National Institute For Learning Disabilities

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National Institute for Learning Disabilities, or NILD, was formed in 1982. Its goal is to assist organizations, schools and individuals to develop programs for students with various learning disabilities.

The NILD Educational Therapy model was established in the 1960’s. It was developed by Deborah Zimmerman, who was an educator and a nurse. She had used many of these techniques in her work during the early research period with the pioneers in learning disabilities. These techniques were introduced in 1973 in a private school in Norfolk, Virginia and the Norfolk Institute for Learning Disabilities was started in 1982 as a charitable organization. The influence of this institute grew, and its name was changed to National Institute for Learning Disabilities.

During the NILD’s twentieth anniversary celebrations in 2002 in Orlando, FL, VISION 2020 was approved by the directors. A community based model was included in this Vision, with the purpose of serving students outside of private school settings, to include other schools as well.

Dr Kathy Hopkins, Executive Director of NILD, launched the idea at this Conference that by 2020, one million LD students would have been benefited by the intervention methods of NILD.

Significant changes took place in 2007; a lot of progress had been made which included research and development in models of intervention; the community based model was expanded and an online section was included in the course.

To reflect the new trends in the organization, its name was changed to National Institute for Learning Development. NILD has its headquarters in the Discovery Center, Norfolk, Virginia, and continues in its mission to assist educators all over the world.

The NILD Education Therapy

The NILD Therapy aims to treat the underlying causes of a student’s learning difficulties rather than its symptoms.

The goal of NILD Education Therapy

Its goal is to develop clear and efficient thinking in the student. The students are taught tools to tackle the specific learning weaknesses that they have. The Therapy is skills oriented to improve their basic learning skills, to teach students how to learn and retain what they have learnt.

How the students benefit

With NILD Education Therapy, the students are able to

- hear and remember the teacher’s teaching accurately

- to remain focused on the teacher’s voice

- to read the information on boards, computer screens or transparencies

- comprehend the main points of the teacher’s teaching and decide what information to record

- remember the spellings of the words he is recording

- record the information in legible handwriting

How the therapists benefit

The educational therapists can improve their individual interventions

- they focus on the individual student’s area of difficulty and deal with them during the learning process itself

- stay focused on the student’s difficulty as he works through it

- develop trust with the student so he accepts and works on his difficult areas

How parents benefit

Parents are better able to

- supervise the student’s homework

- provide accountability and structure

- keep up contact with the educational therapist on a regular basis to better understand the therapy process and collaborate in the provision of an effective program to the child.

Types of Learning Disabilities