Zoom Autism Magazine Issue 3 Spring 2015 - Page 21

“Contrary to its title, people with NonVerbal Learning Disorder (NVLD-ers) are usually quite verbal.” people who meet the diagnostic criteria for Asperger’s Syndrome also have NVLD. But could it be the same condition? NVLD Similar to Asperger’s NVLD does present very similarly to Asperger’s Syndrome, especially the female presentation of Asperger’s. The current opinion is that NonVerbal Learning Disorder is not an Autistic Spectrum Condition; however, Non-Verbal Learning Disorder and Asperger’s Syndrome are both Pervasive Development Disorders and thus share many similar characteristics. The traits of NVLD are very close to the common female manifestations of Asperger’s Syndrome. People with NVLD and Asperger’s both struggle to recognize non-verbal clues and body language, including facial expression and emotion. They both have difficulties with eye contact and are very literal, often missing the bigger picture. Both can be socially awkward and can have difficulties making friends, especially within the same age group. Both groups often have poor organization, handwriting, and difficulty with reading comprehen- sion as well as sensory issues and poor motor coordination. How the Two Differ There are, however, some differences between Asperger’s Syndrome and NVLD. People with Asperger’s tend to be visual learners. They may have some academic difficulty, but this isn’t usually the case when it comes to math. People with NVLD are verbal learners and can struggle with math, mainly because they have visual spatial issues. People with Asperger’s are more likely to have special interests and engage in self-stimulatory behaviors known as stimming; although, these are less pronounced in girls on the autistic spectrum. NVLD-ers are less likely to have a special interest or stim. The sex ratio of people diagnosed with NVLD is 1:1, while the sex ratio for people with Asperger’s is commonly thought to be 16 boys to every one girl. People with Non-Verbal Learning Disorder are adept with language and verbal reasoning, meaning that a diagnosis often isn’t made until chilZoom Autism Through Many Lenses 21