Reply To: Non-Verbal Learning Disorder

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Penny Williams

Hi Elektra!

You are right, it’s very tough to get a diagnosis of NVLD (Non-Verbal Learning Disorder). When I had a new evaluation done for my son (because I knew he also had autism), I had asked the psychologist about NVLD, because those symptoms seem to overlap a great deal with autism. She said at the time (2014) that NVLD wasn’t an official diagnosis. A quick Google search reveals it’s still not in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-V), but it’s talked about as more of a “syndrome” when the label is applied to an individual.

So, that means you need to find a psychologist who knows about NVLD and will write a report addressing it, if he/she finds that your daughter meets the criteria for NVLD. Then you can share that with the school. The Smart Kids with Learning Disorders website offers a great list of the rating scales used to “diagnose” NVLD. You can look at the testing she’s already had done and see which components might be missing.

Evaluating Your Child for NLD

My son has slow processing as well. In fact, his IQ was in the 90something percentile, and his processing speed was 48% I believe (processing speed is measured in IQ tests, oddly). That differential between intelligence and processing speed is enormous, and very debilitating. One thing we’ve done to accommodate low processing speed is to get accommodations to reduce assignments and extended time on all assignments and tests. It’s written in his IEP, but you could have these in a 504 Plan if she doesn’t have an IEP.

Here are some common high school accommodations:

Time to Take the Lead on High School Academics

And, the more stressed our kids get at school, the worse their anxiety… and the worse their performance.

Why School Stress Is Toxic for Children

ADDitude Community Moderator, Author & Mentor on Parenting ADHD, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism