reflections related to disability advocacy, family and (needed) cultural change
Friday, October 02, 2009
Shedding a Little Light: NVLD Strategies That We Have Tried
Since my son's diagnosis with Non-Verbal Learning Disability in the 4th grade we have done a lot of learning.
When he was diagnosed I turned first to the literature... this turned out to be a huge mistake. Not only is much of the literature distressingly negative (I actually threw one book away so my son would never see it!)The literature also offers pitifully few useful strategies.
I did eventually find a book I liked (see right sidebar.) From this and from our experiences with our daughter we found/developed some things that worked for my son--ways to improve skills and ways to mitigate or accommodate weaknesses.
I know each person is individual, but thought if I shared the way we analyzed situations others could build on them.
1. Begin by trusting yourself and paying attention. You can figure out ways to approach most issues.
2. Analyze your situation. I know, for example, that many of my son's difficulties come from integrating two tasks at once. I know that if I can figure out the words to say he can understand a lot. And I try to know what motivates him--and what doesn't!
3. Figure out specifically what is needed. Somtimes skill practice is in order, sometimes an accommodation is in order--sometimes you go over the mountain, sometimes around.
4. Learn your rights and develop advocacy skills. There are many things you can work on at home, but you will most likely have to negotiate with someone somewhere along the line. This is another learned skill--read, study, practice.
Here are some specifics that maybe you can springboard off of:
Logic and inferencing: -Lots of discussion about what would happen if... -predicting sports, discussing outcomes and what would have been different if... -comment on movies, tv, other situations -storytelling and creative writing
(Remember, your child may process best verbally and may do a lot of their thinking out loud. Don't interrupt or answer too many of their questions too quickly if this is the case. A short answer seems convenient, but stops them thinking. Lots of "Hmmm, that is a good question... what do you think??")
Social practice: -analyze situations out loud -practice scripts for starting conversations in predictable circumstances ie: phone answering, calling someone, etc (this buys time for processing the unfamiliar) -discuss what you see on TV or in movies
Math -explain processes verbally -have them explain their processes verbally -when lost analyze where they got lost--one child I know got terribly stuck because they missed the definition of the words sum and product... lots of lost ground, but a very simple solution in the long run. -Look for teachers who use lots of verbal explanations.
Executive Function (organizing self, work, starting, finishing, analyzing) -Clear bins for storage if visual memory is poor -calendars with alarms -my son can't estimate how long something will take so I tell him he must prioritize by need/due date, (In other words do homework first, don't just leave an hour for it--this is not perfected yet!!!)
These are my ideas. What are some of yours? What strategies have built bridges for you or your child?
The picture is of my son and the Charlotte Lighthouse--not Char-lit like NC, Char-Lot as in part of Rochester.
I am the mother of three, wife of one. I am a Partners in Policymaking graduate and a committed disability advocate. I want to catch up on my scrapbooking, learn more about art-journaling, get my house in order, read all the books I have set aside to read and change the world--not necessarily in that order. The opinions in this blog are my own and not those of any of employers.