Symptom Tests

[Self-Test] Nonverbal Learning Disorder (NLD) in Children

Could your child’s social mishaps and physical clumsiness suggest a nonverbal learning disorder (NLD)? Take this quick self-test to better understand the symptoms of NLD vs. ADHD.

Children with nonverbal learning disorder often start off as precocious youngsters, impressing the adults around them with their highly developed verbal abilities. But as they get older — and the challenges associated with NLD remain untreated — their precociousness can turn to anxiety, depression, and loneliness as they struggle to connect with others and interact with the world around them. Because NLD is so little known and children with NLD are often clumsy, socially maladroit, and may talk incessantly, they are often mistakenly diagnosed with ADHD.

So what does nonverbal learning disorder look like? Every child is different, but one common early indicator is highly developed verbal skills and lots of talking; from an early age, children with NLD rely almost entirely on language to learn about the world. Meanwhile, their other areas of development — social skills, visuospatial relationships, and motor skills — fall behind. And though they may speak like adults, kids with NLD struggle with abstraction and nuance — concepts that become more important as they grow and develop critical thinking skills.

How can you tell if your child is struggling with NLD? Start by taking the results of this self-test to your pediatrician or a neuropsychologist, who can help you sort out whether the symptoms you’re seeing align with those of NLD.

This screener is designed to determine whether your child shows symptoms similar to those of nonverbal learning disorder, but it is not a diagnostic tool. A high score does not mean your child has NLD. Only a trained healthcare professional can make a diagnosis through clinical evaluation. If you have concerns about possible NLD see a health or education professional. This screener is for personal use only.

Does your child seem incapable of dishonesty, and/or assume that everyone is telling him the truth all the time?
Does your child often come across as self-centered, defiant, or immature?
Does your child read out loud quickly, but struggle to answer questions about what she’s read?
Does your child ask a seemingly endless string of questions, even after you feel like you’ve run out of answers?
Does your child sometimes react inappropriately to situations — by laughing when someone is telling her something serious, for instance?
Does your child have trouble using scissors, tying her shoes, or forming letters when writing?
Has your “precocious” child grown more anxious and socially inept with age?
Is your child uncomfortable when she is taken to unfamiliar locations?
Does your child often “miss the joke” or fail to notice sarcasm?
Does your child see situations in black and white? Does she argue or seem confused when dealing with abstract concepts or nuanced situations?
Does your child tend to gravitate toward younger children on the playground and avoid kids his own age?
Does your child avoid sleepovers or friends’ birthday parties because it would disrupt his normal routine?

(Optional) Would you like to receive your nonverbal learning disorder test results — plus more helpful resources — via email from ADDitude?

Can’t see the self-test questions above? Click here to open this test in a new window.


Nonverbal Learning Disorder in Children: Next Steps

1. Learn More About Nonverbal Learning Disorder in Children
2. Take This Test: Could My Child Have a Learning Disability?
3. Take This Test: Can You Differentiate ADHD from Learning Disabilities?
4. Take This Test: Autism Symptom Test for Children
5. Take This Test: Inattentive ADHD Symptom test for Children
6. Take This Test: Language Processing Disorders Symptom Test for Children 

Updated on December 13, 2019

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