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The Social Implications of Non-Verbal Learning Disorder (NVLD)

Kathryn Vercillo is a San Francisco-based freelance writer and blogger. She writes about relationships, health, food, and nutrition.

The social consequences of nonverbal learning disorders (NVLD).

The social consequences of nonverbal learning disorders (NVLD).

What Is a Non-Verbal Learning Disorder?

Non-Verbal Learning Disorder (NVLD) is a developmental disorder that is now widely recognized as an issue that develops in early childhood and increases with age. There are many different aspects to NVLD—physical motor skills, visual-spatial understanding, and social skills—but one of the main issues is that people with this diagnosis find it difficult to interpret the nonverbal cues that people typically use in social situations to make judgments about how to behave with others. This inability leads to difficulty with interpersonal relationships and problems within social settings.

Ultimately, NVLD can cause children to grow into depressed or anxious young adults who are incapable of properly functioning in our social world.

This is a relatively newly-defined learning disorder that is characterized by issues in the nonverbal learning center of the brain. These issues can affect a variety of different functions, including everything from the ability to do math well to basic coordination and motor skills.

The Social Aspect of NVLD

One of the most damaging aspects of the disorder, though, is the fact that it may render an individual mostly incapable of recognizing nonverbal social cues. These are the cues that we rely on to tell us how to act in a given situation. For example, we read nonverbal cues to tell us that someone is getting angry with us so that we can respond appropriately.

What a Non-Verbal Learning Disorder Looks Like

NVLD is something that develops in early childhood and is likely to grow over time. In childhood, it looks very different than during adulthood.

  • When the child is very young, many of the symptoms of NVLD will be physical. Poor motor skills, a lack of balance and coordination, and certain sensitivities (such as sensitivity to loud sounds or certain flavors) are signs of NVLD. Behavioral signs include acting out in a manner similar to a child who has ADHD or ODD.
  • As the child enters school, the problems with learning that stem from NVLD become apparent. The child with this condition will have trouble with spatial relations and visual recall, issues that will become apparent when doing certain tasks in a classroom setting. Mathematics may be another area of difficulty.
  • When the child enters pre-adolescence ("the tweens"), the outward signs of NVLD will begin to look a lot different. In most cases, the child will have learned to compensate for their physical problems and may have less trouble with balance and coordination. Schoolwork may or may not continue to suffer and behavior problems may continue. However, there will also be a definitive shift in demeanor as the child begins to internalize the problems that they are dealing with.
  • As a teenager and adult, throughout the school years and on into early adulthood, the child with NVLD is likely to be mostly withdrawn, although they also may be prone to outbursts of inappropriate behavior caused by social isolation and frustration.

A Teen or Young Adult With NVLD

Essentially what happens during this period is that the child becomes more aware of the fact that there is a disconnect in their ability to socialize with peers. They may be ostracized from peer groups. This ultimately leads to issues with self-esteem and frustration with social situations.

As the child gets older and these problems continue, the child is likely to withdraw from social settings. They will become anxious about being in social situations (including not wanting to go to school anymore) and will likely become depressed as a result of internalizing these feelings.

Social Implications of NVLD

Amongst those who suffer with NVLD, the most devastating aspects are the social problems. Spatial relations, sensory sensitivity, and difficulty with motor skills are all frustrating but they typically do not cause the severe emotional damage that can be caused when a child is socially isolated. The child with NVLD is highly likely to be socially isolated because they are simply incapable of reading the social cues that others are sending.

For example, in the case mentioned above, a child would not realize that someone was angry with him. This could cause him to enter dangerous situations or provoke more anger because he lacks awareness. Likewise, the child will be unable to know where he is and is not welcome, whether jokes are being received appropriately, and generally just won't respond well to social interaction.

NVLD can become a more serious problem as the child enters the tweens and teens. There are two reasons for this. The first is that peer socialization is highly important to a child's development at this time. The lack of peer socialization that occurs for the child with NVLD will be a problem that can cause other stunts in development that will ultimately have to be addressed through therapy. The second reason is that tweens and teens are often faced with increasingly complicated social interactions at this time involving things like drugs, sex, and violence, and those without the ability to understand social cues are going to be more prone to making bad judgments in these situations.

6 Ways to Help a Kid With NVLD

6 Ways to Help a Kid With NVLD

How to Handle the Social Problems Associated With NVLD

In order to minimize the social problems of NVLD, it is important to engage in intervention as early as possible. Parents can help these kids. . .

  • work on gaining an emotional vocabulary. These children may find it difficult to evaluate the emotional states of others or formulate appropriate reactions to the emotions of others.
  • practice generalizing. These children may have difficulties generalizing or noticing similarities from one situation to another, so they'll need help applying what they've learned to similar social situations.
  • recognize and deal with breakdowns in communication. These children will need help understanding if others are interested in what they are talking about and what to do if communication is convoluted or unwanted.
  • recognize humor, sarcasm, and irony. Children with NVLD may need to practice identifying and understanding these nuanced modes of communication.
  • practice recognizing nonverbal communications. These kids will need extra help and practice identifying tone of voice, inflection, body language, gestures, facial expressions, and other nonverbal cues.
  • learn how to have a conversation. NVLD kids may be extremely talkative, but they might also lack awareness of how they monopolize a conversation. Help them learn how to take turns, ask questions, listen, and move from one topic to the next.

The main two interventions parents should consider are educational setting and therapeutic assistance:

  • Educational setting. The traditional school setting is going to be difficult for the child and therefore may not be appropriate.
  • Therapeutic assistance. There are therapeutic psychological methods that can be used to improve the social skills of the NVLD child starting from a very early age, so it is important for the child to have access to a therapist that can provide this assistance.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.


Greg Renfro on June 13, 2018:

To answer your question Valerie stop trying to fix all your child's so called problems (I say challenges) You never had a slim chance of helping your daughter this way I know this may seem harsh but take it from a 30 year old Guy with NVLD your treating her like she doesn't have normal feeling like other children her age and she does!!!!!! At 13 what kid wanted to have mom come save the day zero atleast from the people I know it would be so imbarressing we would be scared to ever see that person(s) again. So here is how you help treat her like a normal person everyone else is going to her whole life be the person she learns however she can to read mom verbal from exaggerate your non verbal movements for her slowly taking it to back to normal until she can read your non verbal movements. That's right i said it a nvld person reading non verbal communication but it can be done with practice by your daughter randomly after saying something ask your daughter how she thinks you feel then tell her I'm mad upset happy glad irritated don't forget to us very strong body language and she can clearly see your whole body head to toe. I wouldn't suggest telling her you are going to be doing this it could cause a lot off unwanted anxiety. Turn her greatest weekness into something she can atleast say is improving slowly and eventually become better at reading non verbal she will forever love you for your effort. I know your probably lost thinking this guy has no idea the articals say this and doc so and so said this well it's bullshit I'm living proof people with nvld just need you to put a word with a movement. Let verbal gifts help the nonverbal weekness become competent and manageable if I can do it anybody with nvld can to so stop making excuses for us we are already pro's at making excuses for ourselfs no help needed. Really hope this helps sombody with NVLD

Valerie Tremblay on May 11, 2018:

My daughter is 13 and is diagnosed NVLD, ADHD, Anxiety, ODD, and Dyscalcula. Life is a struggle in every aspect of hers and our entire families lives. Cognitively she has struggled since preschool. I knew something was “off” since she was 2. It has taken us until 6th grade for a formal diagnosis of NVLD and now 7th grade for the school to finally admit they don’t know what to do. This has been the most frustrating and agonizing journey I could ever imagine. Socially, I always knew she didn’t perceive things as an average child her age does, and I find myself having to clean up her mess every time I turn around. Whether it be fixing friendships, apologizing to teachers, or actually trying to explain how my daughter is “different” to minimize her behaviors and help people understand, is a nightmare that I face every single day. Every single time I get a call or email from the school I panic wondering what happened now? Only this time was she has got herself into legal trouble, I’ve hit rock bottom. I can’t fix things this time. I can’t walk in and demand they understand her. The way she navigates the world doesn’t matter with the law. I’m sooooo lost. The incredible thing is, I thought I couldn’t handle anymore a month ago, but now things are a million times worse......

noclaut on September 19, 2014:

NVLD with social and emotional problems has to be classified as a "pervasive developmental disorder", not a learning problem. The definittion of PDD is not so good.

Rhonda D Johnson from Somewhere over the rainbow on May 21, 2012:

As you said above. NVLD is a relatively new diagnosis and yet, as others have commented, it's not a new condition. This means many of the people affected by this condition are already grown. Is there any research on helping those who can not take advantage of early intervention?

Also, you mentioned that the traditional school setting may not be appropriate for those with NVLD. If these children are taken out of society, how will they learn to cope with society once they are out of school. The problems they will face once they graduate will be far different from the ones they face in a controlled environment. Are there efforts being made to help NVLD children cope in a real world, say a mentoring or counseling program to help them deal with real people?

awesome on March 12, 2012:

i have nvld im 12 years old i was diagnosed when i was in grade 5 its really depressing because even everyone around me is annoyed with me imdepressed and very wery bad with social cognition its really sad cause im like left out all the time but if you know someone who has nvld and you know they have bad writinng skills go to scholars choice and get some hand comforters like i don't know how to describe it but it sure helped my writing ive become irresponsible and thats a part of the disorder so get a binder for school that has dividers but not with the rings it really helped me.

ConspiracyTruth on January 10, 2012:

Hmm interesting post. It is unfortunate how few articles there seems to be on this. I suppose my story can serve as a warning to parents. Those of you who have kids you fear may suffer from this.

I am NLVD on the social side of the spectrum. When I was younger, I always thought I was just shy. Always got blamed because I made little eye contact, paddled in school or given detention for things I never did, had very few friends, the whole shebang. As I got older into high school I wanted a relationship and acceptance from girls but could never seem to get near girls I liked without creeping them out with my awful body language. Again, I thought it would get better on its own.

I just turned thirty. I have had nearly fifty first dates and no second dates to date. With a slew of no call backs, a few hurtful comments left in critique of my dating style about being a creep, and a few threats from male friends of girls who I made to feel outright threatened early on paired with over fifteen hundred dollars spent on self help books, CDs, seminars about boosting charisma and selling yourself for success, and college courses on Speech and Debate it has become apparent that I have peaked in how far I will improve. I have seen minimal success and have largely given up on finding that special someone. I have improved a lot, don't get me wrong - in front of groups I can be the life of the party and have talked my way into a huge raise at work. With women though, they tend to notice so much of that non-verbal stuff that it is a constant struggle, literally exhausting, to interact with them in a romantic sense. To keep track of every part of my movement from the way I hold my feet to the how long I make eye contact to what I say and how the conversation moves to ensure I don't dally too long or wear out my welcome. Imagine trying to flex every muscle in your body, simultaneously, while taking an algebra test and you get an idea of how it is for people like me - comprehensively exhausting is the only way to describe it. I feel like I need a nap after talking to girls I am trying to court, one mistake sending me into creeper ville.

To parents reading, treat this early. This only gets worse as you get older and the young can learn easier than the old can. Brains are better built for learning in the earlier years. Use my story as a cautionary tale and realize that it will only get harder and harder if you do nothing. You never grow out of social retardation and the work-arounds and adulthood patch jobs are no substitute for early childhood preventative measures.

The hell of it is I am not even bitter or angry at all. I love people. Always have. Everything about them draws me to them, makes me love them, makes me want to help them where I can even though they baffle and terrify me on so many levels. I love working in soup kitchens and the like where I can. My adolescent fantasies involved meeting someone I could cling to and open up to rather than being a sports hero or famous or rich. Imagine that. A teenage boy daydreaming about being swept off his feet by a princess (in a manner of speaking, not like I actually wanted to be carried - I would probably do the carrying, considering my size), cuddling in front of a fire, protecting and connecting to someone special.

Sorry, started rambling there. Mothers reading, you know how your boys and girls are better than anyone. If your gut tells you something is wrong or different, run with it, is all I am saying.

Karen Halabura on September 19, 2011:

40 official dx 2day ADHD NVLD Developmental Coordination & Math Disability

I have self dx'd Aspergers 4 abt 8yrs until 2day must say There is not much difference to me. I do have Dysthymia and have been diagnosed over a course of the past 10 months from mental health issues basically I had the ADHD and Learning Disabilites dx for 10yrs with extensive testing. I came up with Aspergers when I learned about it searching for information on Autism as my daughter had been dx'd with it. I have not seen much difference between us except that she has low functioning autism. I do agree with Stan DESPERATELY verbal. Having been undiagnosed all my life lead me to suicidal ideation at the beginning of the year. Attempted 3x's hospitalized total 4x's dx'd Borderline Personality Disorder and as dr's got 2 know me in and out patient they saw the difficulties I was able 2 find my testing only after I was released from the last in patient stay given to my therapists and psych at day hospital for therapy. This is where they saw me everyday and came up with my thoughts of autism but they weren't sure and referred me to a child psychiatrist autism specialist in the hospital. Comes down to this dx. I do think awareness needs to be spread equally among children and adults. My hopes in hopefully not becoming a stat or almost stat like I almost did. 2nd hospitalization saved intubated coma 40 hrs pneumonia lucky I lived and I now will tell my story in hopes of avoiding the hurt and pain I was in. You can find me on FB if you want to talk just search for Karen Halabura and AutistasAngeles333 (with or without the 333) Txs 4 your info much appreciated I am kinda getting things gathered up to understand the difference between the 2.

stanwshura on August 01, 2011:

Holy cow! I desperately hope that "the doctor" has educated himself about NVLD since his comment 11 months ago! He not only missed the target, but soared past, over, around, under and in the opposite direction therefrom!

He has some legit points about a COMPLETELY different topic and "subgroup" - nonverbal individuals. And then he shot off from that COMPLETELY WRONG premise and analyzed and observed from there.

I'm not exactly qualified to comment on what subject he DID cover - but PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE - SOMEBODY tell me that he and the rest of the world are getting that NVLD is about NEEDING words and having difficulty with the nonverbal, visual-spatial, and executive functioning stuff!!!

His Jungian theory sounds solid, and I'm sure he's well adept at discussing and/or publishing about the Myers Briggs stuff that sprouted from Carl's seed.

But again - completely irrelevant. And the lying/perceptual/whatever skills of "nonverbals" (!!!that's the biggest clue throughout his piece - the use of this word!!!), may be germaine to a subject and population I, frankly, have no interest in studying beyond applications of technology, ABA, NAPPI, and improving my paraprofessional skills in the work that I do.

Anyway, just had to chime in because I felt I HAD to take this opportunity to SCREAM out loud that "NONVERBAL LEARNING DISABILITY IS ABOUT HAVING DIFFICULTY WITH ALL THINGS NONVERBAL!". Many of us, and I dare include yours truly, are keenly and exceptionally adept at word use, precision, and writing.

Make NO mistake about it - we with NVLD are ***DESPERATELY*** verbal!


Tammy on July 28, 2011:

My name is Tammy and during my school years (K-12) I was diagnosed with learning disability, nos, in adulthood it was later diagnosed as non-verbal learning disability. I have a lot of visual memory problems and have extreme difficulty with new situations, transitions, and a lot of social difficulty in the employment world. Work performance, speed, and social politics are very hard to deal with. I am well educated, but cannot work or perform at the level and skills I have prepared for or tried for years to develop and get into specialized fields. I have depression and OCD on top of that and it doesn't make things easier. I wish there were more professionals out there to help and deal with employment things and to work with some of the background I had developed.

jon on June 25, 2011:

this is my biography

Tracey on April 06, 2011:

I have a 14 year old daughter who was diagnosed with NVLD, Inattentive ADD, and OCD. Yes, she has social issues, and yes she is bullied at school, and for sure she will have obstacles and so will her younger brother who doesn't have a label, or has the label of being "normal". When I look at my children I don't see their diabilities I see how wonderful they are, how lucky I am to have them and how I wouldn't change them for a million bucks. As a parent it is a struggle and at times difficult and the best advice I can give is love your children, teach them confidence and self respect, love them and appreicate them for who they are

marion on April 05, 2011:

i have a teenage daughterwho fits the bill ofnvld but was never diagnosed. i just thought she is a tough child.herbiggest obstacle was socially. swhe loved having friends but somehow they were always bullying her off and on. she has suffered such deep pain and hurt. i took her to a social worker in high school who after a few months said that she is fine just her general nature is slightly immature. how i wished she would have realized that my daughter should be tested for this disorder and would have directed me for the right help. not only has my child suffered but all of us as a family.i have definitely learned to be much more patient as a parent but i reallyfeel sorry because i didn't realize she had a disorder.please professionals do your job well so our children don't have to suffer.

Tyler on March 15, 2011:

Do both of your daughters a favor. Don't tell the younger one who is being mean to her older sister that she is "handicapped" its not even really true. NLD makes things more challenging but it is not a handicap really as there is literally no one thing it prevents you to do. That's not a corny inspirational statement just a fact. Remind the younger sister to respect her older sister because she is her sister and because she is older. Reinforce the role of the older sister as the older sister. Don't ask the younger one to pity her, what you will be implicitly saying is that she is basically the older one. Its very difficult to be an older sibling with NLD with a younger one who does better in school is more socially accepted and is given more freedom by your parents, and gets an attitude like I'm actually younger but my older siblings retarded so I am basically the older brother/sister.

Michelle B on February 02, 2011:

I have a daughter who was diagnosed with NvLD after leaving my abusive ex. All 3 of my kids have different issues because of the background. My two oldest are on medication for problems but now I face I think the hardest one of all. My youngest has NO compassion or empathy or somewhat no kindness toward her sister who had NvLD. I am at a loss. My heart hurts everyday that I see my daughter treat or act meanly to her sister. What can I do? Has anyone ever had this problem of a sibling not reacting the way "I think she should be acting" toward her sister? I will take any suggestions that might help me to help my daughter understand that having a "Somewhat handicapped" sibling/child is hard on all the family and we all have to treat her with kindness!!My e-mail is

Cwan on January 07, 2011:

As a professional and a parent of a child who was diagnosed in High School now in her 3rd year at a Division I University we are continuing to learn and make discoveries regarding this deficit. There is much that is known and not known. Athough there are certain markers these individuals need always to be viewed as that INDIVIDUALS.

It took 5 challenging years from: my parental referral,inadequate evaluation by a suburban school psychologist,request for an Independent Educational Evaluation of a notable audiologist and Psychology Phd knowledgeable in this area, documentation of a clinically experienced Speech-Language Pathologist in that surburban school,to retention of an attorney who wrote texts on educational law, before services were provided.

My daughter did not fit the typical "profile" of a person with NvLD. She was an honor student with language, reading, writing, and spelling skills in the high average to above average range. On the surface she presented as not particularly socially ackward. Math was another story. Art a nightmare. Statewide math proficiency tests were never passed. Disorganization, short term memory and Visual-spatial issues were evident. Teachers often voiced "Not putting forth best effort".

My first priority as a Speech-Language Pathologist was make sure academics didn't suffer since as I previously stated socially she appeared ok. In High School she was pretty popular,had a diverse group of friends. I often felt she was being Some Schooled although she was attending private school.

It was later that social issues started and to emerge.

We began to become aware of the anxiety experienced in large groups and new settings. Learning how to stand up to peers: saying "no", "have to go",and "I can't" took work. We were blessed that drugs, alcohol, and pemarital sex were issues.

As family we had to be creative. We began to volunteer together in our community. If a family member wasn't present, volunteering was done with a friendor group of friends. We started with small projects leading up to community wide projects which required overnights.

At the university she makes the Dean's list and inconsistently volunteers. After havng the same roommate for 2 years she's in a private room but continues to have a very small group of frends. She utilizes support services available i.e extended testing as necessary as well as help with time management. The struggle not to get distracted persists. During finals it was her decision to disconnect Face Book and turn off her cell phone for blocks of time.

My challenge as parent is to listen and accept that errors will be made. My greatest concern is dating and the physical dangers that can occur when certain signals are missed. Even with these challenges and concerns I have faith things will be fine. She's a fantastic young woman!

Suzy 64 years old on December 26, 2010:

I was not diagnosed with NLD until I was almost 50. As a young child, I had severe developmental delays. My mother took my to a child neurologist at the age of 3, and he said that I would never amount to anything and that I should be put away in some kind of institution because I would never talk, read, or write. My mother would never agree to that. Although my parents did their best to go it alone, I learned to feel that I was not important enough for any of the professionals out there to give a damn. I managed to graduate from high school. However, because of my struggles to learn quickly and also my grave social perception problems, I chose not to attend college because I had had enough of school. I chose to go to work instead. I met with greater difficulties because I frequently was not accepted other reasons. First of all, most employers expect one to learn in a given space of time whereas it took me longer to learn new tasks. Also, like many of us, I did not know what was clearly expected of me on the job. Then my coworkers almost always rejected me because they did not understand my differences. I also had emotional problems which included depression, anger, and uncontrolable crying spells. I had trouble getting hired and keeping the jobs that I did get.

I have been married and widowed twice. I have a son with my first marriage. I was not the best mother material because I had acquired a social life late, and I developed in insatiable need to hang out with friends when I should have been at home practicing motherhood. My son sufferred as a result. I lack the that one part of my social development as a teenager that I needed to grow. I was a 30 year old adult with as much social maturity as a teenager.

I realize that I cannot be without therapy for more than 5 years at a time. I frequently find that after having been without therapy for too long, I need to go back. I have been in and out of therapy since my sophmore year in high school when my mother was able to find me a shrink at the age of 16.

All of my life, I have hated myself, and even I could not get past the reason why I should have been smart to know better. I am on a mission to find out all of the answers that I can regarding my condition because my mother and I were never able to get answers to this unusual problem. I also have another problem that has only added to this one. I am visually impaired with Nystagmus, a condition with unvoluntary eye movements. I do not have the answer for that one either. To be specific, I was never able to find out the part of the brain that has been defective. I want to see it in black and white. My mother is now 91, and my mission is to find out and share my information with her. I live in Chicago, and I am on a fixed income. Ideally, I would love to volunteer myself as a live research subject wheras they can learn from my situation as I can learn about myself at the same time. My e-mail is PLEASE HELP! Whank you!

dberm on December 20, 2010:

I'm 18 used to be terribly awkward in social situation but in high-school I figured out how to "act like I'm socially capable" and I was hot shit. In college how I act is now who I am so I self cured my social awkwardness with forcing myself in every possible uncomfortable Situation possible. Nvld kids from experience can be strong in any aspects of their life. Its a matter of sucking it up and using your very capable brain to figure out how to change ur mental state

I'm also an infp and I'm starting my own frat

Was socially retarded my whole life now I'm not. Get on my level nvld's. Tip smoke a lot of pot it calms u down and makes you more rational. If I didn't smoke pot I would not have been able to make it through highschool

John on December 16, 2010:

Pia, thank you for your post. That helped balance out some of the info.

john on December 01, 2010:

i agree with the docter very much were are not socially retarted

JOHN on December 01, 2010:


john on December 01, 2010:

oh yea email me at if u don't agree with what i say

John on December 01, 2010:

now now half of that is bs cause i have NVLD and i have no problems with making friend or having a relaitionship

not all kids with Nvld have that issue and just sayin u should refrace half the stuff there

Noah on August 12, 2010:

i have not been yet diagnosed with it, but i do have every single symptom. i am depressed and anxious in social situations and there are a few people out there that don't like me and wish to fight me cause i was not able to understand they were mad at me....

The Doctor on August 09, 2010:

I think this is completely over simplifying the issue with non-verbal learning disability. I think that the non-verbal individual isn’t just “not good at non-verbal clues” but perhaps doesn’t have the same desire to guess, and pretend, and do a whole plethora of things that help with social lubrication. Nonverbal people have a different agenda – often intellectual or imaginative. They view reality more “as is” and less “as it should be”. For you see, the non-verbal person has an explicit verbal memory. We remember so much of everything, that for some of us, many of the interactions required for a happy and healthy social life require lying. This is lying that we will remember at a later date. This is lying that we would have to keep track of in our heads, that may eat away at us. Now, this isn’t always the case. There is more than one type of NVLD individual, and I find the behavior of the NVLD greatly corresponds with Jungian personality type. I think the different types of Non-Verbal learning disability that they are discovering, are actually, and simply Jungian Type differences and the way NonVerbal affects the individual.

There are actually NonVerbals who realize that many people are completely lacking in verbal memory, and they use this knowledge to their advantage, lying at any and every convenience, rarely getting called out or caught. These people often develop NPD or in extreme cases antisocial personality disorder.

Personally, I remember many, many social lies, white lies, and acting – done on the behalf of many individuals – in business interactions, in the service industry and by acquaintances. Many of these memories come as early as childhood, and pop up often, haunting me, with a plethora of “Whys?”. Why lie? Why make things up? Why would they tell me this? What is the purpose. It is seemingly impossible for me to understand – just because it makes things best in the moment.

For these reasons, I find it near impossible to converse on any sort of level with Verbals, and I actually fear it. How can you exist within a lie itself? Why don’t other people notice these lies? Why don’t they care? And while we might tell ourselves that lying, and acting is necessary for existence – I firmly believe that it is not. I find it a complete violation. So before writing off non-verbals as socially retarded. Perhaps you should look into the social system itself, instead of just accepting it as the way it always was, and always should be.

troubledyouth on July 30, 2010:

Learning disability is a serious problem that causes distress and anxiety in troubled teenagers mind. Children suffering from non verbal learning disorder are unable to tackle the challenges of life and think themselves helpless. Such distressed adolescents need specialized treatments and extended care to overcome emotional and psychological harassing issues. For this counseling and therapy programs can be helpful.

embee77 on May 16, 2010:

To Kathryn, please accept my thanks for getting this "conversation" started. You've hit some sensitive areas with your descriptions. You are accurate, though. I, too, have it in addition to ADD without hyperactivity. Some recent research has linked the two to the autism spectrum, and I couldn't agree more. I'm writing about my own experiences on hubpages and I'd love your feedback if you get a chance. To Pia, Yes, yes, yes. The social aspect is SOOOOOOO hard to learn. We have such little self esteem because we fail and fail and fail again when it comes to connecting with others. It's taken me 56 years to reach the point where I am comfortable in groups and speaking to groups. It was a long haul and it included some recent therapy to get past the deep negativity I built up over the years. But it was all worth it. I hope you, too, are doing well.

anthony schmidt on April 27, 2010:

ya i agree im 16 and i was just diagnosed with NVLD like 4-5 months ago and ive had a lot of trouble going through school teachers never really did understand about it you tried explaining it and it would just fall on deaf ears they thought it was nothing to worry about so i quit school so i didn't have to deal with teachers not paying any attention to wat i say and wat i do and no offense to teachers out there but you guys if someone is diagnosed with NVLD you guys or girls have to listen eto wat they have to say if you try explaining it because there is people like me everyday who are comeing to the same conclusion i did and that was to quit school i no you parents may not like dat but if the teachers don't listen to your sons and or daughters they are going to end up like me out of school living on there own and cutting off all contact with the outside like i got forced to go to work if it wasn't for NVLD i would still be in school but that is my rant and poarents do wat you can and kids if you read this trust me stay ni school take it from me quiting school is not a smart move i regret it and wish i could take it bac because if i could i wpould but that is my bit on NVLD you can send me a email at and ill explain more about how bad my life is cause of it .

George Poe from United Kingdom on April 17, 2010:

Nice work. Thanks for sharing..

George Poe from United Kingdom on April 01, 2010:

Good hub.

Beznik on January 16, 2010:

I agree with Pia I have NLD and I am glad that I didn't learn it till I was 12 sure school was hard and often miserable. It is for a lot of people. 30 percent of our kids don't graduate including like 70 percent of African American males. Im white just pointing out school sucks for a lot of people. And so do the petty cliques and teasing and bullying from the playground to high school. We as a society should change it but lets face it bullies are part of the American experience and not something only people with NLD face. Your supposed to just be a man and take it and what not and have a good story to tell later. I don't mean that like its ok I mean you can't shelter children if you want them to turn into adults. People with NLD will learn how to socialize because they want to they want friends to talk to comfort meaning in their lives and they want to be loved and they want sex just like any person and many people with NLD want to and will have it and many will get married. A lot of books and people that talk about this say use adults to stop bullies. (Honestly you don't understand how bad it is when your mom tells a bully to stop and how that doesn't work at all)they say your kid is gullible shelter him from being alone keep him away from drugs and sex at all costs. Well all the thinking about NLD has really come from professionals and a few parents who pretty much want to keep us in a box but people with NLD like anybody got to make their own way in life and succeed and fail like anyone else. Maybe they deserve some help whoever raises them will ses that and hopefully help like most parents would want to. But a person with NLD is a person like anyone else. A person suprisingly talented. Take Elvis really good at singing and dancing. Maybe he was bad at math class(ironic since music has a lot of math in it) maybe he couldn't spell very good or maybe he was bad at sports. Who the hell cares hes a musician and hee was good enough at that one thing. NLD people can harness their ability with words to do just about anything. For despite the social cue lacking or whatever the people that communicate the most are not the partyers they are the nerds who stay home and write all day ie authors directors playwrights journalists. As for myself I find I can often connect well with people I have never met especially children. People with NLD don't really need to hear they can't do things from people claiming to help them against a world of people who think they can't do things

stanwshura on November 16, 2009:

Well, I'm not going to echo the above sentiments, although I agree with some of them. I think you made a valid and honest effort, and your piece does contain some solid info.

I think you might be interested to know that there are thoughts percolating (and research being done - hope hope!!) on the varioius aspects and/or manifestations of NVLD. There is a school of thought, to which I'm inclined to subscribe (although I am biased as I too have NVLD, hydrocephalus, and OCD) to it, that there are 3 very prominent subtypes: social, visual-processing, and - crap!, I forget the 3rd, but I think the literal thinking is a defining aspect).

Anyway, a lot of your piece sounds like it is informed by the research of Byron Rourke, and many folks with NVLD, as well as Asperger's Disorder (don't get me started on THIS spectrum theory of NLD!) take some offense at his conlusions and/or the tone with which he expresses them.

I thought your piece was decent, even if I don't agree with all of it. I fanned you. :)

Jen Gifford on September 17, 2009:

I too have a fifteen year old daughter with NLD. She was lucky and received an early diagnosis. The problems we have continually encountered is the lack of knowledge and resources for people with NLD. I believe this is a disorder more than a learning disability and it presents differently for many of the people who have it. This only complicates things when you are trying to understand it and get support. Although I found this post to be depressing it does unfortnuately outline many of the problems and issues faced by individuals with NLD. What I would like is for this disorder to become more recognizable to the general population. My daughter has suffered tremendously due to the fact her disability is invisible. The part that is so frustrating is she is an amazing person who is bright, talented and very loving and has much to offer society. Her strengths most certainly outweigh her deficiets - unfortunately our experience has been one of frustration. We have just recently had to pull her from school due to depression & anxiety. We are hopeful that she will recover and earn her OSSC diploma through independent and self-directed learning.

Susan on September 14, 2009:

My child 15 was just diagnosed with NVLD..We noticed her social issues starting at the grade level of 4th grade..We at this time did not know she had anything other than ADHD.We tried to reach her what's was right to say and what was wrong and tried at the same time how to make friends and keep them...We thought we could help..At this time we know that this is a very hard task for her to do..She currently has no REAL friends and does not know how to have a relationship with people..My heart is broken for her and I have yet read or found anything to where I can help her..The above article describes my daughter to a T..The more information that is provided to parents the more we can try to help our children..Until you know someone that has this you cannot even begin to understand the PAINthey go through..I am more than happy to talk or receive anyones personal knowledge..Thanks

Calen Rodgers on September 10, 2009:

I was diagnosed with NVLD in January 2008 and I found this article also disturbing. We can learn how to make up for some of those skills that we are lacking and we can excel in other areas!

koolaidsmile619@y on July 29, 2009:

I am 23 years old i have been diagnosed with nld since i was 8 years old and i did appreciate your post because it is so true to what i went through in my life . I don't think my parents or many others realize how deep the social problems are and how badly we want to be normal and have friends . although the article may sound negative sometimes the truth hurts.

raffia on June 21, 2009:

That was a very negative and one sided post. As a parent of a four year old just diagnosed with NVLD with a 35 point gap in score, I really do not appreciate that dire one-sided negative unhelpful post.

Kathryn Vercillo (author) from San Francisco on February 19, 2009:

@ Pia. Thanks for the additional information. I do not have any personal experience with NVLD and was writing only from the perspective of the research that I found available.

I definitely wouldn't want anyone to give up on life ... and I'm interested in learning more about your experience as someone who was diagnosed later in life.

pia on February 19, 2009:

I have NLD. It was only diagnosed two years ago. Your post does a great disservice to those of us who have spent our lives actively engaged in social situations. As we didn't know we were supposed to be bad at social interactions we had to develop social skills. They came at a cost but I taught myself how to do whatever didn't come naturally to me

The negativity expressed in your post, if picked up by many other people, could cause people with NLD to give up and that I fefuse to do

Mark on January 13, 2009:

Come join the disability site of choice....