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Executive Functions Executive functions are a set of skills we use to organize our thinking, plan and carry out actions, and figure out how to solve problems.
Most kids with NLD have weaknesses in these organizing and planning functions.
This is the first in a series of articles about non-verbal learning disorder developed in collaboration with Winston Preparatory School, a New York area school that has taken a leading role in working with students with the disorder.
When we think of learning disorders, we tend to think of dyslexia and other disorders involving language—that is, kids who have trouble decoding language and learning to read.
There are also a number of free websites that offer text-to-speech tools, such as Read Speaker.
Kurzeweil 3000 is another program option if you need a more feature-rich program that combines a speech synthesizer with the ability to create documents and tables, talking reminders, and website reader.
For example when they are asked to copy a shape like a cube they produce “profound distortions,” says Bezsylko.
But experts say focusing on NLD explains what’s happening with kids—and how to help them learn—better than those diagnoses.
This affects kids’ ability to comprehend reading, and write or tell a story effectively. Bezsylko observed that some kids essentially take down everything the teacher says because they don’t know what’s important and what not to take down.
Other kids don’t know what’s important so they take down nothing, and people think they aren’t paying attention. Social Communication Most kids with non-verbal learning disorders have trouble reading emotion in facial cues and body language, so they often don’t know what’s going on in social interactions.
“These kids often struggle to learn everything that isn’t rote or literal.”At Winston Prep, a study of more than 100 students with NLD showed that there were 6 combinations of the 5 deficits.
The largest group had all five of the deficits, but the second largest group had just two: social communication and executive functions.
Most major software now automatically incorporates assistive features, such as text-to-speech, directly into the software.