Questions and Answers

As we get very close to the end of the school year, any tips, warnings, etc. that you think might be helpful for teachers working with Jane? (Finals, final testing, etc)
On first thought I would say PREVIEW/REVIEW will probably be the most important strategy. Talk, discuss, role model answers and discuss together with her so that Jane is prepared with WORDS that she can express about concepts and ideas on which she will be tested.

The simple things are very! important as well: Lots of real praise when she does well, smiles, patience, making sure she understands the question, directions BEFORE the test and mentor her through her studying with respect, a sense of humor and more role modeling.

No assumptions that she understands just because a teacher told her or because she has a sheet of paper saying her assignment; at the same time no condescension when going over the assignments for the last tests just in case she doesn't really understand some part of the directions. (In other words, don't let WORDS get in the way of her doing her best - either because she doesn't understand or because a teacher doesn't understand what Jane doesn't understand)...
My son has an- SLD in fine motor processing-sometimes can write or draw beautifully -othertimes barely. I am looking for a reference on this to show to the school who thinks it is a compliance or responsiblity issue. When art is taught in a step-by-step, sequential manner (preferably with the steps written out), NLD students not only learn to do the steps well, they sometimes master the lesson. And, they never forget the steps (with their strength of good rote memory) so they can redo the lesson over and over.

As a private tutor, I watched this happen in my NLD student's art class (which she usually hated and in which she felt she could not achieve). The lesson was "How to Draw a Face." First the teacher described (in words) each step and role modeled the process for the class step by step. Next she gave the students a sheet of paper with the same steps written on it. Last she asked the students to follow the steps. My student's art work was excellent as she read each step (sometimes out loud to herself) and followed the directions.

I also watched her do good art work when I gave her a set of cards with cartoons on it. They also had a numbered sequence of steps and what to do in each step to draw the finished product - a cartoon character. She did very well on these and enjoyed them - especially when we discussed each step as she did it.
My son can visualize what he wants to write about and dictate successfully but, if he has to handwrite, he can't think about what to write and how to write at the same time. What techniques can he use to master handwriting for those occasions when it is necessary?
The neural pathways to do both are stressed (overwhelmed) much like a computer that has been given too many commands at once. One "remedy" is to use handwriting only when needed to communicate ideas, look for other strategies to get the ideas down (dictation, computers, etc) and to practice handwriting separate from idea communication.

With practice, the motor aspects of handwriting become automatic which is what's missing now. A good book of ideas and activities to develop handwriting use at home is called Games for Writing by Peggy Kaye - Also, many parents get professional help for handwriting. Rondalyn Whitney, MOT, COTA

How do NLD kids learn math? Is there a good resource or program of instruction?

While my son can do simple computations in his head, it gets to be too much for him when he uses manipulatives. Also, paper and pencil tasks are hard.

Ahh, Math... As an Occupational Therapist, I find these kids learn math when given the information in multisensory ways. Look for what your kid is interested in. My son (who has NLD) learned to carry remainders by figuring out how many tie fighters would be left if Luke Skywalker's Y-wing packed 54 bombs to blow up 37 tie fighters and so on. Then he was motivated and saw the meaning. Themes or roles give them a frame of rules they understand and from that they can learn new information. Possible resources: Mathematical Power by Ruth Parker and Beyond Flashcards.  Also, get away from paper a lot and go to real stuff like in money; we don't do the coins on paper, we get out coins. We don't do 1/2 and 1/4 on paper, we get out pies and cookies and cut up circles and so on... Math has to be concrete and real for NLD kids to understand. "Manipulatives" are objects but are often abstract -- my son hates them.  Rondalyn Whitney, MOT, COTA
My son fits the profile.  Which tests should he be given to get a thorough diagnosis? While there is no definitive set of diagnosis tools, there are a number of interdisciplinary evaluations which will help achieve a thorough diagnosis, including the WISC-III, and perhaps evaluations by an occupational therapist, speech therapist, pediatric neurologist, educational therapist, along with observations by the parents and educators.
Any suggestions on how to get my son/daughter to remember to clean his/her room in the morning? Or just take responsibility for him/herself? This has been a
work in progress.
1. Take a photo of the room in its neat condition. Blow it up to 8X10 (color of course) and put it on the bulletin board in the child's room so that he/she can see it clearly. (The room as a model for what is expected)

2. Make a specific list of 2 or 3 important chores(rather than just say "clean your room"). (For example: 1. Put all dirty clothes in the hamper 2. Put all clean underwear in the underwear drawer 3. Put all books on the shelf)

3. Keep only 3-4 outfits in the room at a time (obviously, the ones he/she wears the most)

4. Keep the room void of clutter with few choices and specific places for everything

5. Make sure there is plenty of time to do the chores so he/she doesn't feel hurried and/or overwhelmed

6. Give deserved praise when any of the directions are followed properly.
I am the parent of a child who has NLD. I have come across a new word, "dyspraxia" (also referred to as "clumsy child syndrome"). Can you please tell me, are these two syndromes synonymous, or are there subtle differences between them? Dyspraxia is also known as Developmental Coordination Disorder (the motoric component of NLD). Everyone who has NLD will have some DCD but not everyone who has DCD has NLD. "Dyspraxia" is the term used in England.
I just received a call saying that the school district was pulling the SLP portion of my son's eval and instead leaving it up to the new evaluator. Would you happen to know if that is standard practice?

Here is one mom's answer:  I don't know what's standard but I would insist that SLP be involved. Because these kids are so verbally advanced, it is assumed that Speech isn't needed. In fact, the speech therapist might be one of the most important players for a child who has difficulty with tone of voice, language formation at an intellectually equivalent level, pragmatics, etc. I would insist it stay in if I were you. I think the speech person and OT were the two most impressive professionals who had the greatest impact on our son's success.
My son/daughter has many of the indications of NLD; however, he/she is an excellent athlete (basketball in particular) and has no noticeable gross motor problems. Is this a rule out for NLD? According to the experts, the written features and descriptions of NLD children "does not represent a comprehensive picture of the syndrome."  In fact, every child has his own NLD profile with his own range and combination of assets and deficits, strengths and weaknesses.  Of course each profile and the assets and deficits that go with it will produce its own unique NLD child.
We were told we should not pursue NLD as a diagnosis because there is no such thing in the regulations and therefore if such a diagnosis were made,  our child would be found ineligible for Special Ed help. Under federal law, every state has an OHI (Other Health Impaired) classification and NLD is a neurological disorder which can fall under this category. It must be determined that NLD impacts the student's ability to function in school. A neurologist can certainly help make this assessment.

Examples of how NLD impacts some students:

  • can't adapt to new situations
  • can't find their way around the campus
  • can't analyze
  • can't organize
  • can't generalize information

Like ADD, one must show an OHI to demonstrate how NLD impacts the school functioning of the child.

If a district is not familiar with these regulations or with this learning disorder, some parents have written to say that it has been helpful to enlist the aid of a special education advocate or an attorney who specializes in this area.

We know you realize that NLDline can only share general information and can not make specific determinations regarding Internet inquiries.  

Why does my child have a constant monologue when he speaks?  Why so many questions? Remember this child learns through verbal mediation.  He doesn't learn through observation or trial and error.  A good way to look at it is:  If he's not talking, he's not learning. This should help you to appreciate his constant questions and monologues.
Who makes up the team that works with my child? Here is a list of people who might be part of the team: educational psychologist, neuropsychologist, pediatrician, neurologist, developmental pediatrician, physical therapist (PT), occupational therapist (OT), occupational therapist specializing in sensory integration (SI), adaptive PE teacher, educational consultants, educational therapists, speech pathologist, optometrist for visual exercises
How do I help my NLD child organize in terms of his/her school environment? Demand the IEP allows time from the LD teacher to work with the child after school with organization of the child's desk

Take a photo of the organized desk to allow the child to see how the desk can accommodate all the materials

Provide an overflow basket for materials which cannot fit easily into the desk

Why is doing puzzles so hard for my child?   She uses trial and error and I was told to help her find all the straight-edged pieces but this is hard.  She doesn't look at the picture that the puzzle makes. She probably does not process information simultaneously and does not take in the "whole picture."  This is why it does not help her to see the picture of the puzzle, but rather it confuses her.   However many children with NLD are very detail oriented.  They like honing in on the tiny visual details and match up the pieces this way. 

The straight edges don't help because they don't see the picture as a "whole" but rather as a series of details.

Also, tactile discrimination is also poor for NLD children and she is probably not responding to "feeling the pieces"; rather she is w\most likely working from visual details, not the shapes of the pieces.

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