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Nonverbal learning disorder is a learning disorder that has many
traits commonly associated with
Asperger's syndrome. Like those with Asperger's
syndrome, children with nonverbal learning disorder usually start to talk
around 2 years of age (the age at which speech normally develops). They often
have excellent memorization skills needed for reading and spelling. Also, they
share a desire to form relationships but often fail because of poor social
But these conditions are not the same. Children with nonverbal
learning disorder have some distinguishing characteristics. A hallmark trait of
the disorder is difficulty learning from the visual environment. Although they are
poor visual learners, children with nonverbal learning disorder often excel at
remembering information they hear. Children with Asperger's syndrome
are also good at remembering information they hear.
Children with nonverbal learning disorder often have difficulty with
math, because math is often explained in a visual context and these children
lack nonverbal reasoning skills.
While many people with Asperger's syndrome have nonverbal learning
disorder, not all do. Likewise, many people with nonverbal learning disorder do
not have Asperger's syndrome. Although these disorders are separate, they both
involve similar differences in processing information and those affected may
benefit from the same types of treatment.
April 5, 2012
John Pope, MD - Pediatrics & Fred Volkmar, MD - Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
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