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Questions + Answers

Nonverbal LD

Frequent questions

  • Question 1: What is a nonverbal learning disability?
  • Question 2: Where can I find information about sensory integration dysfunction?
  • Question 3: How can we help our autistic child plan for success in high school?
  • Question 4: Could anxiety and panic attacks cause a false diagnosis of a nonverbal learning disability?

Expert answers

1) What is a nonverbal learning disability?

A nonverbal learning disability is a condition in which an individual does not accurately process information that is not verbal or linguistic (such as visual-spatial information, facial expressions, or social cues). The following articles describe characteristics of nonverbal learning disabilities as well as suggestions for interventions:

2) Where can I find information about sensory integration dysfunction?

LD OnLine has the following articles on nonverbal learning disabilities:

For more information on sensory integration dysfunction (SID), check out the following book: The Out-of-Sync Child: Recognizing and Coping with Sensory Integration Dysfunction by Carol Stock Kranowitz.

3) How can we help our autistic child plan for success in high school?

Autism is a spectrum disorder that can look very different in different students. Any suggestions will need to be adapted or modified to meet your particular child's needs.

First, here is a collection of articles on nonverbal learning disabilities.

You may also want to contact the following organizations, which offer information and support:

4) Could anxiety and panic attacks cause a false diagnosis of a nonverbal learning disability?

The characteristics of nonverbal learning disabilities make it very common for children with NLD to experience anxiety. Their difficulty understanding other people and anticipating events can lead to a feeling of chaos and uncertainty. They are inclined toward developing secondary internalizing disorders such as stress, anxiety and panic, and phobias. Many teachers do not appreciate the daily level of stress these children experience. Adapting to new situations or changes in routine can be debilitating for children with NLD.

However, other characteristics identify NLD besides anxiety. This article outlines general tendencies of these children. Those who suffer anxiety and panic attacks do not necessarily have a nonverbal learning disability. Their anxiety may be due to any number of other factors, including a past traumatic experience, depression, or general stress.

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