Zoom Autism Magazine Issue 3 Spring 2015 - Page 20

Is it Asperger’s, or is it Non-Verbal Learning Disorder? By Helen Teasdale Eight-year-old Rosie has always been a brilliant little girl. Despite a significant hearing loss that was present from birth, her speech progressed quite normally. In fact, she was able to use complex sentences, count, memorize facts and recall the smallest details regarding what she had seen or heard from a very early age. Around Rosie’s third birthday, her mother Joanna started noticing a few more things about her sweet daughter. Rosie suddenly developed an extreme fear of baths yet hated being dirty. She had restricted interests, and she didn’t acknowledge her peers or show any interest in being with them. In fact, she was scared to enter a busy playground or even join in small group play. Yet, Rosie talked openly with adults and was extremely confident with them. Joanna began to question, “If she is able to engage with adults, why can’t she with her peers?” Joanna started to believe that her daughter might be autistic and initiated the long and sometimes complicated process of testing and evaluations. When Rosie was six, Joanna finally got some answers. Joanna, who had already prepared herself to hear that her daughter was on the spectrum, was surprised when she was told that Rosie had Non-Verbal Learning Disorder instead! What is Non-Verbal Learning Disorder? Non-Verbal Learning Disorder (NVLD) is something of a misnomer. Contrary to its title, people with Non-Verbal Learning Disorder (NVLD-ers) are usually quite verbal. According to Nonverbal Learning Disorder on the web, up to 80% of 20 Zoom Autism Through Many Lenses