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Summary of Tips and Strategies for Meeting the Child with NVLD’s Needs in the Classroom. General Classroom Tips. Minimize the number of adults working with this student. Communicate and collaborate daily.
Summary of Tips and Strategies for Meeting the Child with NVLD’s Needs in the Classroom
General Classroom Tips • Minimize the number of adults working with this student. Communicate and collaborate daily. • Analyze student strengths and interests. This student learns through discussion. Don’t isolate. • Monitor organizational skills daily. An assignment notebook helps organize and individualize • Define processes in a linear, sequential format that can be memorized. (Don’t expect “discovery” learning.)
Monitor and adjust assignments on a daily basis. Use alternate testing procedures as needed. Timed assignments only produce stress. Allow closure before moving to the next activity. • Previewing and supplemental aids (such as study guides, outlines, and audiocassettes of the material to be covered in class.) allow this student to receive the maximum benefit from classroom instruction. • A positive attitude, enthusiasm for teaching, a sense of humor, and the willingness to make changes and adjustments in program are key components of a successful staff!
Reading Curriculum • This student should excel in reading programs which apply a guided, sequential, phonetic/linguistic approach to reading. Auditory cues will help this child learn new words. • A sequential approach is important. Make sure the student is allowed to move forward quickly once the required material is learned. • In the upper grades, provide outlines and notes of any material to be read. Allow this student to highlight these notes. Have the special education department purchase consumable texts for this student to mark in.
Comprehension difficulties will arise from hidden meanings. Teach and stress reading comprehension. Step-by-step guidance will be needed to help this student formulate answers to questions which are open-ended. • Allow extra time for reading assignments because of slow processing and visual-spatial difficulties. Don’t require long stretches of continuous reading. Visual fatigue can result. Strive to minimize the number and length of reading assignments.
Written Language Curriculum • Written language calls on both right and left hemisphere functions. NLD is known to cause problems putting thoughts in writing. • An incapacity to cross information beween the left and right hemispheres of the brain contributes to difficulty putting creative thoughts into writing. • The student has inadequate resources to even begin a typical, grade-appropriate writing assignment. It may take him 10 minutes just to put his pencil to the paper. • Break down all written assignments and reports into the smallest possible component parts. Gradually work toward decreasing the mount of structure you provide.
Always look at the quality of a completed written assignment, rather than the quantity produced. • If the goal of the assignment isn’t written language, allow the student to demonstrate his knowledge in an alternate format. • Provide the student with a word processor or computer to use on all lengthy written assignments.
Mathematics Curriculum • The visual-spatial nature of math activities often confuses the student with NLD. Problems arise in the areas of spatial organization, visual relationships, graphomotor deficiencies, and failure to generalize. • A step-by-step, structured, sequential, approach will work best. Point out the similarities to this student that other students discover on their own. Don’t ask this student to study an example in the text before you have given him a detailed verbal description of the process being illustrated. • Math instruction should not rely soleyly on drawings, diagrams, charts, and other visual displays. When demonstrating a new concept, explain each step in its sequential order verbally to the student.
Visual/tactile manipulatives add to this child’s visual-spatial confusion, while at the same time. Accentuating his poor planning abilities and fine-motor difficulties. • Math texts that rely upon lots of color and pictures can overwhelm the student. A simple layout with black-and-white text will be less visually confusing. • Purchase a consumable math text. Provide the student with graph paper to line up his columns and spaces and to help him organize his work. • When presenting word problems, leave out and irrelevant information • Timed tests cause frustration and anxiety because of visual-spatial-organizational difficulties and because of slow processing. Ideally, timed tests should be eliminated.
Sequential computer programs can be used in place of timed tests. The student should be provided with earphones. • Separate the written aspect of math instruction from the actual learning process. • The most difficult area of math is undoubtably geometry. Multi-dimensional geometry is a real killer because of muddled plane integration. If possible, have the student skip geometry and continue with advanced algebra instruction instead.
Spelling Curriculum • Spelling errors are usually phonetically accurate. Misspelled words are easily recognizable. • Don’t ask this child to copy his spelling words from the chalkboard or to write them 10 times each. Repetitious writing won’t reinforce his knowledge of a word’s spelling. • This student may need parallel activities to practice spelling. Words presented visually should be supplemented with auditory prompting. Don’t rely on visually confusing spelling reinforcement activities such as Bingo and word hunts.
Rhymes and songs can be taught to help this student remember the correct sequence of letters. Instead of paper and pencil tasks, let him practice his spelling words orally, or on tape. • Once the child knows how to spell a word, excessive repetition isn’t necessary. Allow him to move on. • Although spelling instruction may prove redundant, let his child take spelling tests with his peers. Give him this chance to shine.
Organizational and Study Skills • The student with NLD is usually highly capable of completing assignments that have been modified and adapted to his needs. But all too often, he doesn’t know how to get started, he loses or misplaces his work, or he gets too bogged down with details. His classroom must be set up to accommodate these areas of need. • Check to make sure the classroom environment isn’t too visually stimulating. An “open” classroom will probably prove to be too confusing. • Write the daily schedule on the board each day and try to always follow it. Allow extra time for transitions.
Provide the student with a simple map of the school. Teach the student to use self-talk to keep organized. Don’t give him multi-step directions because he can’t visualize and will only become confused.