nonverbal learning disorder: recent publications

A Teacher’s Guide to NVLD: How to Support Students with Nonverbal Learning Disability

Missing the big picture. Struggling to learn sequences and patterns. Becoming easily distracted.

What do these behaviors have in common? They’re all common signs of nonverbal learning disability (NVLD or NLD), a little understood condition characterized by deficits in visual-spatial reasoning that lead to impairment in social and/or academic functioning.For many reasons – from the condition’s not-so-accurate name to its frequent co-occurrence with other conditions – NVLD is widely misunderstood, overlooked, and misdiagnosed. At the same time, NVLD is thought to affect up to 3% of children and teens.1NVLD’s symptoms are expansive, affecting students in ways that most teachers may not realize. Nonetheless, children with NVLD need interventions that target all areas affected by the condition.To support students with NVLD, teachers must first understand what NVLD is and isn’t, and how the condition might manifest.NVLD is a proposed neurodevelopmental disorder (meaning it’s not an official diagnosis).

It was named as such to distinguish it from language-based verbal learning problems, like dyslexia. Children with NVLD are not nonverbal; in fact, they may have average to strong verbal skills. If anything, a more appropriate name for this condition would be “developmental visual-spatial learning disorder.”[Could Your Child Have NVLD? Take This Self-Test]NVLD’s visual-spatial reasoning deficits have been linked with disturbances in the functioning of neural circuits that support visual-spatial processing.

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