Nonverbal Learning Disorder is a disorder you may or nay not heard of. It shares similar characteristics to autism such as the challenge in reading body language but is also quite different. By learning the signs and symptoms of nonverbal learning disorder, the better chance you have in using effective teaching strategies.
Nonverbal learning disorder is defines as a person who has difficulty in interpreting and understanding non verbal cues in the environment If 93% of how we communicate is nonverbal, a person with nonverbal learning disorder is only getting 7% of daily communication.
Dr. Byron P. Rouke of the University of Windsor developed the following criteria to assess nonverbal learning disorder:
Perceptual deficits usually on the left side of the body. The child has difficulty understanding or perceiving information through the skin of both hands but the left hand has more difficulty than the right.
Tends to be clumsy
Difficulty with visual-spatial organizational skills. Finds it difficult to organize notes.
Difficulty when encountering new information.
Difficulty in knowing what is expected of you and hard to see the bigger picture
Distort sense of time. Time is abstract and non-linear
Well-developed, rote and verbal capacity
Repetitive way of speaking
Signs and Symptoms
Excellent vocabulary and verbal expression
Excellent memory skills
unable to see the bigger picture
Poor motor and coordination skills
Difficulty with reading
Difficulty with math reading problems
Fear of new situations
May have symptoms of anxiety, depression
Misreads body language
Better auditory processing skills than visual processing skills
Focus on details
Teaching Strategies For Parents and Teachers
Give assignments in chunks
Give constructive feedback
Create a daily class routine and stick to them
Write the class schedule on the board
Provide several verbal cues before transition
Give the student time to preview and prepare for new activities such as group projects
Offer added verbal explanations when the student or child seems confused
Teach in sequential steps
Rondalyn Varney Whitney/OTR, Nonverbal learning disorder: Understanding and coping with NLD and Aspergers: What parents and teachers need to know (2008)
Woliver, Robbie (2008) Alphabet Kids: From ADD to Zellwer Syndrome.
Rutgers researchers have developed a tool to help neurologists screen for obstructive sleep apnea in people with epilepsy whose seizures can be magnified by sleep disorders.
The study appears in the journal Neurology Clinical Practice.
Although detection and treatment of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) can improve seizure control in some patients with epilepsy, providers have not regularly assessed patients for those risk factors. The researchers developed an electronic health record alert for neurologists to evaluate a patient’s need for a sleep study.
This study can determine the necessity for treatment, which can result in improved seizure control, reduction in antiepileptic medications and reduce the risk of sudden unexpected death in epilepsy. Click here to read the rest of the story
Tactile difficulties occur when the nervous system dysfunctions and the brain is unable to process information through the senses. Some children and adults with this form of sensory processing disorder will be over sensitive to touch. Between 5 to 13 percent of the population is diagnosed with sensory processing disorder.
Common Signs of Tactile Difficulties
Difficulty with having nails cut or teeth brushed
Becomes upset when hair is washed
Dislikes any clothing with tags including clothes, hats, shoes, and complains about the type of fabric and the style
Dislikes getting their hands dirty or messy
Overreacts when they are touched by other people
Oversensitive to temperature change
Over or under reacts to pain
Prefers deep pressure touch rather than light touch
Avoids messy textures
Prefers pants and long sleeves in hot weather
Eyes may be sensitive to cold wind
Avoids walking barefoot
Avoids standing close to other people
May be anxious when physically close to other people
Strategies for Handling Tactile Defensiveness
Use deep pressure
use weighted items including blankets, vest and backpacks
Seek out an OT
Utilize a sensory diet
Minimize time expected to stand and wait in line by having the child go first or last in line
Allow the child to wear a jacket indoors
Encourage the child to brush his or her body with a natural brush during bath time
Studies show that epilepsy are more common in individuals with autism than the general population. Studies show that in some cases, 20% of people diagnosed with autism also have an epilepsy disorder. Other studies indicate epilepsy prevalence estimates between 5% to 46%.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a complex neurodevelopmental disorder that impacts social, speech, behavioral and motor skills. It is a spectrum disorder meaning it varies from person to person. No two people have the same symptoms. It is estimated that 1% of the population is diagnosed with autism.
Epilepsy is a brain disorder which occurs when neurons in the brain experience a brief interruption causing a seizure to occur. Seizures vary from mild to severe and affects over 3 million Americans. There are different types of seizures:
Generalized Tonic/Clonic- A seizures where the whole brain is affected.
Absence Seizures- Generally start without any warnings. It affects children and last only for a few seconds.
Myoclonic Seizures- Are abrupt jerks of the muscle groups which originate from the spine.
Partial Seizures- The person may look as though he or she is in a trance.
There are many unanswered questions as to why epilepsy is more common in people with autism. There is some evidence the common underlying cause may be both are related to genetic and environmental causes and are both related to some type of brain disorder. Evidence does shoe however individuals with autism and epilepsy have worse behavioral and social outcomes than individuals diagnosed with autism only including issues with motor and daily living skills.
Signs for parents to look out for
May be difficult to determine especially in children diagnosed with severe autism spectrum disorder. Red flags include, staring episodes, stiffening of the body and shaking movements.
A medical evaluation will include brain imaging and an electroencephalogram (EEG).
If you are an educator, be aware that after a seizure, the student will become tired. Allow the student an opportunity to rest.