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Nonverbal learning disabilities

Nonverbal Learning Disabilities: What You’re Seeing in Your Middle-Schooler

By Erica Patino

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Middle school is a time for being social and gaining independence. That’s why the symptoms of nonverbal learning disabilities (NVLD) often become clearer at this age. The following signs are typical of NVLD for children at this stage, but some may also occur with other issues, such as ADHD or Asperger’s syndrome.

56Found this helpful
Nonverbal Learning Disabilities: What You’re Seeing in Your Middle-Schooler

Kids with nonverbal learning disabilities (NVLD) sometimes struggle with the more abstract schoolwork of middle school. It can be a challenge to “read between the lines” when talking with other kids, too. Here’s what you may be seeing.

Has Poor Sense of Time
At home: Your child says she’ll be done with homework in 20 minutes. But it always takes twice as long.
At school: Your child often runs out of time on tests.
The issue: Kids with NVLD often have poor abstract reasoning. This can lead to trouble with time management.

Misreads Body Language
At home: Your child laughs when you’re discussing a serious topic because you briefly smiled.
At school: Your child keeps talking to her lab partner after he turns away to fill out a worksheet.
The issue: Kids with NVLD may not understand communication that isn’t spoken, such as body language and facial expressions.

Can’t Seem to Follow Directions
At home: Your child can’t do the laundry even though you’ve walked her through all the steps many times.
At school: Your child has trouble following the teacher’s instructions for a class project.
The issue: Kids with NVLD might struggle with organizational skills and remembering instructions.

Is a Creature of Habit
At home: Your child doesn’t like sleepovers because she can’t follow her regular bedtime routine.
At school: Your child gets stressed out over field trips and changes to the class schedule.
The issue: Kids with NVLD might cling to old habits because they can’t make sense of new information.
Graphic of Nonverbal learning disabilities: What you're seeing in your middle-schooler
Graphic of Nonverbal learning disabilities: What you're seeing in your middle-schooler

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About the Author

Portrait of Erica Patino

Erica Patino

Erica Patino is an online writer and editor who specializes in health and wellness content.

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Reviewed by Sheldon H. Horowitz, Ed.D. Feb 12, 2014 Feb 12, 2014

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