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My son, who is now 15, has just been diagnosed with non-verbal learning disabilities (NVLD). He has been on an IEP since the age of three, due to speech apraxia, and later for LD, which affected his math, reading, and writing skills. He also has a diagnosis of ADHD and is on Concerta 54 mg a day.

I have read up on the NVLD and he does exhibit most of the signs of this disorder, as well as for his other diagnosis. My question is can he have learning disabilities that are both verbal and nonverbal and what can I do to help him? About two years ago, he made some very poor choices and as a result, charges were made against him. At this point, he is on probation, seeing a therapist and attending group sessions.

Due to his legal situation and his inability to understand the seriousness of his actions, my husband and I decided to homeschool him, basically out of fear that he may get into more trouble. We, however, are faced to with the dilemma of him not having any friends and don’t know how to solve this situation either since he has never done well with making friends. I would appreciate any input or help you could give us. Our greatest fear is that he will never be able to fit into mainstream society and will end up getting into more and more trouble.

A non-verbal learning disability can be part of a larger picture of learning disabilities or can be part of other psychiatric disorders. Given the difficulties he has had, it would be important for you to have both an educational consultant who could clarify if there are remaining learning disabilities and a mental health professional who understands such problems. If your school professionals cannot help with the learning/learning disabilities aspects of your question, you could seek a private consultant. Since he is on medication, the best mental health professional would be a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist.

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