Aug 12, 2007

What Are Nonverbal Learning Disabilities?

According to the Nonverbal Learning Disabilities Association (NLDA) a nonverbal learning disorder, known as NLD, is a neurophysiological disorder originating in the right hemisphere of the brain. Reception of nonverbal or performance-based information governed by this hemisphere is impaired in varying degrees, including problems with visual-spatial, intuitive, organizational, evaluative, and holistic processing functions. explains that there are specific assets and deficits associated with this neurological syndrome. The assets include early speech and vocabulary development, remarkable rote memory skills, attention to detail, early reading skills development and excellent spelling skills. In addition, these individuals have the verbal ability to express themselves eloquently. The site goes on to say that there are four major categories of deficits and dysfunction which are also evident:

  1. Motoric: lack of coordination, severe balance problems, and difficulties with graphomotor skills

  2. Visual-spatial-organizational: lack of image, poor visual recall, faulty spatial perceptions, difficulties with executive functioning and problems with spatial relations

  3. Social: lack of ability to comprehend nonverbal communication, difficulties adjusting to transitions and novel situations, and deficits in social judgment and social interaction

  4. Sensory: sensitivity in any of the sensory modes: visual, auditory, tactile, taste or olfactory

To learn more about nonverbal learning disabilites please visit the links below:


  1. This particular type of learning disability must be so hard to handle in an age where video games and nonverbal skills are so integrated into daily living. Not to mention the degree that they're becoming used in the learning process.

    -Aaron Marks

  2. Aaron Marks,

    Visual media is becoming increasingly abundant to the point that it can no longer be avoided, even at the college level. However, as an individual with NLD I find I am better prepared to become a contributing member of society precisely because my spatial skills are slightly lacking. The explanation is simple, while the masses become increasingly "hooked" to video games, virtual realities and other visual media the population of individuals with NLD will not be as susceptible, which automatically put us at an advantage. Additionally, visual stimuli such as Powerpoint presentations,videos, graphs and drawings aren't as incomprehensible as you might think; educators will always need to verbally explain what is being shown and that is all the translation NLD individuals need. People with NLD are at a disadvantage in certain areas, and always will be, but in terms of being equipped for today's job market we are at an advantage (communication, foreign languages, musical talent, phonetic creativity, etc.) simply because we are a minority with highly competitive skills that outweigh a good number of the handicaps we have been dealt.


Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I love comments and feedback!