Thursday, April 14, 2011

What is a nonverbal learning disability?

By Angela Sapiana

The term non verbal learning disability refers to a learning disability that affects something other than reading and writing. While dyslexia, dysgraphia and dyscalculia cover your more commonly talked about learning problems, non verbal is the other stuff. It's the abstract thought that goes into geometry problems, logic problems and analyzing novels. While it affects the reading, writing and arithmetic it's that secondary thinking that goes along with the analytical part.

Non verbal disabilities are the spatial and abstract ones that require thinking ordinately, putting things in order or using clues from one problem to solve another. Typically NVLD students are bright and have learned to overcome their disability over time. NVLD students are normally quick to ask an adult about an object, situation or problem before tackling it themselves.

Non verbal learning disability doesn't have any known causes. Learning disabilities are often genetic, but no hard, concrete link has been made. This one seems to affect the right side of the brain, which is the more abstract and emotional side. While the right side deals with facts, graphs and stats where answers are typically black and white, the left side provides analysis, commentary and the ability to compare ideas.

There is no real "cure" for non verbal learning disabilities. Once diagnosed, it becomes easier for students to recognize when their brain is having trouble processing information. Understanding how the brain functions and subsequently how to break larger problems into smaller, right brain tasks helps sufferers overcome the issues.

Like dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia and dysgraphia, nonverbal learning disorder is not a disease. It is not something held by the lazy or sensory challenged. A learning disability is so named because traditional educators did the naming. A learning disability is merely a mindset not designed to process information the way schools typically present it. That's it.

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