What is NVLD/NLD?

According to NLD on the Web (a great resource):

Nonverbal Learning Disorder Syndrome (NVLD) is a specific type of learning disability that affects children’s academic progress as well as their social and emotional development.

The term Nonverbal Learning Disorder/Disability is actually quite misleading. Individuals with this disability are highly verbal, with their areas of deficit being in the nonverbal domains.

In my experience, children who have this learning disability are often diagnosed as being on the Autism spectrum, particularly the “catch-all” diagnosis of PDD-NOS (Pervasive Developmental Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified.) In fact, that’s the label that was put on our son, by the school, back when he was in second grade.

Here’s a brief synopsis of the two disorders from this article: http://www.nldline.com/dinklage.htm

Asperger’s Disorder is characterized by:

  1. Qualitative impairment in social interaction
  2. Restricted, repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behavior, interests, and activities
  3. These problems taken together (A plus B) present significant challenges in the lives of people with AD as they attempt to live in a “neurotypical” world and meet the expectations of others.
  4. There is no general language delay.
  5. There is no severe global cognitive impairment.

Whereas Nonverbal Learning Disabilities:

  1. NVLD can be conceptualized as an imbalance in thinking skills – intact linear, detail oriented, automatic processing with impaired appreciation of the big picture, gestalt or underlying theme.
  2. It is not nearly as common as language-based learning disabilities, but this may be a phenomenon created by environmental demands (i.e., our societal demands for precision skills in reading assure that even the most subtle language-based LD cases are identified).
  3. Typically social/psychiatric concerns are raised before academic problems are identified.
  4. While the overlap is not complete, NVLD children may meet the criteria for Pervasive Developmental Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS), Asperger’s Disorder, or Schizotypal Personality.

Following are some terrific resources I’ve found on the internet relating to NVLD and how to help your child get the best support in the educational environment.

And this article, http://www.ldonline.org/article/6119/, which was a HUGE help in the Planning and Placement Team meeting (PPT) we recently had for our son a the High School. I am finding that passing along information about this specific learning disability is very helpful in educating the special education team about how to best help our son and others with NVLD. Here’s a brief summary from the article:

A student with NVLD:

  • Has difficulty finding her way around
  • Has difficulty coping with changes in routine and transitions
  • Has difficulty generalizing previously learned information
  • Has difficulty following multi-step instructions
  • Makes very literal translations
  • Asks too many questions
  • Is easily overwhelmed
  • May experience heightened sensory experiences
  • May develop secondary issues with stress and anxiety
  • Imparts the “illusion of competency”

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