Nonverbal Learning Disorder anyone?
07/18/2009 at 00:18 AM

Hi all! I'm just wondering if there is anyone out there who has a child diagnosed with a Nonverbal Learning Disorder (NLD). I know it is not real common and from what I've found few people know much or anything about it. If you have a child diagnosed with this I'd love to hear from you about your experiences with this disorder. Thanks.


Great website:

Lots of information and suggestions for you and your NVLD child.


My now 25 y/o daughter has NVLD. At 13 she was (finally!) diagnosed with Social Anxiety Disorder. A very dedicated school psychologist put the pieces of the puzzle together a year later and made the NVLD diagnosis. The high school she attended did not have any accomodations for NVLD at the time so because of this, the Social Anxiety Disorder and peer difficulties we chose to home school. My daughter struggled through until age 20, then stopped school, returned to the local adult high school last fall and graduated with her high school diploma last month.

Because all NVLD children present differently, this can be a difficult diagnosis. My daughter did not have the extreme coordination issues that very often present at a young age. Her coordination waned as she got older. She was very, very verbal at a very young age (8 months) and was considered advanced and precocious until entering kindergarten. She was and is a very good speller and has always had an excellent vocabulary. Putting that into practice in a traditional educational environment was and is difficult.

My daughter has few friends, only one from childhood and has other social difficulties. Her first boyfriend, at 19, as able to manipulate and control her, convincing her she was "stupid" and "worthless" because of her issues. I have talked to other parents of NVLD young adults who have had similar situations. My daughter does work, and is a wonderful, sweet, loving and generous person.

Hope this helps.


Yes, this is very hard to diagnose. If it wasn't for us taking our son to be evaluated for ADD and then the suggestion of seeing a child psychologist who thought he may have Asperger's or PDD-NOS, but wanted an evaluation done at a hospital that specialized in Autism, we wouldn't have gotten this diagnosis. Our psychologist didn't even know about NLD.

We were told he was too smart for his own good. He does not have the math weakness or reading comprehension issues that usually come with this disorder and learned to talk pretty much at the time he should have, except that his vocabulary did advance pretty quickly... in fact he kinda got the nickname from us as the absent minded professor. He tested very high and is in the gifted program. Because he is smart with weak social skills it makes him stand out, unfortunately.

He is also weak in spatial skills. The spatial skills are there and test pretty much average, but behind his verbal skills. And of course they use the skills they are strong in when trying to figure things out, which doesn't improve their weaker skills.

He doesn't have an odd walk, but doesn't care for sports, except solo sports like Tae Kwon Do and swimming. He does well riding his bike which is usually a weakness.

I worry because of my son not having a good friend. The dr. said he needs just one good friend and that will be fine. He has friends at church, but none really that invite him over (the ones his age are girls). We are good friends with one family who has two girls, but the kids go to different schools and they are usually so busy with other activities that we seldom have time to get the kids together.

Did your daughter clash with her siblings? I'm not real sure what happens with the soical disorder that you mention. Was she bullied by other kids?

Sorry to hear about the boyfriend treating your daughter that way. I'm sure that really hurt her self-esteem. Did it take her awhile to recuperate from that event?

Was your daughter ever thought to have ADD or diagnosed as having ADD? I was told those symptoms are just part of the NLD disorder, which I find quite interesting.

2xstepmom - Thanks for responding and I'm hoping there are others who respond that have these "special" children. By the way the pschologist also thinks my second son is NLD, but too young to diagnose accurately. I was told 6 is the earliest age, because before that it is hard to be valid.

Anyone else out there with NLD kids???


My daughter is 6 1/2 years younger than my son, who chose to protect his sister from a very young age. They have been great friends from the start and still are at 25 and nearly 32. He is ADHD (but has never been medicated) and very understanding of his sister's disorders. My daughter is ADD/ADHD and does not like the way the meds make her feel. At this time she is on anti-anxiety meds only.

Social Anxiety Disorder is another complicated diagnosis. Many NLD kids are anxiety prone. Yes, she was bullied at times but that was not the cause. This manifested itself at around age 7 and got progressively worse.

One of the most difficult things is everyone's well-meaning and often conflicting advice, especially from family members. We have heard everything from we babied her too much, to she just needs a good spanking, to we are too tough on her. We try to help her when we can and be supportive of her. Though, for us, the whole situation has become much more tough as she has gotten older.

She is not over her negative treatment by the ex nearly a year later. Recently she told us she is never leaving home again. We hope that in time she will get past her hurt and be able to move on.


Thanks for responding 2xstepmom. I'm glad to hear that your kids get along well. I wish that was my case here. I guess I'm struggling with knowing what to do to help them. At this point we have a psychologist and dr. that know little about NLD and don't know what to do to help us. We don't live near one of the larger hospitals who would have services to help us, so we are at a loss as to what to do. I'm searching for anything to help us. Thanks and goodluck with your daughter.




Did you find a dr. or psychologist who specializes in NLD or Autism to work with your daughter and family? We are searching for these drs. in our area. Which state are you in?



We live in Delaware and are fortunate to live down the road from a hospital that is constantly upgrading services and attracts great doctors and psychologists. I am also fortunate to nanny for 10 1/2 years for 2 very dedicated doctors, one is the area's preeminent pediatrician, who has taken the time to learn a LOT about autism (and NLD) and has been very helpful to us personally. There is also a public school, again just down the road from our home,
that is renowned nationwide as THE school for all forms of autism and LD. I have known many people who have moved to this area (and the added bonus is getting to live at the beach) just to be able to have their children attend this wonderful school. Many perople have shared that their children were languishing in the schools they had attended, misdiagnosed and misunderstood. My daughter was 15 and already in 9th grade when she was diagnosed in 1999, and after much consideration we chose to homeschool. Many of the children in our homeschool group were LD so we had a great deal of success.

I also work as a Therapeutic Mentor through the state and have worked with many autistic children. Many of my clients over the past 13 years attended this school. Also the local mental health organizations are very well versed in autism. Nearly all of the therapists I have worked with are well trained. Unfortunately, so many parents want their children to be cured, there is no cure, just teaching the parents to cope and teaching the children to do what they can to lead productive lives.

Possibly if you choose to contact this school which is open year round, they could help point you in the right direction. Your little guy is young enough for early intervention to make a profound difference to you all.


Another great website:

Hope it is helpful to you.



Thanks for your suggestions and the sites. I asked to joing the del support group, but am doubting they will let me join, because of not living in Del... but I tried.

I want to look at the sites more when I get time. I would love to find a autism support group that I don't have to pay for a membership to the site... extra money I don't have right now.

Thanks again... I just keep reading and plugging away! :)




What books on NLD have you read? Which ones were the most helpful for you? I'm trying to read as many as I can. I've gotten some out at the library and I purchased a couple as well.




I never really found any books that I found helpful enough to recommend.


I was randomly searching on NLD and sports and came across your post. My son sounds remarkably similar to your child. He was diagnosed with ADHD originally, but we could tell there was something still not right when compared to other children in his peer group. He was diagnosed with NLD last year. He is very bright, a high IQ even taking into account the low performance scores. He is weak in spatial skills, fine motor skills and had some sensory issues when he was younger that seem to have gone away in the past few years. He is not very interested in sports, though as you mentioned with your son-he is a good swimmer (oddly a good diver, too) and can ride a bike with no problem. He has a really hard time reading social cues and tells stories that no one his age cares about and that has caused him to not have a close friend. The kids seem to like him, he is a very sweet child, but he doesn't have that one buddy that most kids have. That definitely worries me.


Hi Dawn,

How old is your son? My son is 8. I had to laugh when you mentioned the stories... my son does that as well. In my son's class this past year each child had to teach a lesson and my son chose to show the kids how to build a circuit. The teacher told me the other kids thought it was magic, lol... so their brightness does make it even harder to have a good friend as you mentioned... sad, but true.

What state do you live in? Do you have other children?

Have you found any specialists in your area that work with NLD kids?

Have you found other parents to talk to that have NLD children in your area? This is a rare diagnosis.

Nice to meet you.



I realize I'm a little late on this discussion but I figure I might be able to give a little perspective.

A little background to start. I was diagnosed with NLD when I was 21. I was able to make it through high school just below honours before nearly failing out of university regardless of how much work I put in. When I was in Grade 3 I was required to repeat the Grade 2 reading books and required a math tutor when concepts became abstract. the most noticeable symptoms (to myself) are the left handed co-ordination, and social interaction.

With respect to the social aspect of NLD I did have the friend difficulty. Until I was about 15 I didn't have any close friends despite being well liked. In hindsight part of it was me being on a different intellectual level (only two of my male elementary school classmates went to university and graduated). Even now I have very few close friends, despite being somewhat popular, but I am light years ahead of where I was 10 years ago. I still see some social awkwardness in myself and a slower reaction to some quick banter and this has negatively affected me in certain situations (particularly with the opposite sex).

Organization can be a problem, but when it comes to writing essays I force myself to first create an outline and then write the paper as I dictate my thoughts to myself. This also helps for getting the creativity going.

I'll be honest, my diagnosis was borderline as I had extremely high test scores (balanced out by a couple of 14 percentiles). Altogether this disability was actually a blessing for me. It helped me realize why I was struggling and helped me address the problems I had in school. As a result, I am now half way through law school and scheduled to graduate in 2011. On the social standpoint I am a front runner for President of the law student council. Personally the solution was from working with counselors at my university that helped me develop the academic and social strategies that I have slightly adapted to suit my needs.

Hopefully that wasn't too muddled and it gives some hope that with the right approach that NLD can be overcome.


I just happened to check in here this morning and am glad you responded. It sounds like your NLD isn't severe and you've adjusted well. My son is very very smart as well. His gifted testing scores amazed me... now if we could just get him to treat us kindly at home we'd be happy. There was a gap in scores, but none of my son's fell below avg. and many were in the highly superior (forgetting exact wording)range.

I'm so afraid that his personality/social weaknesses will keep him from being able to do what he wants in life.

His vocab. and reading is amazing, and he is highly gifted with science and anything mechanical. So far he is doing well with math, but I'm wondering if that will be alot harder for him soon.... I really could see him being a mechanical engineer... if the math doesn't get him. (My son also argues well, lol.)

Writing is difficult of course with organization, but I do see him improving with that this year.... better attitude has helped and a teacher encouraging as well.

I hope you get your dream, and become Pres. of Law School Council. Good to hear some NLDers are beating the odds and adapting and becoming very successful! Good luck to you.


PS.. Any books particularly helpful to you with understanding yourself or NLD?



My son, who is 10 now, also has NLD. He went to a regular preschool and kindergarden, but when he entered into 1st grade we pulled him out. He was showing so many signs of frustration and constantly getting in trouble by, not only his homeroom teacher, but other teachers, we just couldn't take it anymore. We homeschooled him for 2 years and then sent him to a private Christan school. HOmeschooling really helped with his social situation and his self esteem. My husband and I basically explained every facial expressions, body gestures, and other non verbal cues that people made at grocery stores, restaurants, at a part, just about everywhere. Altough we were full aware the wrong doing, we evern listened closely at others conversation and discussed with him about what may possibly happen or what each conversation was really talking about. We found that hands on teaching, especially in picking up social cues and facial gestures, really helped him understand non verbal language.

You've asked several times on this forum about a great book. I just had to sing up so that I can tell you about a book that was introduced to me a several years ago. IT is called "Nonverbal Learning Disorder", by Sue Thompson. This book really save our family and help me to LOVE my son even more. Hope this helps.


Adopted son was a Shaken baby. His NLD (dx age 9 1/2) much more of a problem than his severe ADHD (dx age 6). Few people ever heard of it, no support groups for either in 30 mi radius have been found. Has been aggressive & disruptive, poor social skills, has/is still teased & bullied--no friends. Good at spelling. Soc Studies & Science not bad. Math learning disability, poor reading comprehension, so not good at math, reading, & English. Doesn't like school & has no motivation to learn. Has always been very literal & glass half empty. Has had TTS at school since preschool--giving them & teachers attitude past year. Developmentally delayed, at age 12, he acts/reasons more like 9, but has been going through puberty for about a year now--whines & cries 3yr old, but then talks back with attitude like 16yr old, girl crazy too. We are older parents, he just doesn't understand why we can't just go get another child so he'd have a brother. Lots of social skills & lessons would be learned easier if he had siblings. Cousins near his age all live 2-5 hrs away. Kids in neighborhood nearly all girls, few younger boys (ages 3-8), so it's been tough. No matter where he goes, he's odd man out. Going through more psychological testing now, the public school feels he's more involved than they can deal with. Would love to have others to communicate with through all the trials & tribulations--would love to hear about someone who has gone through all this & come out successful. Live in central PA. Haven't read any books on NLD, but lots of articles & several websites.


The day to day stuff must be very hard. I admire your courage.