Spatial relationships and travel for NLD people

I love living in New York City for many reasons. One that is directly related to my NVLD is that (at least where I live in Manhattan) the streets are (almost) a perfect grid (Broadway wrecks the perfection) and the east-west streets are numbered. After 86 comes 87! When I travel, my NVLD messes me up in some ways.

Of course, some other cities are grids. I’ve visited Chicago many times, and it is mostly a grid. They have a different numbering system there, though, and it’s one that works well for me and my NLD. There is one central spot that is 0. From there, each block north or south adds 100. So, even though the streets are named, not numbered, you can find the distance east or west and the distance north or south and there you go.

But many cities are not grids, and non-urban areas are not grids at all. London, for example, is a big city that is not remotely like a grid. We visited there last year. We got lost, a lot. After a few days our younger son (he was 10 at the time) started helping us out by finding landmarks, but I never did.

In most places, maps help me a lot (for some reason, the maps of London didn’t seem to agree with each other or the actual London). But, if I am using a map, I have to rotate the map so that it is oriented the way I am oriented. I find it much easier to read text that is upside down or otherwise angled than to rotate directions in my head.

This is a good example of a strategy I call “going around the mountain” – that is, instead of trying harder or trying longer, try differently.

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