The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders does not list nonverbal learning disability (NVLD) as a diagnosis (DSM-5). Although neuropsychologists and educational settings are increasingly recognizing a "NVLD profile," there is no common criterion for making this diagnosis.
However, the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD) does include NVLD in its classification system for intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDDs). The AAIDD defines an IDD as a chronic medical condition that affects brain development, resulting in significant functional limitations. This definition includes both physical and cognitive disabilities. It is important to recognize that an individual can have one or more IDs by being diagnosed with another DDV. The four main types of IDDs are autism spectrum disorder (ASD), cerebral palsy (CP), epilepsy, and multiple disabilities associated with impairments in sensory systems, communication, cognition, and behavior.
People often think of intelligence as something you are born with, but your brain is always changing through experience. Cognitive abilities involve thinking processes such as reasoning and understanding information from memory. These are learned behaviors that can be improved through practice. People who have IDs may have difficulties learning new skills or remembering what they learn. However, with appropriate treatment, many people with IDs can live happy lives that allow them to contribute meaningfully to society.
Nonverbal learning disorder (NVLD) or nonverbal learning disability (NVLD) is the most commonly missed, misunderstood, and under-diagnosed learning impairment. It affects about 1 in 5 school-age children, with no gender bias. Children with NVLD have difficulties using visual clues to understand what others intend by their actions. They may not pick up on social cues such as facial expressions or body language. This can cause problems with social interaction and friendships.
Children with NVLD often perform well on tasks that require logic and analysis rather than social understanding. They may also show an unusual interest in science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM). However, due to their difficulty interpreting social cues, they may experience isolation because of their inability to understand why other people act the way they do. Many children with NVLD enjoy computer games and other forms of entertainment that use lights, sounds, and movement as opposed to human interactions.
Although there is no cure for NVLD, support groups offer hope by providing information and encouragement. These groups are usually made up of adults who have been through similar experiences and can help children learn how to interact with others.
There are three types of NVLD: isolated, associated, and generalized. An isolated case is one in which a child shows signs of only one type of NVLD.
Although NVLD is not a learning impairment, the challenges it causes can have an influence on learning. There are methods for assisting people in improving their talents and dealing with problems. The key is to identify those methods that will be most effective for each person.
ND is also an acronym for neuro-divergent, a word that has been used since at least the late 1990s to describe persons who are not neurotypical, or who have so-called normal neurological activity and development. A person who is neuro-divergent may have autism or schizophrenia, for example. However many people with neuro-diversity use the term to describe themselves even if they don't have a recognized mental illness.
In simple terms, an ND person is someone who doesn't fit the typical mold. People with disabilities, especially physical ones like blindness or deafness; older people; women who have gone through menopause; people who are out of shape; and those who are overweight or underweight are all considered ND individuals.
The concept of neuro-diversity was introduced in 1997 by Temple Grandin in her book The Way I See It: A Guide to Effective Communication for Autism and Other Neurodiverse Individuals. In it, she states that "neurodiversity is the norm, rather than the exception". She goes on to say that although most people think of autism as being about differences in behavior, actually each individual with autism is different from every other one in significant ways including abilities, skills, and interests. Some people with autism can be very good at recognizing patterns while others find this difficult if not impossible to do. Some can count money accurately while others have a hard time keeping track of numbers.