Non-Verbal Learning Disorder

Non-verbal learning disorder (NVLD) is a learning disability which leads to difficulty with motor, visual-spatial, and social skills in children. Children with this condition are often well spoken, and are able to write well. However, they struggle with things like social cues, understanding abstract concepts, and visual processing. Non-verbal learning disorder does not typically receive and official diagnosis like other learning disabilities such as ADHD or Autism.

Non-Verbal Learning Disorder in Manhattan

Amplify EyeCare Manhattan

Signs to Watch For

There are several areas in which children with non-verbal learning disorder may struggle. Through knowing what areas these are, you will have a better chance of noticing there is a problem early.

Difficulty with visual and spatial awareness

Children with non-verbal learning disorder often struggle with understanding visual imagery. As an example, if they are asked to copy a specific shape, they will instead draw a distorted figure. This is because they can’t perceive the shape, the forms it is made up of, and the relationships between them.

They also struggle at evaluating visual-spatial information, and have a hard time comprehending the relationship between objects they see and their locations.

Trouble with math concepts

While children with non-verbal learning disorder can be good at rote learning, and can do well in math by relying on memorization, they are likely to struggle while trying to solve more advanced problems which require understanding concepts and patterns.

Social cues

Children with non-verbal learning disorder often have trouble reading emotions in those around them, and in picking up facial cues and other body language. This makes it a challenge for them to properly engage in social interactions. With less understanding of social cues, they are prone to inappropriate behavior in social settings. Some have theorized that an overuse of technology, specifically things like communicating via non-verbal methods like texts and online chats, can lead to or exacerbate this problem.

Higher order comprehension

Higher order comprehension is one’s ability to identify a main idea, details which support it, and how they relate to each other. This skill is vital to reading comprehension, and the ability to tell a story well (both verbally and through writing). People who struggle with this will have a harder time taking notes in class: they may try to write down nearly everything the teacher says, since they can’t determine what is important, or write down nothing at all, or just superfluous information, since they can’t figure out what is important enough to write.

Executive functions

Executive functions are a group of skills people use to organize their thinking, to plan and carry out actions, and to solve problems. Children with non-verbal learning disorder tend to struggle with organizing and planning. They won't know how to break down large projects into smaller steps, or understand exactly what they need to do to accomplish the goals of their projects.

Non-Verbal Learning Disorder and Vision

How does vision, and vision issues, come into play with this disorder?

Non-verbal learning disorder stems from deficits in visual processing, which is what leads to many of the struggles described above. Deficits in visual processing are often caused by vision issues, which can be corrected to at least alleviate symptoms. However, since children with this disorder may have 20/20 eyesight, and because some of the symptoms can be attributed to other disorders, the underlying vision issues causing their problems may not be addressed.

Basic vision tests only look to see if people can see the chart 20 feet away, and not near sight. They also cannot detect many other vision issues, such as deficiencies in eye tracking, eye focusing, and convergence, which can make life more difficult--especially in an academic setting.

Non-Verbal Learning Disorder and Vision
How Does Treatment Work?

How Does Treatment Work?

The first step upon seeing our doctor will be a comprehensive assessment to determine how best to help your child based on their unique situation. Once the specifics of their condition are determined, a personalized treatment plan will be formulated. The therapies will be directly targeting the skills they lack, to help improve your child’s abilities in those areas.

We utilize top of the line activities and technology to specifically target the necessary skills, and to make the therapy enjoyable, something especially important for younger patients.

How Does Treatment Work?

What Should I Do if My Child Has Non-Verbal Learning Disorder?

If you detect any of the symptoms of non-verbal learning disorder in your child, contact our doctors, who have experience in managing and treating vision problems which are associated with non-verbal learning disorders.

Unlike conditions such as ADHD or autism, non-verbal learning disorder isn’t an official diagnosis. However, children with non-verbal learning disorder may present with those diagnoses. Focusing on the non-verbal learning disorder, instead of on the ADHD or autism, may help explain certain challenges or behaviors that come with non-verbal learning disorder. This will help to better determine the best way to help children dealing with this issue to do better in school.

How Long Does Treatment Take?

As with the specifics of the treatment itself, the length of treatment varies on a case by case basis, depending on the patient’s needs. Once our doctor formulates a treatment plan, we will have a better idea how long treatment will take.

Non-Verbal Learning Disorder and Vision
Dr. Wernick cartoon

Summary

Non-verbal learning disorder is a condition which can lead to difficulty in motor, visual-spatial, and social skills in children, though these same children may be highly verbal, unlike in other learning disabilities. Due to the nature of the symptoms, and the fact that children with this condition can have 20/20 vision, it can be a challenge to detect the problems and seek treatment. As with other vision issues which can impact learning ability, vision therapy is a great treatment option. Contact us at (212) 752-6930 to schedule an evaluation. Patients looking for a developmental eye exam visit our clinic from all over New York, and we are proud to be leading provider of developmental vision services for patients from New York, Queens, Brooklyn, and Long Island.

Testimonials


At Amplify with Dr Wernick I was seeking help for seemingly intractable, probably age-related dryness. I've seen other doctors about it, and that has been helpful, but what he explained to me about it and the careful way he answered all my questions gave me so much more of a clear understanding of what is going on (and is not) that I am more able to implement all his and others' recommendations than I was before. And he gave me additional resources for further follow-up. I am most grateful.


Cynthia Norton

Wow! This is a great Eye Care medical facility. I was thoroughly examined by Dr. Pinkhasov for over 2 hours. She made sure to check my eyes for pretty much everything and patiently explained proper care for my eyes. They definitely know how to provide great care and treat their patients right. Now I know why they have such a great reputation and been around for so long.


Steve Fay

Dr. Kavner is a gifted diagnostician and orthoptic therapist. He treated me several decades ago for a condition similar to dyslexia. I was having migraines five times per week. I worked with him for about a year and I experienced tremendous improvement (down to 3-4 per year) that has lasted.


Mary K.

Dr. Kavner recommended two types of eye therapy for my daughter. One of them using bio-feedback. In just three sessions she is seeing considerably better. She shouted this morning: Ooh my God! I could not see these letters with my glasses on, and now I can see them without my glasses. If you are willing and able to invest in improving your vision, this is a good place to go to!


Peter G.

Dr. Kavner recommended two types of eye therapy for my daughter. One of them using bio-feedback. In just three sessions she is seeing considerably better. She shouted this morning: Ooh my God! I could not see these letters with my glasses on, and now I can see them without my glasses. If you are willing and able to invest in improving your vision, this is a good place to go to!


Kinkie F.

I have always found Dr Kavner's work, expertise and wisdom of the highest caliber. As one of the fathers of OT, occupational othomology, his depth and breadth of knowledge about the eyes' health and wellbeing of the patient is exemplary. Cannot say enough good things about him.


Allen B.
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