Nonverbal Learning Disorder
One of the neurobehavioral disorders that affects the way the brain processes information is Nonverbal Learning Disorder (NLD) also known as Nonverbal Learning Disability. Children or adults with NLD are more focused on the verbal side of things. They have very early language acquisition and speech development. Their vocabulary can be huge, even at a young age. Those kind of kids “talk before they can walk” .
It’s the nonverbal information they have a hard time understanding due to the fact the right half of their brain does not process the information in the way they need it. This could present problems in four area’s:
1. motor skills: problems in balance, fine motor skills ( handwriting) and coordination
2. social interaction: problems with nonverbal communication and being flexible towards change
3. sensory: oversensitivity of one or more senses (visual, auditory, tactile, taste, smell)
4. processing visual information (such as the size or the distance of objects): problems in spatial perception, visual recall and spatial relations.
They are known for losing their way and have problems organizing a messy room or desk. They don’t see where to start.
The most commonly recognized learning disabilities affect verbal skills such as speech or spelling. Learning Disabilities are not looked for in children with early speech and reading skills and excellent spelling skills. So a lot of children with Nonverbal Learning Disorder will not be recognized at an early age.
• Their IQ test will show superior verbal scores
• Speech and language acquisition at a very early age
• Excellent rote memory for words or sentences
• Good reading decoding ability at a young age
• Strong spelling from dictation
• Below-average performance scores on their IQ test
• Poor writing and written work organization
• Math disability
• Poor coordination & balance
• Poor fine motor skills
• Poor visual-spatial part-to-whole perception
Asperger Syndrome and Nonverbal Learning Disorder
The overlap in characteristics between Asperger Syndrome and Nonverbal Learning Disability is huge. Both groups of children will show clumsiness, difficulties in riding a bike, tie shoelaces, catch or throw a ball. Both groups will have excellent verbal skills and express themselves eloquently. They will have trouble interacting with others, show empathy or pick up on nonverbal communication.
However there are some differences between Nonverbal Learning Disability and Asperger Syndrome:
• The child with Asperger Syndrome will lack imaginative play but the child with NLD will not.
• The child with Asperger Syndrome will have difficulty playing with toys. It will prefer to line them up or collect them. When they use toys it will be inappropriate use. The child with Nonverbal Learning Disorder will use the toys what they are meant for.
• Those with Asperger Syndrome will use language instrumentally instead of aiming for joint attention. The child with NLD will be able to use language to share ideas or thoughts with others.
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