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Nonverbal Learning Disorder

What is Nonverbal Learning Disorder?

Nonverbal Learning Disorder (NLD), also called Nonverbal Learning Disabilities, is a developmental disability which all too often goes undiagnosed. Individuals with this potentially debilitating disorder generally suffer in silence. They are often bright, sometimes incredibly so. As young children they may actually be targeted as gifted, due to their mature vocabulary, rote memory skills, and apparent reading ability.

However, parents likely realize early on that something is amiss. As preschoolers, these youngsters probably have difficulty interacting with other children, with acquiring self-help skills, are not physically adept, are not adaptable, and present with a host of other troublesome problems that are of concern, but not alarming.

In all likelihood, the children bump along (figuratively and literally) through their early elementary years, handling the academic demands fairly well, except when their fine motor difficulties get in the way, or they fail to attend to a math symbol calling for addition or subtraction, or some other subtle symptom of their disorder derails them.

As these children enter the upper elementary grades or begin middle school, they are left to handle more tasks on their own. Things rapidly begin to deteriorate. They get lost, forget to do homework, seem unprepared for class, have difficulty following directions, struggle with math, can't read their social studies textbook, can't write an essay, continually misunderstand both their teachers and their peers, and are often anxious in public and angry at home. They are accused of being lazy, rude, uncooperative, and worse. Nothing could be farther from the truth! They are hardworking, persistent, goal-oriented, and incredibly honest. They have NLD.

If the child has not benefited from diagnosis and an intervention plan at this point, the cognitive, social, and emotional demands of high school years and beyond can be overwhelming. But on the positive side, there have been great strides in understanding and treating this disorder in recent years. Much of that information is contained within these pages.



adders.org 2004



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