. I answered all the numerical sequential questions in one go. I was totally tuned into that kind of question.

I then went back to the start page, looked at the second type of question, and realized that “A was to B and therefore D is to _____” had a simple logic to it. And, I had an “OH!” and did all those questions in sequence too.

In addition, I proceeded to address all the types of questions in this manner. I finished the test with 10 minutes to spare, went back, and checked all my answers a second time. I had never finished an IQ test completely before. I answered all types-of-questions together as a block because I was “hot” and I “got it” and “could easily do it.”

Note: if you want to get and hold a dyslectic's attention you are w-a-y off the mark by attempting to have letters be building blocks of words. You have to engage the colorful, the moving, the fun, the giggle of the process and THAT engages their attention. Not the "logic" of letters are the building blocks of words... no, actually they are not.

MEANING is the building block of it all.

I can hold many meanings in my mind at one time even if they are mutually contradictory because I can put a "hold" on contradiction. I can deal with cognitive dissonance without getting stuck in it.

I also had to erase the penciled-in numbers I wrote between the number sequences that showed me the differences between the printed numbers and therefore the obvious “next number.” I HAD to write in those numbers because I cannot hold numbers in order in my head. If I MUST do that then I flunk that question-type because I cannot hold a sequence of ordered numbers in my head… period… NOT doable (that is the dyslexia in this case.)

But, I was alone in the room and I wrote the numbers in, answered the “next number” and then erased the penciled-in numbers. Remember, there are two kinds of numbers in this instance: actual printed numbers, and "meta data" imaginary numbers. It is not that a dyslectic cannot deal with imaginary numbers just that they are not stable and fixed in the mind's eye.

I then got an IQ that was w-a-y beyond normal. It was very high, well into the genius category.

Then comes the necessary
disbelief from everyone

No one goes from 85 IQ to way significantly higher in one leap… no one. So, I must have cheated… somehow. Which adds the final knock to the process because leap learning often, after the leap, is just not believed and therefore assumed to be a cheat.

So, in triumph at finally "getting it and getting it really well" you get disbelief from others, negative judgment because the only explanation holds no room for "LEAP LEARNING." . So on one hand, you can say: "aw shucks" life sucks. Or, see it as just one more case of taking joy in one's own achievements and never mind the approvals/disapprovals. It is why dyslexics go off on their own.

But, no one could say how. So, the results were “sort of” accepted and I was considered to be a fluke. Of course, they even said: “I did not actually have that newer and higher IQ, everyone ‘knew’ that.” But, I was not a near moron either. And, note their total lack of curiosity about it. Not one question!!! "How'd you do that???"

This is another example of “Leap Learning.”

All the way from near-moron to genius in one gigantic leap. Most people in school administrations did not believe it was real. But, there it was and they had no explanation except to question my honesty.

I was rather pleased with myself.


If you stop to think about it: I was told that self-discipline was how to deal with this. So, I actually did exercise self-discipline but not how they were thinking it should be. Instead, I created my own invention. And to me, that is what Leap Learning is – a leap right out of the box.

This was not the end of learning problems but it changed the course of the future and that was a leap.

It accounted for my huge success on Wall Street simply because everyone else was "over there" doing what they were told and I was "over here" doing my own thing... never stopped to ask what they were doing because, in truth, I didn't care. Not a rebellious not caring, an attention looking elsewhere not caring.

© copyright – all rights reserved – Skyborough Publishing – Mar 2009

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