Non Verbal Learning Disability

Non Verbal Learning Disability

How does Non Verbal Learning Disability (NVLD) affect the child?


While NVLD affects each child differently, these are the skills that are impacted:

  • Conceptual skills: They may have trouble with grasping large concepts, problem-solving, and cause-and-effect relationships.

  • Motor skills: They may experience problems with coordination and movement.

  • Visual-spatial skills: They may have trouble with visual imagery, visual processing, and spatial relations.

  • Social skills: There may be difficulty picking up on social cues and communicating in a socially appropriate way. They may not understand sarcasm or teasing.

  • Abstract thinking: They may have trouble with reading comprehension and understanding the big picture. Children with NVLD may be good at memorizing details but not at understanding underlying concepts. They may also have trouble organizing their thoughts.


What causes NVLD?


The exact cause of NVLD is still unknown. Most current theories relate it to problems in functioning and processing of information in various parts of the brain.


How to identifying NVLD?


NVLD can often be difficult to identify. Diagnosing this learning disability is a multi-step process. Different healthcare professionals may be involved: 

Pediatrician: A pediatrician may be able to identify the symptoms and recommend whether you need to consult a psychologist for an assessment.

Psychologist: A psychologist can administer a series of tests and assessments to measure the skills that are generally affected, and identify if the child has NVLD. These include speech and language tests, visual-spatial organization tests, and tests of fine and gross motor movements.

Children with NVLD may appear bright, especially if they have good verbal skills. While their memory might be good, they may have trouble drawing conclusions from what they’ve read. As these children grow older, the symptoms become more recognizable as they realize that their perception of situations is different from their friends and peers. Not knowing what to do, they might also feel helpless.

The earlier the issue is detected, the sooner it is possible to find treatments and strategies that can help the child build social skills and relieve anxiety.


What is the treatment for NVLD?


The following strategies might be helpful for a child with NVLD symptoms:

  • Social skills group: This is a group in which children are supported to learn specific social skills (joining conversations, respond to teasing) in the presence of a trained therapist or professional.

  • Parent behavior training: Parent behaviour training teaches parents to use positive reinforcement methods to to improve the behaviour of children with learning disabilities and other childhood disorders.

  • Occupational therapy: Helps to build tolerance for external experiences.

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