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Possible nonverbal learning disability?
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Posted: Sun, 12 October 2003 08:17:23
Subject:

Possible nonverbal learning disability?

I have a 5th grade child who is struggling in math, while doing very well in all of his other subjects. Through 3rd grade he did well in all of his subjects and was one of the first in his class to learn his math facts. Starting in fourth grade, however, he began to strugge with concepts requiring number sense, and he's stalled at multiple digit division. Mulitple step problems are difficult and place value seems difficult too. Multiplying or dividing by 1000 is strangely difficult for him.

We had him tested and the results showed a wisc-iii result of 113 verbal and 87 performance. in the performance section a scaled score of 6 in picture completion and 6 in coding (9th percentile) stood out. a follow up testing had a 115/108 score, but showed a low digit span score; another test showed low math reasoning scores and low auditory perception scores. neither psychologist recommended any special interventions for his math education, however.

My child is beginning to get frustrated and discouraged and I think some intervention is needed, but I need some direction. Again, I've been to two psychologists who have not recommended any special interventions for math. Please note that my child is doing very well in all his other classwork and has been well behaved.

Specifically: how should I work with him on his math? What strategies have been successful for teaching math to children with his profile?

Anonymous
Posted: Sun, 12 October 2003 08:51:12
Subject:

Re: Possible nonverbal learning disability?

The diagnosis of nonverbal LD is far greater than difficulties with math; search on NVLD on the web to get an idea of the range of difficulties(inclluding difficulties using language abstractly, social/behavioral concerns, etc.). You might want to formally request that the school do more assessment in math, including the Key Math test to give you an idea of the math achievement level of your child...has he had any standarized state testing(usually given in 4th grade)...how did he do...this would be a measure of how he is learning your state's curriculum. Kids struggle in math for mnay reasons other than a specific LD; attention, teaching style, math curriculum used all play a part.

Hopefully your two psychologsits didn't do the same WISC III test within 2-3 yrs of each other, but did explain the effect of speed on the Performance subtests(ie if he didn't get the bonus pts for speed, the P score would be lower). Pleas consider going back to the psychologist who did the most recent testing for another explaination.

Anonymous
Posted: Sun, 12 October 2003 13:13:18
Subject:

NVLD

My son had similar scores and problems in math, reading and writing.

A non verbal problem can often be a visual motor problem. This was the case with my son.

Interactive metronome helped with the motor and sequencing issues. Vision therapy helped with visual perception and visual spatial areas along with some visual motor integration.

They just tested my son with the non motor test for visual perception. He initiall scored very poorly with his lowest score in the visual spatial area which was in the 1%. All his scores were above 90% after 7 months of vision therapy.

His visual perception is now better than most. There are still visual motor integration issues and some laterality and directional issues. We are still doing vision therapy to address those.

marycas
Posted: Sun, 12 October 2003 13:46:32
Subject:

hi

I think math, more than other areas, can have 'holes' that impede later learning.

I am homeschooling my 6th grader this year-math is NOT his weakness(verbal IS). Every teacher has said he is average to above average in math and he has consistently been a B math student yet my homeschooling showed tremendous weaknesses in fractions and division. Once we reviewed fractions, we moved through curriculum much quicker. We are still working on division-honestly, he can do it but he freezes "oh, no, NOT division"

I think there is a strong possibility he has 'holes' somewhere and needs to go back and relearn. You might consider a homeschooling program for math-it will be cheaper than tutoring and you can be sure you are targeting his area of need

Digit span? There is software called Brainbuilder which targets that skill. Be aware that is ALL is targets. There are no bells and whistles and it sure isnt PlayStation!!!!

But it will pit him against himself to improve his visual and auditory recall of digits by using charts to track his progress. Very simple, straightforward. I would suggest 5-10 min a day or even twice a day. More than 10 minutes would drive you batty ;)

marycas
Posted: Sun, 12 October 2003 13:58:35
Subject:

one more thing

you can print off blocked paper like graph paper that will help him keep his columns and place value straight

http://www.donnayoung.org/math/papers.htm

Anonymous
Posted: Sun, 12 October 2003 14:54:16
Subject:

Re: NVLD

Quote Linda F.:

My son had similar scores and problems in math, reading and writing.

They just tested my son with the non motor test for visual perception. He initiall scored very poorly with his lowest score in the visual spatial area which was in the 1%. All his scores were above 90% after 7 months of vision therapy.

Quote Linda F.:

.

Would this also help improve performance IQ? Have you had that tested since doing these therapies?

Anonymous
Posted: Sun, 12 October 2003 15:08:12
Subject:

performance IQ

I have not had my son's piq tested, yet. I plan too once VT is finished. I suspect that it will be higher based on subjective observations. Also, my son's optometrist told me when we started that his piq would be higher after vision therapy but this was not the case for everyone.

I think his statement had to do with my son's specific deficits and our optometrist's belief in our persistance with sticking with the program.

My son picks up math concepts much more easily now. He finishes homework pretty quickly with little help. It used to take forever and he required tons of help.

I don't think all optometrist address visual perception and visual motor issues. I would discuss this with the doctor before signing on. Some only address visual efficiency skills.

5thgradedad
Posted: Thu, 16 October 2003 22:34:16
Subject:

visual perception, visual motor skills & math

How does visual perception and visual motor skills relate to math? Also, what should I ask the optometrist to check?

Kay
Posted: Fri, 17 October 2003 10:15:19
Subject:

Re: Possible nonverbal learning disability?

My son has a split between verbal and performance IQ of ~25 points with verbal higher. He also had a lot of problem with math computation. He actually is quite talented as far as understanding mathematical concepts. He was diagnosed with an LD in written expression and visual processing. (It also affects his ability to write and spell, although with intensive tutoring that has improved a lot.) There are also some problems with decoding. This was not identified until 5th grade, when the written and computational work load increased tremendously.

What helped? We had an optometrist test his vision and visual tracking. He was given reading glasses (very mild prescription, but helped a lot). He also started using a ruler to follow text, which meant he stopped skipping words or lines in those math word problems. He was also given graph paper (as suggested also by marycas) to do his computational homework with, to keep the numbers lined up.

He's now above grade level in math (9th grade, honor geometry) and doing high B work. He still has to concentrate harder than the average math student to keep those numbers lined up and the homework neat. But, there's hope!

Kay

Anonymous
Posted: Fri, 17 October 2003 11:15:12
Subject:

math

Visual spatial and sequencing skills are two important areas for math. Mel Levine discusses what areas of the brain are important for specific skills in his book, "A Mind At a Time."

Loved that book but my only problem with his approach was that he said, "If you have a child with sequencing difficulties use the visual spatial skills to gain math competency and if the problem is visual spatial use sequencing." His whole book is about working around problems. My son had problems in both sequencing and visual spatial along with a whole host of other visual motor issues so there wasn't any way we could work around his problems.

A good developmental or behavioural optometrist should do a full assessment to tell you what areas are deficient.

I saw a big improvement with sequencing with interactive metronome and visual spatial gains from OT and mostly VT.

My son does well in math now and grasps things easily. He always did well with the big picture concepts but had trouble with basic computation and lining things up properly. I can't tell you the number of times I tried to teach him basic math facts and got no where. We are now working on the times tables and he is flying right through them.

Anonymous
Posted: Sat, 18 October 2003 13:14:26
Subject:

Re: Possible nonverbal learning disability?

There was a recent post on the DyslexiaSupport list at http://groups.yahoo.com that summarizes testing done by a developmental optometrist. It splits out the visual efficiency tests from the visual processing tests. From what I have seen, vision therapy is very helpful for visual efficiency problems but cognitive training programs (Audiblox or PACE) are much more efficient at developing visual processing skills -- once visual efficiency skills are in place.

Nancy