The 6 Perceptual Thinking Patterns: How Does Your Child Learn Best? (page 2)

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Updated on Aug 29, 2012

Each type of stimuli matches up with a channel. Based on these stimuli moving the brain from conscious to subconscious to unconscious channels, there are six perceptual thinking patterns:

  1. Kinesthetic, auditory, visual (KAV)
  2. Kinesthetic, visual, auditory (KVA)
  3. Auditory, kinesthetic, visual (AKV)
  4. Auditory, visual, kinesthetic (AVK)
  5. Visual, auditory, kinesthetic (VAK)
  6. Visual, kinesthetic, auditory (VKA)

Each pattern lists the types of stimuli in order, correlating with the conscious channel, subconscious channel and unconscious channel. For example, if your child is a KVA, her conscious is triggered by kinesthetic, her subconscious is triggered by visual, and her unconscious is triggered by auditory stimuli. If your child is a KAV, moving around somehow (kinesthetic stimuli) brings her into the conscious channel, listening to instructions puts her in the subconscious part of her brain, and visual stimuli sends her into her unconscious mind. She may need to tap a foot or squeeze a ball to focus, listen to music to put ideas together, and draw or look at pictures to find her creative space. The following chart breaks down some of the signs that show which stimuli trigger which mental channel for your child.






Learns physical things easily, enjoys athletics, more alert when moving or using hands.

Sorts by trying options or doing something in different ways, pays attention outwardly by moving, inwardly by feeling, can feel and move simultaneously.

Spaces out when touched or moving in a set way, shy or private when expressing through movement, finds it easier to express feelings than pinpoint a sensation, can easily forget how to do something physical.


Remembers things heard easily, comfortable speaking in front of people, has detailed and organized vocabulary, more alert when speaking.

Sorts by talking out loud, pays attention outwardly by speaking and inwardly by listening, can talk and listen simultaneously, dialogues both sides of a conversation internally.

Spaces out when listening to too many words, is shy or private when talking, can easily forget what was said or people’s names, remembers tone of voice.



Remembers things that are seen, comfortable with writing or showing ideas, organizes visually with lists or pictures, aware of visual details, alert when showing or writing something.

Sorts by writing, drawing and visualizing options, can see outer and inner images simultaneously with eyes open, sees two perspectives at once.

Spaces out when looking at something for too long, shy when expressing through writing or drawing, finds it easier to remember big picture ideas than visual details, can easily forget what was read or seen.


More and more schools are embracing these learning patterns. Lucille Callahan, kindergarten teacher at Dallas Elementary School in Dallas, Pennsylvania, was trained to discover the best way her students learn. "It helps provide a good foundation for learning, especially at such an early stage of their education," she says. Observation is key, says Callahan, so start observing to avoid frustration and apathy later on in your kid's education.


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