Did you know that almost one million children ages six through twenty-one have some sort of learning disability and receive special education in school? While some of these disorders are common and easily diagnosed, there are others which are harder to spot. Non-verbal learning disorder, or NLD, is one of these disorders.
Non-verbal learning disorder has a name which can be misleading: children with NLD actually have highly developed verbal skills; it’s their non-verbal abilities which are negatively affected. NLD can be difficult to recognize because it often first appears as a strength; common features are strong verbal skills, a large vocabulary and strong rote memory all of which may lead the child to being classified as gifted, while overlooking their non-verbal deficits.
As a child with NLD ages, their non-verbal deficits can cause significant academic and social issues. Identifying the disorder early and understanding what tasks a child may have problems with can greatly help them to succeed. Take a look at the following list of NLD signs and characteristics:
- Large vocabulary and excellent verbal expression; articulate for their age. May be perceived as precocious.
- Strong or above average auditory memory, particularly for sequences
- Focuses on details, but misses the main idea. Has trouble “seeing the forest for the trees”
- Has trouble reading facial expressions, gestures, or other nonverbal cues. This can present as poor social skills and difficulty bonding with peers.
- Processes information in a linear, sequential manner, missing multiple dimensions
- Difficulty with fine-motor skills. This is often first noticed in messy, laborious handwriting.
- Overall physically awkward with poor coordination
- Takes things very literally, and has difficulty with abstract concepts
- Difficulty with math, especially word problems
- Despite strong verbal abilities, has difficulty understanding what they have read.
While it may seem counterintuitive, children with NLD can greatly benefit from the services of a speech-language pathologist or speech therapist. The speech therapist can work with the child to learn how to better understand and interpret non-verbal cues in communication and improve their interactions with others. Speech therapy will also target organizational skills to improve the child’s writing and help them to focus on important information and filter out trivial details.
For information on our New York based Speech-Language Pathology services, please call Speech Associates of New York today at (212) 308-7725 or visit our website at http://www.speechassociatesofny.com and find out how our team of professionally trained and certified speech-language pathologists can help!
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Sooms/signs-symptoms-of-nldurce: http://www.nldontheweb.org; http://www.smartkidswithld.org/ld-basics/signs-sympt