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He spent a year and a half doing noncredit courses just to get up to speed, and it was not a great experience for him.
"NLD kids are a lot less mature," Shapiro says, adding that many are not ready for many of the more common strategies for learning-disabled students. "They were really good at teaching kids with a more typical LD, kids with dyslexia or ADD." When he decided to enroll at Massachusetts Bay Community College, "everything changed," his mother says. "Michael knows everything about pop music — from Ricky Nelson to Ricky Martin to Lady Gaga," says his mother, Gail Shapiro, a professional writer who edited Murphy’s book.
C.’s extraordinary talents co-existed with some serious deficits.
could hum Brahms’ lullaby and the theme from "Jeopardy." At 2, he could name the U. Though his grandparents — naturally — insisted he was gifted, his parents knew that J.
And though he loved being around other children, he played alongside them rather than with them.
And the same difficulties seen in NLD, such as planning, prioritizing and organizing, are common in disabilities such as attention-deficit disorder.
It was Shapiro who persuaded her son to write the book. He already knew that NLD was believed to be associated with the destruction of myelin, white matter in the brain’s right hemisphere.
He agreed — on the condition that she would be his editor. C., Murphy spent years in special education classes without a diagnosis, which he didn’t receive until he was nearly 24. But, he says, "I learned in my research that the prefrontal cortex was involved as well." The encouraging news from Murphy’s book is that, with the right support and interventions, people with NLD cope much better as they get older.
"Even now, in college, I ask my tutors to treat me like I’m in kindergarten," says J.
C., who asked that his full name not be printed because his struggles embarrass him.
Considering that gestures, touch, body language, facial expressions and eye contact make up roughly two-thirds of all human communication, experts say, and that communication is essential to the learning process, the impact of NLD can be devastating. "That’s why they often have huge gaps in their knowledge that those who understand the syndrome are constantly working to fill." Think of the NLD brain as a chunk of Swiss cheese, with the nonverbal information slipping through the holes.