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Nonverbal Learning Disorder

Topic Overview

Nonverbal learning disorder is a learning disorder that has many traits commonly associated with Asperger's syndrome. Like those with Asperger's syndrome, children with nonverbal learning disorder usually start to talk around 2 years of age (the age at which speech normally develops). They often have excellent memorization skills needed for reading and spelling. Also, they share a desire to form relationships but often fail because of poor social skills.

But these conditions are not the same. Children with nonverbal learning disorder have some distinguishing characteristics. A hallmark trait of the disorder is difficulty learning from the visual environment. Although they are poor visual learners, children with nonverbal learning disorder often excel at remembering information they hear. Children with Asperger's syndrome are also good at remembering information they hear.

Children with nonverbal learning disorder often have difficulty with math, because math is often explained in a visual context and these children lack nonverbal reasoning skills.

While many people with Asperger's syndrome have nonverbal learning disorder, not all do. Likewise, many people with nonverbal learning disorder do not have Asperger's syndrome. Although these disorders are separate, they both involve similar differences in processing information and those affected may benefit from the same types of treatment.

Related Information

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
John Pope, MD - Pediatrics
Fred Volkmar, MD - Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Last Revised April 5, 2012

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