Once the disorder is recognized, targeted interventions can improve the outlook for students and educators.
As with most learning disabilities and neurological disorders, nonverbal learning disabilities cover a broad continuum from mild to severe, with no two students showing identical behaviors.
In its most severe form, the functional presentation of the disorder is virtually indistinguishable from Asperger’s syndrome and high-functioning autism. It is the student with a milder form who may be perplexing to local school personnel.
Lacking an understanding of the disorder, they may see a student who is extremely capable in some ways and extremely difficult in others. Teachers may believe initially that the student is purposefully controlling, stubborn, or emotionally disturbed. Behaviors may easily be misinterpreted as oppositional, mean-spirited, and sarcastic. Ironically, students with a nonverbal learning disability have deficits in the very areas that would make sarcasm possible, and they do not have the type and breadth of knowledge expected of students their age. Because they have so many experiences in which others respond to them in ways that do not make sense to them, they have learned to live with and to expect disconnection.
In turn, they frequently give responses that make no sense. Because school plays such a crucial role in a students life, a private specialty program or school may be in your child’s best interest. The impairments related to a nonverbal learning disability manifest themselves in seven main categories of deficits:
- Behavioral – rigid behavior; difficulty with novelty and transition
- Cognitive processing – difficulty understanding connections between and among independent factors and relating these to the whole; difficulty understanding the “big picture”
- Language – flat tone of voice; difficulty understanding humor, multiple meanings of words, and nuances of language
- Motor – lack of coordination and small-motor skills related to handwriting
- Social – deficits in social understanding
- Visual-spatial – difficulty with visual-spatial organization, perception, and imaging
- Emotional – at high risk for anxiety disorder, panic attack, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and, in some cases, suicide
Most of the private speciality schools for LD and NLD are small, fully accredited, coeducational or single gender boarding schools. Many limit their focus to just 90 students or less in order to provide the attention and service these students deserve. These “family style” 24/7 schools are uniquely designed to foster independence and responsibility. Where other local schools may have failed students, these specialty schools for NLD and LD students deliver success.
Many students go on to college, find fulfilling careers, and become successful entrepreneurs.
Horizon Family Solutions has been successfully matching children with the best fit specialty schools that are educating children and teenagers with learning disabilities for more than eighteen years. Our experience has shown that a boarding school environment is the most effective way for students with learning disabilities to achieve their full potential.
We offer extensive research in finding the best individualized support to monitor and care for students during and after their academic day is finished.
Most of these private specialized schools have class sizes that range from 1 to 8 students with the addition of after-school tutoring when needed or requested by parents.
An assortment of activities are scheduled for students after their school day, which maintains structure, social interactions, and countless teachable moments for students.
This approach to educating students with LDs addresses the whole student, not just one component.
By attending to the students’ social, emotional, and academic needs, in combination with a family-style boarding school, the success we have experienced and student outcomes continually raise the bar in LD education. Private schools for LD students are often the only way that children with learning disabilities get a chance to discover what they are truly capable of doing with their lives. The truth is that most public and private schools are unable to give students with learning disabilities the help they need. Schools for learning disability students, on the other hand, are set up with small classes and a great deal of individual attention.