Teaching Strategies For Students With A Nonverbal Learning Disorder

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:

  1. 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.
  2. Tends to be clumsy
  3. Difficulty with visual-spatial organizational skills. Finds it difficult to organize notes.
  4. Difficulty when encountering new information.
  5. Difficulty in knowing what is expected of you and hard to see the bigger picture
  6. Distort sense of time. Time is abstract and non-linear
  7. Well-developed, rote and verbal capacity
  8. 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
  • Well-developed vocabulary
  • 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
  • Minimize transitions
  • Offer added verbal explanations when the student or child seems confused
  • Teach in sequential steps
References

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.

Learning Disabilities of America

Understood

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