Accelerated/Gifted: NACD Kids: “Andrew & Daniel”

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by Charlene Doland

Andrew

60I brought Andrew to NACD when he was 9½. He had always been homeschooled and was an early reader, but I knew he had some sensory issues and some problems with fine and gross motor skills. I had heard about NACD before, but I had no awareness of “sequential processing” and how improving that could help Andrew.

When Andrew came to his first evaluation, his auditory forward digit span was a 5, and his auditory reverse digit span was a 3. At this time, he had a lot of temper tantrums and frustration, often saying, “I can’t do this.” He struggled with math. Seven months later I had a different child. His auditory forward digit span was a seven, and his auditory reverse digit span was a five. As a result, not only had his behavior issues resolved, but also his math scores had gone up nearly 1½ years, and his vocabulary and reading comprehension had gone up 2 years’ worth.

When Andrew started on program, he was hyper-auditory (i.e. overly sensitive to sound). In noisy or congested areas, he would shut down emotionally or become very cranky. After listening to The Listening Program as part of his NACD program, this improved. He is still hyper-auditory (I call it his “super-sonic hearing”), but now he can cope with noisy, confined environments much better. He no longer feels claustrophobic or overwhelmed in such an environment.

Before NACD, Andrew seemed to have a chip on his shoulder; but now at age 14 he is very relaxed. He can deal with complicated situations and solve complex problems. He is more academically independent. His auditory forward digit span is a 10-11, and his reverse is a 9. He is now a very confident, capable young man. For Andrew, a defining moment occurred about a year ago and was related to how he dealt with a social situation. He was in a small group of teens that met once a week for a game night. Andrew was the youngest member of this group but was accepted as an equal. After about 18 months of consistent participation, he told me he was not enjoying the group any longer. Andrew found one of the boys highly manipulative, so game play was frustrating. He told me he was going to quit the group, and proceeded to do so, with no qualms. He remains in social contact with that group of teens, and he is on friendly terms. This to me is a reflection of his higher-order thinking and problem-solving skills, as well
as emotional maturity. I realized at that point what a long way he had come.

Daniel

Daniel came to NACD at age 6. He was doing reasonably well academically, although he was struggling some with reading. After seeing Andrew’s progress, I wanted Daniel to be on program as well. At his evaluation, his evaluator identified visual tracking and visual dominance problems. She said, “I bet you anything he’s seeing double some of the time.” When I talked to Daniel, I found out that he WAS seeing double — he thought that was how everyone saw!

We started his Targeted Developmental Intervention™, and his reading ability skyrocketed. In one year, he jumped nearly 6 years in reading levels! Today at age 10, his auditory forward digit spans are 8-9, he does seventh grade math, and he reads on a 12th grade level.

A recent example of Daniel’s progress is related to a pet corn snake. Shortly after bringing it home, he scoured the Internet for instructions on how to care for it, what kind of habitat it required, how to feed it, etc. He was totally comfortable wading through the information presented to get the pieces he needed. He was also able to synthesize the information from several web sites into a mental summary of how to care for his new pet. Not only does this reflect his improved reading skills, but also his higher-order thinking skills.

As a parent, I appreciate NACD’s unique, holistic approach. I like the fact that NACD is function-based rather than skill-based. Rather than focusing on a symptom, they fix the source of the problem. NACD has helped both of my boys progress academically, socially, and emotionally.

Reprinted by permission of The NACD Foundation, Volume 22 No. 4 2009 ©NACD