after a piece at Understood.org by The Understood Team
[O-G reading tutor in Columbus OH 614-579-6021: see below]
Nonverbal Learning Disabilities (NVLD) may be difficult to understand. How about a kid who is very talkative, but can’t hold a conversation? Or a child who can rattle off math facts but has no idea what they mean? A student who reads well, even spells without difficulty, but can’t remember what he’s read to talk about it?
Here are six points to consider.
TALKING, BUT NOT CONNECTING
Children with NVLD can have great vocabularies, quickly picking up words and phrases they read and hear. But then, oddly, they may struggle with casual conversations, especially if the topic isn’t interesting to them. They also may not recognize that another person is not interested in what they are talking about. In addition, they may not know about taking turns and giving another person a chance to speak.
ASKING ABOUT THINGS, BUT NOT EXPLORING
For example, a child may bombard teachers or parents with questions. They may demand information about a new toy, without playing with it to find out how it works. Kids with NVLD often have poor visual-spatial skills. They prefer talking rather than exploring the world around them.
STRONG READING AND SPELLING — BUT POOR COMPREHENSION
Frequently NVLD kids are very good readers; they are good at sounding out letters and words (decoding) and even reading sight words. They are frequently good at spelling. But reading comprehension can be a challenge, and also holding on to meaning. Finding the moral of a story, picking out significant details may be a struggle.
MEMORIZING MATH FACTS, BUT NOT UNDERSTANDING THE CONCEPTS
Since math is based on visual-spatial concepts, kids need to picture how two, and another two, come together to create four. They memorize swiftly and may easily rattle off “two plus two equals four” without understanding how the words connect to the concept. They might also have difficulty understanding numbers in columns, and math problems that include “borrowing” and “carrying.”
MEMORIZING INFORMATION BUT NOT KNOWING HOW TO SHARE IT
These NVLD children have great rote memory skills. They can memorize lots of information without work. But explaining and sharing this information can be a struggle. For example, they might go around a classroom repeating the same thing to many students, even to those who aren’t interested. NVLD children can’t see nonverbal cues, such as posture changes, eye-rolls, sarcastic responses.
NVLD children have lots of strengths, but these strengths can hide underlying challenges. Teachers and parents who are aware of these contradictions have taken the first step toward helping their kids use their strengths, build social skills and improve their reading comprehension abilities.
Be aware that the difference between NVLD and autism spectrum disorders can be tricky. Visit helpful sites — especially the terrific Understood.org — to find out more.
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