Teachers -- school me in "verbal"

Reply Tue 5 Aug, 2008 07:00 pm
If you have a kid in your class who is a verbal learner -- one who has a non verbal learning disability, what do you do to help them?

What would you ask the parents to do to help make the child more successful in school and to make your job easier?

How do you make a lesson (for example, a lesson on counting money, telling time, spelling, that kind of thing) more verbal?

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Type: Discussion • Score: 7 • Views: 8,028 • Replies: 119

Reply Tue 5 Aug, 2008 07:30 pm

(I'm not real clear on this, but I'll be back with what I know and I'll do some research too)
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Reply Tue 5 Aug, 2008 08:22 pm
Looking forward to what you come up with, Teach!

I've done some reading on it today and I'm still very unclear about what's what.
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Reply Tue 5 Aug, 2008 08:35 pm
What about captioned instructional video on the various subjects? This way he'd be getting input to almost all the senses through pictures, narration and reading?

If that sounds like something that would be helpful, there are a lot of resourses in the ASL sites for children. Soz might have some recommendations too.

Lots of the PBS children's programming would probably be good for this too, and I believe many of their programs are available on captioned video.
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Reply Tue 5 Aug, 2008 08:39 pm
So, what I know about NVLD. The disability is based on difficulty in understanding inferentially. Understand that this is a fairly vague diagnosis. There's overlap with other diagnosises and many of the behaviors have a wide range of normalcy in the general population.

These guys can't pick up on non-verbal cues because they have to make inferences about what the person is feeling/thinking. When a child is holding his favorite toy close to his chest and turning away from grasping hands of others, many LD kids don't get that they don't want to share. It's not just kids with NVLD, but they do have this problem.

They have a hard time with reading comprehension because they have to use inferential thinking to read between the lines. The NVLD kid will read a story about a boy who goes fishing with his grandpa and catches a fish and that will be that. Other kids might pick up on nuances about how little time the grandpa and boy have together as the GP ages. Or how the boy's father and GP's son isn't there and why do you think that is? Themes might be hard for him if they aren't explicit. Symbolism will be a bitch (though it is for many of us!). Reading fluency considers not only the skill of reading the printed word, but also the ability to respond to explicit AND implicit questions after reading. There will be a big difference between his oral reading ability and his ability to explain the text in a deeper, overarching way.

Abstract thinking is right there with inferencing. So, conceptual math will be hard. NVLD kids often learn best by rote learning. Learning dates, math facts, info by oral instruction is better often.

Back to the OT. OT can help him in many ways. His handwriting can improve with practice (is this a problem?). There are several writing programs used to help a host of LD students. Practice does help. One kid in last year's class did handwriting for homework every week. The OT can also improve coordination if he's lacking there. They can strengthen the connection between the left and right brain by doing physical activities that force action and movement across the body's meridian line. So..... picking up items on the left side of the body with the right hand and putting them in a container on the right side of the body.

Math: whenever at all possible I'd use manipulative tools for math. Remember twiddly-winks? Those little plastic chips are great counters. seven plus 5 becomes much easier when you can count chips. Also, use a number grid (1-100). Counting can be done forwards or backwards for addition and subtraction. You can add and subtract by ones or tens. Draw a little diagram to remind him on the number grid (I hope that translates). flash cards for math facts might help.

-1 <x> +1

Modeling for reading. Read out loud and model abstract thinking. Make connections with self (they went to the museum - we went to the museum!), make guesses and predictions (hmmm, what do you think might happen next? Does that seem reasonable? Should we keep reading to find out), make connections to earlier predictions (hey! you were right! Or Hey that's not what we expected!. And try to stretch out his inferential thinking. Model it, explain it.

Social cues: point out what a playmate is doing. Do you see how he's turning away and holding his toy close to his chest? He's telling you without words that he doesn't want to share. Flash cards with emoticons (in effect) can help him start to think about people's social cueing. Is this (smiley) face happy or sad? How do you know? How do think that person feels?
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Reply Tue 5 Aug, 2008 08:43 pm
Oy, that's a lot of ramble!

coinage - money - use really money. In school we count up every day of school (to 180) in change and straws. By second grade, they are counting change in two different combinations. They use the straws to teach place-value. One straw per day in the ones pouch, once you have ten, you bundle them and stick them as a unit in the tens pouch, once you hit a hundred, you bundle the ten tens and ......
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Reply Tue 5 Aug, 2008 09:10 pm
Maybeso, in education. In law, a verbal contract can be either oral or written. So much for confusion. . . .
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Reply Tue 5 Aug, 2008 10:00 pm
I think the term "verbal" is misleading. The problem isn't that the kid is non-verbal but that they are only verbal; they don't need to learn how to say things but they need to learn other ways of doing things that don't require words.

Here's a couple of examples from our evaluation yesterday:

At one point the psych gave Mo a set of odd shaped blocks and told him to replicate paterns. He would start in:

Is that supposed to be a scorpion? I can make a better scorpion than that.

The psyche would say it didn't matter. He just needed to try to replicate the pattern.

He couldn't get started unless he knew what it was supposed to be.

Is that supposed to be a bat?

It doesn't matter.

Because if it's supposed to be a bat then it would be the other way and it would have legs.

And so on.

In another test he was supposed to show how to use scissors or a straw or some other object.

He would say -- to use scissors you hold them like this in your hand and you open and close your hand and you cut paper that way.


You put the straw in the glass and then you hold your mouth to the straw and then you suck in and....

The psyche would say No. Show me. Pretend you're doing it and show me how to do it.

He was baffled by this and it took him a while to figure out what she wanted him to do, even though her instructinons were clear.

So, the kid is verbal but the lessons at school aren't geared towards kids being verbal.

What I'm trying to figure out is how to help Mo, who is very verbal, to learn to do things in other ways.

littlek, what your saying about social things is spot on.

And the reading comprehension. The "impossible story" thing left Mo really bewildered.

Yes his handwriting is a mess but he is very coordinated on big things. Funny. He rode a bike at two, a motorcycle at 6 but he has a hard time writing out the alphabet.

The memory drills are an excellent idea! I just need to find a way to intergrate his style into the drills without him getting "hopless" about it.

Any ideas on that?

Thanks all!
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Reply Wed 6 Aug, 2008 04:02 am
Butting in for a second. Sports coordination -- things done with both sides of the body -- here are a few ideas:
* frisbee, and try to help him to catch and throw with either hand
* baseball: bat from both sides of the plate, maybe try to throw with either hand (er, use a softer ball as control with the nondominant hand will be bad, so it'll be safer)
* bowling: you need to not only roll the ball but you need to pay attention to steps and often work either side of the lane
* hockey: try the stick on either side, try playing goalie and defending either side of the net
* soccer: see hockey
* basketball: try dribbling with either hand, or shooting from various parts of the court

Hope this helps.
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Reply Wed 6 Aug, 2008 08:37 am
I'm confused in that when I hear someone is a verbal learner, it seems to me that s/he would have an advantage over someone who was a more visual or kinesthetic learner. When I think of a verbal learner, I think of someone who can listen to a direction and follow it, as opposed to someone who must also have written, visual or tactile cues.

So when Mo was told to look at something and replicate it - he asked the facilitator to just TELL him - 'What do you want me to do/draw?' meaning he is able to take the direction verbally and follow it.

My son is a very verbal learner. He can hear a set of directions once and follow it while I am a visual learner and as someone is telling me the directions I'm either drawing them myself for later or asking the person to SHOW me on a map.

With the special needs students (many just behavioral) that I taught, we did an initial assessment to ascertain their primary learning style (most people are combinations of verbal, visual and kinsthetic) and then taught our lessons accordingly.

I always spoke, wrote, and tried to provide hands-on activities to cover each learning mode. I was working with adults though - so the hands-on stuff had to be fairly sophisticated- we did a lot of graphic arts and drawing sort of things. I found the people who were verbal learners to be the easiest to teach. They were capable of taking the words and visualizing the concept - whereas visual learners like myself- needed to be told AND shown.
I would have found the tasks Mo was given much easier to do as they were presented to him - copying what he saw- then if the person had said simply, 'draw a bat'.
Mo, on the other hand just wanted the person to tell him what he was supposed to do/draw. I've often wished I could do what Mo and my son seem able to do.

Terms change all the time. Is a verbal learner the same thing as an aural (or oral learner?) - I think this just means s/he is able to learn and integrate through hearing the spoken word. If anything I'd look at that as a strength - especially since that is what most teachers do and how they teach on a day to day basis and will become increasingly the norm as he progresses through the grades at school.

Also fine motor and gross motor skills often have little relation to one another. Early walking and easily apparent athleticism have little to do with handwriting. And a lot of boys have sucky handwriting - now moreso than ever as computers and typing have taken the place of actually writing and penmanship is no longer a part of most curriculums.
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Reply Wed 6 Aug, 2008 08:56 am
Bookmark. This is interesting.

I know. You need to send Mo to Italy where he can spend weeks talking with hand gestures!

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Reply Wed 6 Aug, 2008 09:58 am
So when Mo was told to look at something and replicate it - he asked the facilitator to just TELL him - 'What do you want me to do/draw?' meaning he is able to take the direction verbally and follow it.

No.... hmmm.... how to explain.....

He couldn't take the instruction and do it. He had to talk the solution instead of do the solution. He could tell her how to use scissors but he had a hard time showing her how to use scissors.

He can hear a set of directions and understand them but he has to talk the answer instead of do the answer.

High Seas sent me a great article about this stuff yesterday I'm going to pull some ideas out of it because it was explained so well.....

I understand intellectually that big motor skills and small motor skills are two different things but to me it just doesn't make much sense.

Because he is good at sports making him switch hands makes sense in getting him to engage in a different way. I'm going to try some of that.
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Reply Wed 6 Aug, 2008 10:14 am
This is from the NLD Association website:

What Is NLD?
NLD is a neurological disorder which originates in the right hemisphere of the brain. Reception of nonverbal or performance-based information governed by this hemisphere is impaired in varying degrees, causing problems with visual-spatial, intuitive, organizational, evaluative, and holistic processing functions.

The syndrome of Nonverbal Learning Disorders (NLD) consists of specific assets and deficits.

The assets include:

Early speech and vocabulary development
Remarkable rote memory skills
Attention to detail
Early development of reading skills and excellent spelling skills
Eloquent verbal ability
Strong auditory retention
The three categories of deficits are:

Motoric: lack of coordination, problems with balance and graphomotor skills
Visual-spatial-organizational: lack of image, poor visual recall, faulty spatial perception, and difficulty with spatial relations
Social: inability to comprehend nonverbal communication, difficulty adjusting to transitions and novel situations, and deficits in social judgment

People with NLD can be affected in varied levels of severity in each of the categories, so that each person with NLD presents a unique clinical, behavioral, and educational picture. People with NLD can be helped by many forms of therapy, but their world is filled with confusing sensory stimuli. For some, their physical endurance is challenged by generally low muscle tone. Some need support throughout life with cognitive and organizational skills, motor skill development, pragmatics and social skills.

Children with NLD have advanced verbal and auditory memory. Some are precocious readers with advanced vocabularies. Nevertheless, NLD is a problem of language. People with NLD have rote language skills but when it comes to functional daily use of language, they have difficulties with tone of voice, inference, written expression, facial expression, gestures, and other areas of pragmatic speech.

People with NLD have difficulty understanding patterns and lining up columns of numbers. Spoken instructions can be troublesome due to difficulty picturing consecutive directions and poor visual memory. NLD can also affect coordination, causing clumsiness, poor balance and a tendency to fall. Many people with NLD have poor safety judgment.

We are not sure what causes NLD, but we know that the earlier the intervention, the better the prognosis.

I guess my question is ....

If you had a student to whom "spoken instructions can be troublesome due to difficulty picturing consecutive directions and poor visual memory"

....what whoud you do to help them?

... what would you like the parent to do to make your job easier?
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Reply Wed 6 Aug, 2008 11:13 am
Break it down.

Give the entire set of directions first so he knows what the end point is (Is that supposed to be a bat? comes to mind) or tell him the end-point/goal at the onset.

Write the directions down - so they're bulleted.

Stress the concept of one-step-at-a-time.

Check off the steps as they are completed.

Teachers should be used to this. In a classroom, most directions are written at the top of a worksheet. Sometimes directions are written on the board. Some older work sheets don't have really explicit directions. You as the home work helper at home can write some direction down.

I don't know a lot of physical detail about Mo, but I can guess at some things (like the social bits). No two kids with the same label (whatever the label is) are exactly the same. Of course.

Make signs. Laminate them if you can.

A procedure of what do do when he gets home:
1. Take homework and snack bag out of backpack
2. Put back pack on hook in kitchen
3. Place snack bag on kitchen counter
4. Place homework on kitchen table
5. Hang coat up on hook in kitchen

A list of procedure for when he gets to the classroom:
1. Open backpack
2. Remove homework and place on desk
3. Take out snack and put inside desk
4. Take off jacket and put in backpack
5. Put backpack away in cubby
6. Take out a pencil and sit down at desk

Be really explicit. Make sure you know the procedure at school before writing up a list like that. Does the snack go in the desk, the cubby or the locker? Where are they supposed to put the homework? Don't make it so that he's running back and forward doing the steps in one order when another order would be more efficient.

The list will become obsolete, most likely, once this becomes habit. Never have too many lists going at once. Prioritize.

Also this can be done with photographs. This is for kids who have a hard time organizing themselves. This may or may not be Mo.
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Reply Wed 6 Aug, 2008 11:18 am
Everything I've thought of so far littlek has covered (plus a lot that I haven't thought of -- great job littlek). This isn't a label I know a lot about so still have to familiarize myself with it more, maybe will think of more later.

Really good to see some stuff happening, identifications with allied instructions on how to best handle it.
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Reply Wed 6 Aug, 2008 11:23 am
It's not a label many people know a lot about. It's a pretty vague and over-lapping diagnosis.
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Reply Wed 6 Aug, 2008 12:16 pm
boomerang wrote:
In another test he was supposed to show how to use scissors or a straw or some other object.

He would say -- to use scissors you hold them like this in your hand and you open and close your hand and you cut paper that way.


You put the straw in the glass and then you hold your mouth to the straw and then you suck in and....

The psyche would say No. Show me. Pretend you're doing it and show me how to do it.

He was baffled by this and it took him a while to figure out what she wanted him to do, even though her instructinons were clear.

You mean, this person is asking the kid to pretend to drink a virtual soda through an imaginary straw, and nobody understands why Mo is baffled? Maybe he and I have the same problem.

Boomerang, let me know if I seem disruptive here, and I'll go away. I do admit I don't know what's going on here.
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Reply Wed 6 Aug, 2008 01:03 pm
Roger, I for one, like your presence here. I need to try to understand all points of view.
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Reply Wed 6 Aug, 2008 01:07 pm
Thank you
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Reply Wed 6 Aug, 2008 01:15 pm
Of course you're welcome here, roger.

The straw thing was really funny. Mo loves drinking from straws and he is a champion in make believe (which he calls fake believe because, you know, it's all fake) so seeing him so baffled by pretending to use a pretend straw was really kind of funny. (I was watching through one of those one way window things -- bizarre in itself.)

The tests were really, really interesting. The way they were given was really interesting. Hopefully when I recieve the reports I will have some kind of understanding of what means what because I don't really know what's going on here either!
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