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January 01, 2005

Neurodevelopmental Profile

Mel Levine's Neurodevelopmental Profile

"At any point in life, students come to school with "neurodevelopmental profiles." Such profiles are, in essence, balance sheets of individual strengths and weaknesses in the various neurodevelopmental functions. Each profile facilitates work in some areas, while hindering work in others. Some students have strengths that make them strong achievers at six years old, but weak performers in high school. Others may have early difficulties and find success in later years. Just as expectations change over tiem, so do students' performances.

In order to better understand how students' profiles affect their learning and performance at any time, those profiles are divided into "neurodevelopmental contructs." Constructs are groupings of related neurodevelopmental functions. They help to organize thinking and communicate about learning differences by focusing on the roles and interactions of neurodevelopmental functions with regard to specific behaviors. They also allow for flexibility in the ways that differnces in learning are evaluated, while at the same time, pinpointing areas of laearning breakdown and creating very specific plans for helping students succeed." (Mel Levine's website)

The constructs used to organize students' profiles are listed below (from Dr. Levine's website).

Attention is more than just "paying attention." It includes such aspects as the ability to concentrate, to focus on one thing rather than the other, to finish tasks one begins, and to control what one says and does.

Whether it's being able to recite the alphabet or knowing when to push a button to give a respons on "Jeopardy," being able to understand time and sequence of various items or pieces of information is a key component of learning.

Closely related to the functions of time and sequence, spatial ordering is the ability, for instance, to distinguish between a circle and a square or to use images to remember related information. On a more complex level, spatial ordering helps musicians, for instance, to be albe to "see" a piano keyboard, and enables architects to "imagine" the shape of a particular room.

Even if, in the moment, people are able to undersand, organize, and interpret the most complex information, if they cannot store and then later recall that information, thier performance often suffers dramatically.

Being able to articulate and understand language is central to the ability to do well as students and learners. Develping language functions involves elaborate interactions between various parts of the brain since it involves so many separate kinds of abilities-pronouncing words, awareness of different sounds, comprehending written symbols, understanding syntax, and telling stories.

Whether students are trying to write their first words, catch a football, or punch away at a computer keyboard, their brains' ability to coordinate their motor or muscle funcions are key to many areas of learning.

One of the most often overlooked components of learning is the ability to succeed in social relationships with peers, parents, and teachers. Students (and adults) may be strong in other construct areas, and yet have academic difficulties because of an inability to make friends, work in groups, or cope effectively with peer pressure.

Higher order cognition involves the ability to understand and implement the steps neessary to solve problems, attack new areas of learning, and think creatively.

Additional information can be found on Mel Levine's website, All Kinds of Minds.

All Kinds of Minds' mission:
"All Kinds of Minds aspires to help students who struggle with learning measurably improve their success in school and life by providing programs that integrate educational, scientific, and clinical expertise."

Posted by Kristie at January 1, 2005 12:25 PM


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