Nonverbal Learning Disorder (NVLD)

About NVLD

Nonverbal Learning Disabilities (NVLD) also known as visuospatial learning disability and right hemisphere developmental learning disability is described by a problem with visual spatial organisational skills, problem solving abilities and psychomotor skills. In addition, problems in social proficiency, adjusting to new circumstances and emotional regulating may arise. Academically, NVLD is associated with trouble in arithmetic language, strong rote reading and spelling, but relative weaknesses in reading comprehension.


Studies suggest inefficient systems within the right hemisphere of the brain or from unsuccessful access to such system is present in children with NVLD. This affects a child’s ability to execute physical organisation, social communication, problem solving and planning processes. The child generally does not view the environment through vision or locomotion but uses language instead. This the child experiences withdrawal, separation and seclusion in social interactions.

Nonverbal learning disability
Dyslexia assessment cognitive issues

Cognitive issues associated with NVLD

Children with NLVD have been found to have deficits in recognition and reading of nonverbal emotion cues and body language which often makes social interactions difficult. Studies suggest they miss the social cues that other children pick up instinctively. As a result, children with NLVD have trouble understanding what appropriate behaviour is in a given situation.


A cognitive issue associated with NVLD involves a lack of executive functioning. This involves a set of processes we use to organise our rationality, plan and execute actions and problem solve. Many children with NLVD have weaknesses in these manners. Studies indicate they struggle with decomposing a scheme into smaller portions or conceiving steps that need to be implemented to complete a certain task.


Additionally, children with NLVD have problems with higher order comprehension. This is the ability to detect the main idea, the specifics that support the main idea and the connection among them. This affects the child’s ability to comprehend reading, writing or telling a story successfully. Note taking is also affected. Studies explain some children in class write down everything the teacher verbalises because they don’t understand the information that is important and isn’t. Other children don’t understand what information is significant and write down nothing or write all the wrong information.


Another cognitive issue children with NVLD have is trouble understanding visual imagery. A particular study indicated when asked to copy shapes, children with NVLD are unable to identify the shape, the forms that up the shape and the associations between them. This results in them not being able to duplicate the shapes. Visual spatial information is also affected.