Should Asperger's and Nonverbal learning disability be separate diagnoses?

Introduction

I was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome when I was in tenth grade, and my parents assured me it was the most fitting diagnosis. After being mistakenly diagnosed as schizophrenic when I was hospitalized after failing eighth grade for major depression, this diagnosis seemed appropriate because I’d never heard of it before, and none of the other diagnoses I had been saddled with seemed to fit.. I read Tony Atwood’s first book on Asperger’s syndrome and felt like it was describing me. From then on, I knew that Asperger’s syndrome was what I had.

But was it? There is another disability, a lesser known diagnosis that perhaps fit me better than Asperger’s: Nonverbal learning disability. Little is known about this disorder, and some suggest that it is the same or just another expression of Asperger’s and shouldn’t be categorized separately. In this piece, I will explore the similarities and differences between the two syndromes, how it may apply to me, and most importantly, whether the two disabilities should be regarded as distinct and separate diagnoses.  

The similarities

Both aspies and people with NVLD (Nonverbal learning disability) have trouble recognizing non-verbal cues and body language. Both have trouble with eye contact, recognizing people’s facial expressions and emotions, and making friends. Because both can’t read facial expressions, they have poor social judgment and may have odd conversation habits that may appear rude to the “average” person. They both may change conversation topics in a way that appears self-centered and rude, and may appear oblivious to the odd way they socialize. They may have relationships with children much older or younger than them, where they may not be seen quite as odd.

Both also have trouble with motor coordination, which causes them to be bad at sports, and thus, often get made fun of. Both also often have “sloppy” handwriting. Basically, in the area of socializing, Aspies and NVLDer’s have mostly the same symptoms.

The differences

According to nldontheweb.com, up to 80% of the people who meet the diagnostic criteria for Asperger’s syndrome also have nonverbal learning disability. The differences between the two syndromes aren’t very clearly defined. It also doesn’t help that NVLD hasn’t ever even been included in the DSM (Diagnostic statistical manual), so it’s hard to make explicit what exactly separates Asperger’s from NVLD. But there do seem to be some differences.

NVLD is called a learning disability for a reason. Although people with Asperger’s often have academic difficulties, people with NVLD have very specific academic difficulties ( as well as strengths). They typically have deficits in visual/spatial skills, especially as it relates to mathematics. They have extreme difficulty with mathematics, particularly higher level mathematics like algebra. Detection of these difficulties in elementary school is very difficult because they often have superb spelling and grammar skills, and their mathematical difficulties may not truly arise until middle school. Simple multiplication and division may be easy, but becomes more advanced and difficult for the child as grade levels advance. Because of the emphasis on good grammar and reading skills in our society, their learning difficulties may not be recognized until later in schooling, and even then, some teachers may dismiss them as troublemakers or slackers who are unwilling to learn, and dismiss any possibility of a learning disability. People with dyslexia are more quickly identified and accommodated in our society because their deficits are more easily recognized early in childhood than those with NVLD. But NVLD can be just as severe.

They have bad organizational skills and attention deficits as well, and because they tend to be particularly good at spelling and grammar, the possibility of a learning disability is written off by teachers and faculty, in favor of a false and insulting narrative that the child is unwilling to learn and/or is a troublemaker. It doesn’t help that NVLD isn’t recognized in the DSM, so teachers cannot recognize these difficulties for what they are and instead misjudge the child.

Despite having good grammatical skills, those with NVLD may also have poor reading comprehension skills. They may be able to read a paragraph aloud perfectly, but have trouble explaining what they just read or getting the main “jist’ of it. Some have suggested that NVLD’er’s have poor writing skills, but I question this suggestion, partly because it seems a little counterintuitive; if their strengths lie in grammar and spelling, why would they necessarily be bad writers? (more on this later).

On the contrary, although perhaps most of Aspies have academic difficulties in one area or another, it is not necessarily confined to mathematics or spatial skills. In fact, they may be quite strong in those areas, and their deficits may lie in reading or writing. Since Asperger’s syndrome is often stereotyped as “geek” syndrome, it is not surprising that some stereotype aspies as being brilliant at math and science, even though they may not necessarily be true.

In addition, although people with asperger’s are far more likely to be male than female, the gender ratio for NVLD appears to be evenly split between boys and girls, about 50-50. And some research suggests that people with NVLD are less likely to have a “special interest” that they obsess about to the exclusion of other activities. Also, some say that NVLDer’s don’t “stim,” meaning they don’t do the repetitive motor mannerisms like hand flapping or finger twitching that is so common among Aspies. Some suggest that NVLD is merely the female expression of Asperger’s syndrome.

Personal discussion

Like I said in the beginning, I was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, but NVLD may have been more fitting for me. However, I do meet most of the diagnostic symptoms of Asperger’s syndrome. I have poor eye contact, I have trouble recognizing social cues, I’ve always had a supremely hard time at making friends, I have obsessive interests, I do “stimming,” and my conversations and interests are one-sided, meaning I lack “social and emotion reciprocity,” and may appear self-centered. In these areas, perhaps Asperger’s was the appropriate diagnosis for me.

However, early in life, my strengths were always spelling, grammar and writing, which was one of the reasons I chose to major in English when I went to college. My main problem subject area has always been math, and I needed a tutor in college for every math class I ever took, even for pre-algebra. I’m also somewhat bad in the physical sciences, and generally struggle with non-verbal subjects. My strengths have always lied in humanities-related subjects.

Starting in middle school, my learning deficits really began to show. I had an extremely hard time paying attention, my organizational skills were terrible, and I of course struggled in math and science. I failed eighth grade as a result of these difficulties, and I had to have a tutor in every class afterwards in order to properly get my work done and graduate from high school.

Many teachers in middle school thought I was a slacker who just didn’t want to learn, and didn’t take into account the fact that I had genuine learning difficulties. Other students made fun of me, and of course, I was bullied quite bad like most people with either Asperger’s or NVLD.

So what was I? Aspie or NVLD’er? Although my specific academic difficulties might warrant a diagnosis of NVLD, I also have had obsessive special interests throughout my life, which some suggest people with NVLD typically don’t have. I also “stimmed,” and still do today. In addition, people with NVLD are said to be bad writers, and this is not true in my case. In fact, the main reason I majored in English in college was because I knew I was a good writer. On the other hand, although I like to read, I sometimes struggle with it because I have genuine reading comprehension issues at times. I may read a sentence three to four times and still not get it. I read quite frequently in my spare time, but because my comprehension issues make me a painfully slow reader at times, some people may wonder why I bother with it at all.

Conclusion

My conclusion is that it doesn’t much matter whether you are diagnosed with NVLD or Asperger‘s, as long as your problems are addressed and accommodated by people who understand that you have a disability. Labels are just labels, and people are complex creatures who may have the symptoms of some aspects of a disorder, but not other aspects, where they could genuinely meet the criteria for two different disorders, or even neither. People with Asperger‘s, for example, can have genuine problems with math or science (despite the stereotypes), without necessarily having to change their diagnosis to NVLD. I’m not suggesting that NVLD is not recognized as a specific diagnosis. In fact, I would like the new DSM to recognize it, if for no other reason than to make explicit a very specific type of learning disability that is usually ignored in our reading-and-writing-centered society. But the purported differences between the two disorders are slim and can be easily applied in either diagnostic area. This is why more research needs to be done on NVLD so we can find out if there is indeed anything particularly specific that warrants strictly separating the two conditions into different categories.

 

More by this Author


Comments 54 comments

B. Leekley profile image

B. Leekley 4 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

You might find interesting my hub page

http://bleekley.hubpages.com/hub/autistic_hero

It's a review of a novel with a heroine who is both high functioning autistic and faceblind written by an author is also both. My review links to the author's website and essays.


Faith S. 4 years ago

I have to say that this article was like reading about myself. I myself was held back in kindergarden for being to hipper active. I am now 31 years old and still can't more than basic addition and subtraction as well as very simple multiplication and division. But Yet if given an audience I will talk your ear off about my interests which are very singular in nature. I don't multi-task worth a beans and I have only like 3 friends. I have learned to cope in social situations by becoming or trying to become a ghost amongst the crowd which always depresses me that I don't know how to fit in enough to make friends. I am super good at Reading, Writing, Spelling I'm almost a walking dictionary even still with having only 50% of my working memory. People still ask hey how do you spell..... and I'm there with a spelling for them I usually just have to write the word down first anymore.

I am clumsy and I'm very reclusive do to the pain of being teased even in my adult years by others who are also adults. I have found that humans never really truly grow up they just get bigger. There Teasing evolves to be more suffisticated telling jokes that they know you wont get and that you are the Butt of. Mocking you as they know you wont get the jist of what there talking about. Or worse yet they lie to you in a vague sort of way and well as I take everything litterally they can say well know this is what I ment.

As a child I was diagnosed with an unspecified learning disorder. Well they didn't know about Asperger's then and it is clear they don't know much about non-verbal learning disorders so it is possible I have one or both of these diagnosis with out a doctor having given one. Those conditions might just be there.

So the point of this I think is to say Thank you for Writing this article. I see so much of myself in what you wrote.


Brad C. L. profile image

Brad C. L. 4 years ago Author

Interesting, Faith S. I can particularly understand what you said about bullying growing more subtle and sophisticated. For me, I often can't recognize when I'm really being teased and when I'm not, as people often say they weren't 'intending" to offend me or they were just 'joking'. I hate that. Even if they were joking, I always take it the wrong way, and they don't seem to care. Perhaps I'm being oversensitive sometimes, but I really hate when people say something that in any other context would be considered insulting and instead say they were just 'joking.' If they said it, they probably really meant it on some level.

to be honest, I'm 31 also but currently have no friends. I'm also unemployed and on disability. I'm trying to get a job right now, with help from employment assistance agencies, but I have little work experience and started way too late. I spent the last decade in college and not working so I have to play catch up now. I don't freak out over loneliness or anything like that, as I've gotten used to the solitude. But I really hope this situation changes sometime in the future.


Carolyne Marecak 4 years ago

You write with great detail and I find what you say very interesting and scary at the same time. My daughter is ten and after about 4 years at school I finally had my daughter see a doctor...he was nice but I feel we don't see him very much definitely not enough. My daughter, I was told has NLD...after reading as much as could about it...I told her...about it. Many told me not to, but the advice I got from eading about it was to tell her...when I did...she was relieved...I could see it in her face. She knows she learns differently...she is proud of the extra help she gets at school, her school has been very helpful to her...she is doing OK with her grades..she is confident enough to try new sports like fencing and yoga...I do not push but I encourage her. You are bang on about spelling and grammar but her writing is crazy...she says her hand hurts alot. She does math and she is good but, she says she does not like it...she definitely learns through her ears. She loves the computer and virtually every game she can get her hands on. She just saw her same doctor after three years after the initial diagnosis...he said she was doing so well that he would not have to see her until she started high school which is 4 years from now. He wants to set her up with a buddy system to help her along and hopefully prevent bullying but, what I see in the schools is scary. Her classmates now are good to her..they know her and accept her and treat her as a friend...she values contact with them as well. I also, have just received a letter from her doc saying that she has Apergers and NLD...Aspergers was not mentioned until this letter...he just seemed to add it in...I feel to cover all the broad range of her "symptoms" for a lack of a better word. Sometimes she says she doesn't like to be alone but she would rather be alone after school or alone than hear an argument or loud sounds. She talks of the future and sees herself taking care of animals. She seems content but, as a mom I worry. As the kids get older, of course there is teasing but, my daughter has developed somewhat of a sense of humour. Kids who have picked on her in the past, have become her friends but, I know it was not easy for her. Part of me feels happy, for her because she does not seem to get upset by the stupid things people can say...there will always be someone like that in life. I think things will change for you...if you want it to. You have a gift...remember that...I think sharing it like you have will help.

My ex-husband has never had the benefit of being diagnosed with it, it runs in families...he has been mad at the world for a long time...he is a very smart man but, very angry at the world...it has robbed him of many relationships...just because his family doesn't acknowledge such "imperfections". When I told his mom that my daughter had NLD...she practically tore off my head and said she is a smart girl not stupid you know! When I told her it was more social that intellectual she really got angry...I knew I would not get support from that side of the family. I think support is key...you have alot of knowledge about this and sharing it helps.

Bye for now! Keep maintaining sites like these...they help too! Carolyne


Brad C. L. profile image

Brad C. L. 4 years ago Author

thanks. I am lucky with the fact that I have supportive parents who understand my disability, although they probably baby me more than they need to. Kids in middle school and high school were not very understanding at all with me, and it wasn't just my learning deficits that caused people to bully me, but more so my social awkwardness in general.

It's good that your daughter has people who understand her problems and don't bully her. Perhaps things have changed a little since I went to school (the 90's), but I don't know.


Carolyne Marecak 4 years ago

Things have changed for good, more or less and for better...more or less. There are more chances for labels and putting people into a certain pockets but,really they know less of what to do with these labelled people. I hope it keeps progressing in terms of teaching the kids that there are a whole range of people that make the world go around and no one way is right or wrong...it takes a lot of effort to make anything change and at the same time change is inevitable.

When I was going to school in the 70's and 80's...no one knew anything about life threatening allergies, like mine to peanuts.I had to sit in the same lunchroom with 200 of these things every lunch. It made life difficult telling everyone to watch out for me but, hey it was better than the alternative. Now, no one can go to school with peanuts and the related products in their lunch...but with the inreased awareness lately there is a new risk...kids who bully the kids with the allergies...ie breathe on them after eating peanuts...in the 70's and 80's children with learning differences like NLD or ASD were only recognized to the point of being a willful, lazy or even unintelligent student. With the breakthroughs in research we see that different people learn in different ways and now slowly they are accomodating those differences at school. But, I still see my daughter get judged incorrectly because she does not react "as she should" or like all the others do. No matter where you go there is someone who misjudges or is going to put you down somehow...the important things is how you see yourself and how those important people in your life see you. I think I see that in my daughter reaction to life, in general and maybe slowly I am getting that way too.

Bullying has not changed much...I just spoke to a mom who just graduated from high school...he endured 4 years of torture....the kids burned him on his chest with cigarettes..no charges ever. That is part of the problem...I also firmly beleive that those who bully have low self esteem and are bullying to make themselves feel better in some warped way. I was terrified to talk in school and everyone thought that I was quiet, therefore smart and even worse a snob to them. Really I was not but, there was a constant foursome of 2 girls and two guys that picked on me every chance they got...which made me more terrified and quiet...I stood up to one of them one day and they never bugged me again. I ran into the girls on different occasions and they knew me and said Hi.

In my daughter's case I see that the kids initially are not understanding not bad just typical but, this group does seem to accept and even embrace the differences each child has...I hope it continues.


Brad C. L. profile image

Brad C. L. 4 years ago Author

Yeah, I didn't think anything significant had changed with bullying since the 90's. Public schools have had tons of bullying for the longest time. I guess I just thought that since disabilities like Asperger's etc. are more recognized, perhaps kids are SLIGHTLY more understanding than they were. Being a "nerd" for one thing, from what I've heard, isn't considered as "uncool" as it once was, but I doubt that much has changed.

I eventually did stand up to bullies who tortured me, and sometimes it helped, but other times it didn't much. I think part of the problem was that I wasn't (and am still not) very witty or quick on my toes when it comes to verbal responses to bullying, so all I could think of to do to stand up for myself is hit them. That may have staved some of them off for a while. I wasn't a shrimp, and the vast majority of the bullying I received wasn't physical, but verbal, perhaps because that's where they knew my weakness was. But I could hit them, and usually teachers would be understanding because they knew I hadn't started the altercations, and because I eventually received accomodations for my disability and they knew I wasn't willfully causing trouble. But the kids would eventually start the verbal taunting again, knowing I couldn't respond that well. Often times, I would laugh off their insults, but that is not a very good response, and some see it as a sign of weakness. People say, 'just ignore them,' but that's not very good advice unless you can somehow not allow their words to bother you.

Anyway, I'm pretty much over all that stuff now. I haven't encountered much bullying since high school except for one somewhat traumatic experience with a severely demented individual that I won't get into now. My main issues right now are getting a job, and finding an understanding employer who won't misunderstand me. And moving out of my parent's house is my long term goal, that I really should have done ages ago.


Carolyne Marecak 4 years ago

Bullying, as I understand it will never be stopped by anyone else other than the ones who do it. The people who bully others need to find the reasons they do it and stop. It is amazing to me that all the educational resources are being put into identifying and telling the victims what to do if they are bullied. I am not saying that the victims do not need help...nor am I saying that it is not important to teach them not to be a victim. What I am saying is that like our criminal element of our society...we need to stop raising them. We also need to show them right from wrong...somehow impose an idea in people that it is wrong to hurt.

I see in my daughter, the desire to make friends, she is learning and she does not want to stop learning, she sees the value in what she has and she has dreams for the future. She has maybe three good friends, as well and a supportive society but, I know she has been bothered by a few kids. She understands a buddy system, she has established her own...she seems to know what she wants and gets help when she can't do it on her own. I think she understands she can mold her world to some extent and she can except what she can't change. As her mom, I admire and have some fear for her...it is a tough world but, she does not seem to give up. I hope sometimes that she got that from me, but sometimes I think I am learning it from her.

I still believe that we all have a place in this world...it may take quite a journey to get there. There are lots of lessons along the way. My last employer is a bully...I had a bully for an employer a few years ago too...I keep wondering what my lesson is when I keep running into them (bullies) so often. I have learned to stand up for myself and my daughter as well, although like I said she doesn't seem to need help that often!

Concentrate on what you are doing, do not worry about should haves or could haves. Getting a job right now is tough for everyone. I am finding myself going back to school in a few months so I can get help, update my resume with something more recent. I feel sometimes I should be out there too but, I am grateful that I have time to be with my daughter. I do realize I am where I am supposed to be. Thanks for your input and sharing. I still believe you have a talent for writing and I still beleive you have a gift you have not fully explored. More and more people need insight into NLD and what it is like. My husband has it too and he barely acknowledges it. For 17 years I knew he had a communication/social disorder and I accomodated it and accepted it...I feel I know more than he does about it. I feel he barely knows he has it and is very angry at the world because they do not understand him. He does not make an effort to try to understand them.

It is his loss, I feel and it is a shame because there are a lot of people who love him and feel he does not care about them. Personal growth is a very hard thing but, not impossible. Start with what you have...instead of what you do not have. You have three friends and great parents...what have you done to help them understand you? The next step is to understand where else you can go with that knowledge. Sorry if I sound to preachy or wordy but, I am going through personal challenges too in my life. The first thing I have learned is that I am worth it...the thing before, that I learned is that I have many blessings. I learned to count the positive things and thank the guy upstairs for them. Once you start seeing more positive things...you start seeing paths to where you want to be. I know I use alot of metaphors and sayings...my daughter complains all the time about this...I am just saying look for good stuff in your life...it is a good start to becoming a better person within yourself. Take care! Carolyne


Brad C. L. profile image

Brad C. L. 4 years ago Author

Oh, believe me, I do often focus on what I have and the here and now. I have good parents, I can enjoy my hobbies, and I'm working on getting a job, and that's something. Despite not having any friends, I've kind of become used to it, which may sound sad to some people, but to me it's not that big a deal. I've had a few friends in the past and lost contact with them, and I don't spend my days thinking too much about missed opportunities and whatnot. If something will happen, it will happen. I'm not depressed or anything. Part of it is the medication I'm taking, but another is that I don't spend too much time regretting my situation or feeling sorry for myself. What's the point? The main thing that concerns me right now is my possible future and employment situation, but like you said, I should focus on what I'm doing right now. That's good advice.

Thanks for your input too. I didn't think you were being preachy. The way you write suggests you might make a good therapist.


thewritingowl profile image

thewritingowl 4 years ago from Ireland

Very interesting, like you I have recently realized I have AS and I have never really heard very much about NVLD before. As you say there is a huge overlap between the symptoms of both. I too was always top of my class in English and other subjects that involved a lot of writing and recalling facts e.g. history but I always struggled massively with Maths too. But I think AS is the right diagnosis for me but I don't rule out having NVLD too. The more research I do the more I see many correlations between many conditions e.g. I have a lot of classic symptoms of a female with Fragile X Syndrome as does my son who has autism. Also many kids with developmental delay and other issues have diagnoses of say Global Developmental Delay or Speech Delay and Sensory Integration difficulties which all add up to a Fragile X diagnosis in my mind? But you can't get that tested for here in Ireland at the moment (I have written about this in one of my hubs) so I wonder how many cases of different conditions especially Autism and FXS are under diagnosed because it is now being given a different name? The politics behind the whole thing is huge and I really do think now that we don't have the true figures for any condition at present. Hopefully some day that might change, great article and I have voted it up.


notkan 2 years ago

NVLD is very bad and misleading name for socioemotional disorder. NVLD should be jest disorder od school abilities. Lack of eye contact and other marked nonverbal communication issues and specific pattern of interests are signs of PDD, not LD. I think that current usage of NVLD term is just stupid.


notkan 2 years ago

Most NVLDers have also Asperger's syndrome, pervasive developmental disorder and are in autistic "ballpark". They do not have talent for visual thinking such as Temple Grandin has. They have very good verbal learning ability, usually started to talk very early. Many symptoms often associated with NVLD are symptoms of Asperger's (ASD), not learning difficulties. Marked deficits in nonverbal communication and atypical pattern of interests are the best examples.


Brad C. L. profile image

Brad C. L. 2 years ago Author

I agree that most symptoms of NVLD are not about learning difficulties per se. That's why I pointed out in my hub that labels don't matter much as long as you get the accomodations you need for your disability.If Asperger's isn't a learning disability (which it's not, even though learning difficulties of some form do usually go along with it) then NVLD shouldn't be defined as such either, unless you want to define learning broadly, which would include deficits in nonverbal communication (I wouldn't). I was just going by the labels as they are used now. So I generally agree with your point.


Brad C. L. profile image

Brad C. L. 2 years ago Author

I should add that I kind of wish the learning problems associated with nvld were more recognized as real and just as significant as those associated with dyslexia, the latter of which seems to be more familiar, recognized and accommodated by people in society as opposed to nvld.It may be different now, but when I was in school, people didn't "get" NVLD. But yeah, I don't necessarily mind if NVLD is thrown into the general autism spectrum as opposed to being a completely separate disorder. I just wish people would recognize that learning difficulties aren't only confined to reading and writing. Maybe they do now, I'm not sure, but it didn't seem that way when I was in school.


noclaut 2 years ago

Most people with NVLD appear to have PDD/AS/ASD for me, but not of "traditional" sort. Pure NVLD has no imapct on social or emotional area (especially in pre-pubertal age), it is just a disability in academic areas ("gives" visual or spatial problems). "Hard", classical autism is in many aspects opposite to so-called (social) NVLD. Hard autism has troubles with language, "NVLD" has strenght in it; NVLD has a weakness in visual tinking, classic autism can give you really strong visual thinking. "Global" NVLD is a pervasive developmental disorder (maybe not in classical terms), "academic" NVLD is more specific, not generalized disability. "Global" NVLD affects emotional, social, behavioral or even sensory areas rather than academic (at least in some cases, which are "high-cognitive autism"). "Global NVLD" has its cognitive profile (found at about 50 - 80% people with AS diagnosis), but it is not only a learning problem or style - it has also marked social communication issues and "bizarrities", which makes this "hypocritical" condition a complex developmental disorder.


Brad C. L. profile image

Brad C. L. 2 years ago Author

I'm a little confused by some of the distinctions and terms you're using (Academic nvld and global nvld?) but then I don't really follow this issue or psychology blogs as much as this hub might indicate. I wrote and did research for it because it affects me mainly. I will have to do some more research if I write about this subject again. Thanks for the post. I don't really have anything else to say at the moment.


noclaut 2 years ago

"Global" NVLD may not be an academic disability at all. It is a type of "soft autism", not a specific disorder of scholastic skills. Maybe even all types of NVLD (also those without social and emotional disorders!) should be categorized in the same category as (especially high-functioning) classic autism. Severe (also non-social) NVLD looks not like a specific develpomental disorder. NVLD which can be diagnosed as Asperger's or PDD-NOS is a "pervasive developmental disorder" in all cases, main problems of it are not scholastic skills. It makes people "stupid", weird or even aloof. Specific developmental disorders (learning disabilities) are not destructive in "socio-emotional area", "pervsive developmental disorder" of any degree of severity (from very mild to relly profound) tend to have "socio-emotional" problems as it hallmark. Many people with PDDs (especially in USA and Canada) looks to be misdiagnosed as "pure" NVLD. NVLD-typed PDD (without traits of classical autism) has very poor nonverbal communication (especially expressive - very poor eye contact, "stupid" or stiff gaze, limited and (or) idiosyncratic facial expression and gestures, troubles with interpersonal distances), paralinguistic and pragmatic issues are also not uncommon. The pattern of interests is odd, they rather not are so profoundly restricted as in classic autism, interests are often atypical, may be "obsessive", repetitive; limited and idiosyncratic interests can be found also in social area. They may have uncontrollable and "loud" laughter at inappropiate situations, but things, which are funny to "neurotypical" person, for then may not always be funny. They may lack shame in many normal situations and feel indiosyncratic shame. There may be odd customs, routines, rituals, but there is also lack of marked and somewhat disabling "classically autistic" fixation about sameness. Unusual thinking is not uncommon (such as strange, specific, abnormal fears, grandiose fantasies, "magical" obsessive-compulsive symptoms, bizarre ideas). The person may look superficially mature and "adult", but is rather very immature and socio-emotionally disabled due to own PDD. Many methods used to educate children with classical ASDs are unuseful for then, because they have other needs and other way of thinking than "typical" autistics. Many people with these symptoms may be diagnosed with Asperger's, which is not wrong; Aspreger's criteria in ICD-10 or DSM-IV may be quite easily meet by some people without more profound traits of "kanneric" autism. Some people with NVLD profile and without "kanneric" traits may be less weird, but also may have social problems, for me they also ave a "PDD", not just a learning disorder. The definition of "pervasive developmental disorder" in ICD-10 is not ideal. It should be not about "restrictiveness and repetitiveness", but about severe social impairment and "bizarrity" (which maybe may do not bring any "restrictiveness" nd "repetitiveness" in some cases). The best sign of a PDD is seroius impairment of expressive nonverbal communication for me ("profound" developmental, chronic dyssemia). It may make people looking "retard" by itself.


Brad C. L. profile image

Brad C. L. 2 years ago Author

Yeah, I guess I tend to agree that NVLD isn't really a 'typical' learning disability in that many symptoms of autism, like lack of eye contact, trouble with social conventions and such don't really entail learning or scholastic skills. That's probably why NVLD should probably just be melded into the category of a Pervasive developmental disorder (PDD). I mean, dyslexics and other people with 'pure' learning disabilities don't have any problems with social interaction as a symptom of the disability, or really anything else besides their learning issues (as far as I know). that's why NVLD seems to be a unique sort of diagnosis in that it has a huge connection with autism (high-functioning at least), along with difficulties of learning in areas like math. it seems a little odd that difficulties with math would go along with nonverbal social communication problems that go along with autism. Aren't there any learning disabilities involving math that don't get lumped in with NVLD and the problems with communication skills (I'm genuinely curious, because I don't know)?

Most of my problems don't have much to do with learning, although my problems do limit my employment opportunities a bit. I'm pretty sure that learning difficulties in certain areas do usually exist in high -functioning autism, though, just not necessarily or even usually In the math area. Regardless, NVLD seems to be a unique animal, so I don't blame the current DSM for lumping it in with PDD instead of insisting on a separate diagnosis.


noclaut 2 years ago

NVLD just HAS to be lumped into "pervasive developmental disorder" cathegory. It would be just. NVLD is a pervasive developmental disability, "life learning disability", not a specific learning disability. When it gives characteristic socio-emotional problems it may be correctly nicknamed as "soft autism". It is not a "specific learning disability". The diagnosis of Asperger's is not wrong in the case of NVLD. AS consists of subtypes, one of them is classically autistic and tend to be severe, other one is NVLDish, which tend to be milder than previous, but still very destructive, there may be also other subtypes of disorders classified currently as AS. Classic autists think in pictures, have many conceptul social problems and not so small sensory dysfunction. "NVLD" is more "hypocritical" than classical autism, it may look rather as just giftedness (especially in VERBAL area) in some cases, not like a developmental delay. Many NVLD people without "hard" autstic traits may be not improperly labelled "autistic", but it is NOT typical developmental autism. I have AS diagnosis, but "social NVLD" describes me quite well, unlike "standard" model of Asperger's, which is very like high-functioning childhood autism. Social NVLD is bookish type of "soft autism". First diagnostic criteria of PDD in ICD-10 or DSM-IV is about nonverbal communication impairment. It appears to be a hallmark of almost all PDDs, from very mild to profound. Mentality of people with NVLD may look like "hybrid" of autistics and neurotypicals (IQ can also vary, but verbal abilities can be really good). They are really odd, blatantly not "psychotypical", but obviously not classically autistic. Learning disability is (or even may be) only one of the consequences of having ths sort of "autism". Classifyng many cases of NVLD as just "learning disorder" is unjust for me, because it definitely does not describe problems of people who have it. PDD name describes rather general impact of the disorder to entire life (social, emotional, occupational), may not mean serious developmental problems such as speech and language difficulties, marked sensory dysfunction or blatant restrictiveness. Current definition of PDD in ICD-10 looks wrong for me, there is too much about "restrictiveness and repetitiveness". I feel more closer to NVLDers (especially those with "socio-emotional dysfunction") than to people with HFA or "classic" AS. They may be for me nearly as far as "psychotypical" people. But maybe some people with high-functioning classical ASD have higher level of general functioning than some with "just-NVLD" diagnosis.


noclaut 2 years ago

I am somewhat probably more like neurotypical "nerd" than like an "aspie". I do not have necessity of the sameness, I think that I am good in social understanding. But I have Asperger's diagnosis. My nonverbal communication is rather severely impaired (very poor eye contact, "strange" gaze, mimics), somewhat limited, idiosyncratic interests (also in social area). I look like a "hybrid" of NVLD, giftedness and autisticity, not "pure-blood" aspie. It is not so good state... It is really problematic. Pure NVLD is probably rare (or maybe even unpresent?) and it is visual-spatial(-motor) impairment without social, emotional, behavioral, sensory anomalies. Pure giftedness does not make you a "weirdo" or "oddbird", it is homogenous development (without dyssemia or problems with shoelaces). Pure autisticity makes you disabled, you have severe deficits in theory of mind, very rigid brain and marked sensory dysfunction then. It appears that I do not have "hard" symptoms of these three conditions. Autisticity and NVLD are disorders, giftedness is positive state.


Brad C. L. profile image

Brad C. L. 2 years ago Author

Interesting. Yeah, I agree that labeling NVLD as just a learning disorder doesn't do it justice, given all the other symptoms that affect your entire life, not just learning. And despite what I said in this hub that I wish they would recognize NVLD as a separate diagnosis because it would give more attention to math learning deficits, I don't really agree with that now. It should be put in the category of a pdd which I Think they already did (the current dsm). Aside from classical autism and NVLD, there does seem to be quite a few people who are put in the "high-functioning" autism and Asperger's category, not severe autism. I was. I'm unsure what criteria certain psychologists use in applying a diagnosis of NVLD as opposed to high-functioning Autism or Asperger's, but my impression was that one of the only major distinctions between the two is that people with NVLD have problems with math while people with Asperger's could have academic problems in any number of areas. But that seems like an arbitrary distinction, as well as the supposed differences about intensity or narrowness of special interests between those with NVLD and high functioning aut. or aspergers.. so yeah, nvld belongs in the category of PDD.


noclaut 2 years ago

It is definitely something more than a specific learning disorder. The name "learning disorder" is barely unjust in many cases. It severely underestimates the troubles which are caused by the disorder. NVLD with socio-emotonal impairment should have new, "serious" name. Social communication disorder is also not so good name. SCD is probably often just a (really important) symptom of "autisticity". Communication disorders should not make you "weird" and "odd", but pervsive developmental disorders make you that by definition. Very long bullying due to just a learning of communication disorder is especially illogical. Bullying is always evil, but why someone thinks about a person with just a "lerning or communication disorder" as a person, who is "debilitated", "stupid"? How many people have dyslexia or some speech problems and are really normal, unlike "NLDers"? Many. Changing the name of "NVLD" is for me really important think. I am from Central Europe and maybe I have the biggest interest in NVLD in my country (it may looks like Aspergian obsession :) ). I was diagnosed as having Asperger's syndrome, but I do not feel as one of "aspies". NVLD is not so much known in my country. People with NVLD will probably be diagnosed with AS or other (milder) PDD here, which is... correct, unlike saying that it is "just learning and communication problem" which is common in Northern America. "NVLD" is functionally and generally (also in the terms of social reception) too close to mild forms of "classical" autism to be not included in PDD category. Many forms of "NVLD" are just types of "soft autism" for me and may be at least nicknamed so. Those with "non-classical" autism shout have significantly less rigid mind (wider interests, but still abnormal themes or strenght are not uncommon; sameness may tends to be rather boring for them, also better central coerence and theory of mind, less apparent sensory problems), which make it "soft" and "elastic" type of "autism", opposite to "hard" and "rigid", which is also more severe by definition.


Brad C. L. profile image

Brad C. L. 2 years ago Author

Yeah, there shouldn't be a stigma for communication disorders, but unfortunately there is. There seems to be a stigma against introverts in general, at least where I live (U.S.). some people in middle school and high school seemed to assume I was some kind of snob who just didn't like people or didn't want to talk to people, just because I didn't talk to people, which was ridiculous! Regardless, I do have somewhat rigid patterns of interest even today in my early 30's, which I didn't necessarily "grow out of" like some aspies. I tend to have the same routine and do the same things around the same times everyday. occasionally, I get out of the routine if I'm particularly bored with it at a particular moment, but mostly, it's soothing to me and I get more upset if I break the routine than if I continue it. I'm like sheldon cooper from the big bang theory except I actually have Asperger's (or nvld, whatever). But anyway, that's one area where I don't fit the supposed symptoms of nvld as opposed to Asperger's, which is pretty arbitrary anyway. when people ask me what my disability is, I tell them high functioning autism or Asperger's and don't mention nvld unless the conversation gets deeper. But again, there's no need to separate the two, and the nvld term should be put in the PDD category, as the use of it seems to be more confusing than enlightening at this point.


noclaut 2 years ago

I think that all people with "bright" autism HAVE to be put into one category, no matter what their learning style is. I think that system which blatantly separates people with strikingly similar "developmental phenotype" is flawed and there HAS to be a term and a category, a spectrum for all of them. It my be namet for example "aucorigia spectrum" (first word - is from the term "autocontrast" and "originality", which also sounds "like autism" due to its beginning, it describes bright, but mentally inept people classified quite typically AS and NVLD, i think that the word is really fitting). People on the aucorigia spectrum are one big family, they are just grouped together, not "violently" separated by the labels and criteria of ASD, Asperger's, PDD, NVLD, SCD and other conditions. I know in my contry some people who looks strikingly aucorigal for me, and they may have moderate or even severe level of "general" disability. I think that there are four main clusters of "aucorigians": Ia - less severe generally, contains people with really very mild classically autistic traits and "non-pervasive" types of NVLD; Ib - brightest classically autistic people, they have real disability due to it, but are still not so "bad" and may be smart and talented; IIa - it looks for me as the clade for most NVLDers, who have marked school learning problems, but also social problems from early childhood, IIb - most "nerdy" (low level of academic and cognitive difficulties, it allows the aucorigia to mask well which is seriously dangerous - you may be named as just "gifted" but emotionally disturbed due to it, not as having "pervasive developmental problem") cluster, people are autistic-like, weird and nerd in it.


Brad C. L. profile image

Brad C. L. 2 years ago Author

Interesting. thanks for the info. I agree, it makes more sense not to separate people with these disabilities into different categories merely because of their personal learning style. "Nerds" (whatever that means) are generally stereotyped as being good at math and science, and this is often lumped in with Asperger's, but it is just that, a stereotype. I've often wondered why people who read books for fun or education in the humanities (i.e. politics, history, philosophy), don't get lumped into the 'nerd' category as often as those who like physics or math. Isn't that just as "nerdy?" I think the meaning of the term "nerd" and the various stereotypes and even contradictory meanings it gets associated with nowadays is an interesting enough topic to write a hub about, and I wrote a rough draft of such a hub a few weeks ago but never looked at it again. I should probably go back to it, edit it and submit it. In any case, all "aspies' have enough in common to allow them to all be put in one category along with so-called nvlde'rs. the only distinction I would make would be the severity of autism. "Asperger's" is kind of a goofy term, and makes itself the brunt of immature jokes, so I think the distinction should mainly be between "high-functioning" or low functioning or classical autism. Labelling myself as a high-functioning autistic I've found results in less confusion to people who ask what my disability is. Asperger's and nvld don't help people understand my condition much when I use the terms. So I think the labels should be based on the degree of autism, not these other distinctions we're making. My two cents.


noclaut 2 years ago

I think that some people with "aucorigia" ("soft" autism) may be "diagnosed" as just... gifted, introverted, shy, passive. Sensory integration disorders, some despractic features and obsessiveness are sometimes included in the characteristics of gifted children. Named a child with apparent mental problems (such as very poor eye contact, strange fears and customs) as just gifted is like "hypocrisy". Some characteristics of giftedness looks like characteristics of "soft autism"! Those with "soft autism" tend to develop other mental problems fastly, such as early-onset OCD (maybe just a symptom of "gifted" aucorigia). "Gift" means venom in German, "aucorigal giftedness" is somewhat venomous. Normal gifted child has not "aucorigal" symptoms such as severe dyssemia; idiosyncratization and strangeness of interests (also in social area), fears, thoughts, emotions, routines or rituals, "weird" behaviors, sensory problems, limited social reciprocity, dyspractic traits. Not all people within "aucorigia spectrum" are smart. But those who are have to be fastly detected and diagnosed. I know a person who has above 165/200 in AS traits in aspie quiz, but only bout 30/200 NT traits and 38/50 AQ. And the young person probably has IQ above 150, is not significantly dyssemic (but highly alexythimic and with severe difficulties with reading microexpressions) and not autistically "weird", has marked sensory issues and early-onset somewhat autistic-like OCD and even some problems with metaphors despite probably very high IQ. It is a strange case, i think that it is bookish example of Ia aucorigia from previous post, not someone with just giftedness and neurotic disorders. Ib aucorigians are somewhat equivalent to "aspies", IIa are those with severer NLD, IIb may tend to be extreme nerds. I think that clusters IIb and Ia may be really dangerous, these people have not more marked cognitive deficits, but have real mental health problem. I even think that presented Ia case is generally more neurodiverse than me. I am a bookish example of a nerd (intelligence + social ineptitude + obsession).


Brad C. L. profile image

Brad C. L. 2 years ago Author

I am unsure of what the terms aucorigia and dyssemic mean. I did minor in psychology in college, but am unfamiliar with some of the terms you're using. thanks for the posts, though. I'm not sure what else to say at the moment.


noclaut 2 years ago

"Aucorigia" is a neologism coined in the Internet quite early, the name is from "autocontrast" (asynchronous development of mental abilities, such as general IQ score and socio-emotional profile) and "originality", descripting specificty of people affected by aucorigia. "Dyssemia" is much older term, it means difficulty with receptive or (and) expressive nonverbal commuciation.


noclaut 2 years ago

I name the group of disorders, to which belong for example HFA and "NVLD", "soft" or "bright" autism (especially for not classically autistic disorders, such as "NVLD"), "aucorigic spectrum" (significantly wider and more heterogenous than autistic spectrum from DSM-V), "disorders of "that" type", "realtively mild "pervasive" developmental disorders", ""nerd" syndromes"... They look to give not only social ineptitude, but even "life" ineptitude. They often have strange obsessiveness in them as one of the symptoms. They have more or less "general" intelligence. They rather give serious problems since early childhood, someone with disorder of "that" type is often wieved as "odd", "stupid", "dorks", "weird", "naughty", "hyperactive" and so on. Classic autism is not the only form of "relatively mild PDD"! Dyssemia looks as a really good symptom of them. Severe dyssemia is the "first" criterium of autism or AS in ICD-10. Eye contact tend to often be really poor, especially in children. People with "soft autism" may be not so interested in "neurotypical" human relations, they may be very boring or obsessed about someone or "strange" traits of people, such as specific abnormalities in appearance of the body. They may laugh at very, very inappriopiate situations and do not feel shame when it is normal and beneficial, they may also have "idiosyncratic" shame or disgust (for example to some types of vehicles). They may tend to have some (more or less) hyperactivity, hypokinetic or (and) hyperkinetic behaviors, stimming, sensory problems, OCD symptoms, "strange" thinking and atypical fears, literal interpretations. They are ideal victims of school mobbing and bullying.


Brad C. L. profile image

Brad C. L. 2 years ago Author

I haven't looked in the DSM in a long time, much less the current one. From what I recall, there was Asperger's syndrome, and perhaps "classical" autism, but also a "generic" PDD diagnosis, the latter of which I don't know the symptoms for or what it entails. Is it just something that doesn't necessarily fit in with classical autism or Asperger's? And how is this all this done in the latest dsm? I'm curious to know. I don't follow psychology issues that much, so I'm not familiar with how many of these terms are currently defined, and I wrote this hub back in either 2011 or '12 (I'm too lazy to check at the moment.). Maybe I'll look it up myself.


nocalut 2 years ago

In the new DSM (DSM-V) there is not Asperger's, PDD, there is just quite restrictive category of "autism spectrum disorder". There is also something named (euphemistically for me) "social communicaton disorder". I think that NLD and SCD are a types of PDD such as classic ASD! And using "euphemisms" such as NVLD and SCD for "autism-like problems" is just wrong and "evil" for me! I definitely do not accept it. I want to change it.


Brad C. L. profile image

Brad C. L. 2 years ago Author

Yeah, now I remember what they did. That does make sense to put it all in the autism spectrum category and I agree. It would also make for less confusing conversations with people when they ask you what your disability is. I don't like the term 'asperger's' and prefer just saying that I have high functioning autism. NVLD is interesting to talk and think about, but it need not be a separate diagnosis and it just confuses people.


noclaut 2 years ago

NVLD should be just a disorder of "scholastic" skills, without ANY connotations to social, emotional, behavioral and sensory areas. I strongly dislike using the term NVLD to describe socio-emotional disorder. I think that it is a gross error and understatement which has to be stopped as fast as possible. "NVLD" (especially "social" one) - it is just "bright", "soft" sort of AUTISM. NVLDers can be properly named as high-functioning (but not "classical") autistics and PDDers for me. The name "learning disorder" or "communication disorder" is blatantly wimpy and inadequate for me.


Brad C. L. profile image

Brad C. L. 2 years ago Author

Yeah, you're right. As far as I know, most learning disabilities don't also have symptoms involving social impairment, so I don't get why NVLD would be categorized as a learning disorder when there is more to it than that. I don't know much about learning disorder's, per se, but it always seemed to me that reading difficulties are more recognized, and treated, particularly earlier, as opposed to difficulties in math, which doesn't make much sense to me, especially since I've heard more people say "I hate math" rather than "I hate reading." Math difficulties should be a separate diagnosis from NVLD, but is there a specific name for a learning disorder involving difficulties In math, separate from other difficulties? I've heard of a term called "dyscalculia" (I probably have the spelling wrong), but I don't know much about it.


noclaut 2 years ago

I know about dyscalculia, it is more "narrow" math disability than "full-blown" NVLD. Dyscalculia is mainly about numbers, counting... NVLD has (mainly) problems with visual and spatial skills. Learning disabilities should be "only" about scholastic skills, NVLD should be just visual-spatial(-motor) disorder, not a serious socio-emotional problem. I want to fight with NVLD and SCD terminology and replace it with (high-functioning) autism and PDD. Main symptoms of pervasive developmental dysfuction are in three areas: 1. social (nonverbal communication impairment (expressive or (and) receptive), such as poor eye contact, inadequate facial expression and gestures; limited and (or) idiosyncratized social needs (troubles with social reciprocity); failure in maintaining relationships (especially with peers); 2. emotional (inadequate emotional reactions; atypical, bizarre emotional reactions (such as uncontrollable and (or) inadequate laughter, disturbed feeling of shame); high anxiety, strange fears; emotional "immaturity); 3. behavioral (such as specific pattern of interests ("strange", "obsessive", "restricted", "impractical"; obsessive-compulsive symptoms; hyperkinetic behaviors or (and) stimming). This group of symptoms (social, emotional and behavioral, SEB) should be the best indicator of ASD and PDD. When they are present from (realtively early) childhood, "pervasive developmental disorder" occurs for me. They make someone "weird" and "odd". Other symptoms, such as clumsiness, sensory problems, hyperactivity, language problems are also very often present in this group (in different level of severity). But SEB triad is the most core group of symtoms for me.


Brad C. L. profile image

Brad C. L. 2 years ago Author

I always thought NVLD had more to do with math skills than "spatial" or visual skills, but I have to confess that I have often had trouble understanding what people mean when they say someone has trouble with "spatial' skills. Does that simply mean that they have trouble finding their way and often get lost a lot? I suppose that might apply to me, but I've never really thought about it. I probably have that symptom to some degree but it's never really been a major issue. As far as "visual" skills go, I'm unsure what that entails. Is it that people with NVLD have trouble visualizing things? I admit that I often have to visualize images in my head when I read sentences in books and even sometimes on the internet because I sometimes have a hard time processing the sentence I've just read. I like to read because I like to be educated, but I admit it is often a bit of a struggle and "work" for me to get through a book. I would appreciate your further thoughts on this, because I've sometimes had trouble understanding the descriptions of the some of the symptoms of NVLD (particularly "spatial" skills), even back when I was researching for this hub, and I'm still not sure I entirely get it.


noclaut 2 years ago

I have quite poor visual imagination. I am rather a verbal thinker. I am rather not talented in visual thinking. I may have a mild form of "true" NLD. Mild, not a severe one! But I was diagnosed with AS really easily. I was quite good in Maths, sometimes even very good. I do not have dyscalculia. I think that our "core" problems are in socio-emotional-behavioral area, not in visual-spatial. And it means that we have some form of "autism spectrum condition" or "pervasive" developmental disorder, not just a learning or communication problem. I was even supposed to have McDD (multiple-complex developmental disorder), I think it may be so because I was not only socially inept and obsessive, but also have some weird and bizarre anomalies in thinking (and some of my emotional reactions were also really abnormal). But I do not have classic (severe) form of McDD, which leads to confusion between fiction and reality, especially in (early) childhood. I think that some children with "NVLD" even should be diagnosed with McDD (especially mild forms of it) due to unusual thinking, such as magical or bizarre ideas or beliefs. McDD is a popular diagnosis in the Netherlands. It is rather poorly known in other countries. I think that the name "learning disorder" for a SEB problem is harmful, inadequate and has to be abolished. Learning disorders are destructive in scholastic skills, not in social, emotional and behavioral area.


Brad C. L. profile image

Brad C. L. 2 years ago Author

Yeah, my problems are probably not primarily learning-related, especially not in the visual/spatial area. If my social skills were better, I probably would be qualified for many more jobs than I am. I could never do the 'typical' entry level job like cashier or waiter, etc, because my social skills are too abysmal for that. There's also a lot of jobs that are up my alley except for the fact that they involving dealing with customers, handling billing, or answering phones. The latter might be manageable once I got used to it, but the first two might be more problematic, the first one definitely. In any case, the problems with social skills leave me with more problems in the job market than my math or technology problems, probably. And yes, unfortunately, I am still unemployed at the moment and living with my parents. It sucks, but I don't wish to get into it right now. I've thought about writing a hub about it, but I'm reluctant to put a lot of my personal problems out in the open for the world to see. In any case, I like to view Asperger's as a combination of different issues, and would rather not emphasize one area or the other as the "primary" concern, for some reason, even though learning is not the primary area of concern. Just a preference, I guess. Thanks for the comments.


noclaut 2 years ago

I have similar situation. You have similar "mental" profile to me. I also live with parents. I am not so talented in visual thinking. I do not think about job, "normal" life. It is quite alarming symptom. Loneliness is not so sad for me. I think that I may be really childish and immature. I am on the fifth year on the studies, this year appear to be really hard for me. I have strong interests which are not useful in studies and not so useful in job. I have quite large social ineptitude. I am "real nerd". "Nerd" as a combination of intelligence, obsessiveness and social ineptitude. I was diagnosed with AS few years ago. Sometimes I could feel like "disabled" person despite having (probably) above-average intelligence (at least VIQ). I have the gift of scholastic abilities: rather good handwriting, good memory and understanding. I was quite poor in Physical Education, maybe not just because of "pure" clumsiness, but because of poor strength, many "physical" fears and weak endurance. I am not (so) "rigid" person like "classic" autistics. I rather like new people, new places, sameness is rather just boring for me! It is a good trait. My mentality appears to be "childish" and "egoistic". I have quite dysfunctional family, parents are quite often unpleasant, aggressive, vulgar. It is very bad behavior. It looks like a form of child abuse. I think that some members of my family may have very mild types of "Asperger's".


Brad C. L. profile image

Brad C. L. 2 years ago Author

Sorry to hear about your parents. I'm lucky in that I have really understanding and loving parents who are willing to help me and out and let me live with them until I can move out (hopefully). I'm in my early-mid thirties at this point. To be fair, I did have a job back in 2012 for two months as a newspaper print reporter. I only lost the job because the newspaper went out of business. I've applied for quite a few jobs since then and haven't been called back for an interview even once. Part of the problem is that it took me at least eight or more years to finish both community and four-year college, so my work experience is virtually nonexistent. I didn't "need" to work, per se, during that time because I was receiving SSI money for people with disabilities, but I probably should have done a job anyway. I'm just not sure I could have finished college while I was working at the same time, because of stress issues. In any case, I have to get a job in a few years because my parents are really getting old. My dad's retired and my mom will be retired soon and they can't take care of me forever. I suppose I could live in some low-income apartment off SSI money, but that would be really embarrassing for me, not to mention dangerous. I've gotten really discouraged with job hunting the past few weeks and haven't really applied for much. I'm looking now more into some freelance online writing jobs from freelancewriting.com. I think that may be more up my alley than some office job which I don't have the experience or credentials for. the newspaper job is the one I got based on the strength of my writing ability so I should probably focus more on online writing gigs in my job search instead. I tend to be somewhat optimistic, so I do kind of see a way out of my current situation, but I have to be realistic and expect that I may just be fooling myself.

the sad thing is, I still feel a bit childish, like you said, and often don't much mind being unemployed and living with parents at all. I mean, I do mind on some level, but I don't let it upset me that much. I don't have any friends at the moment, and at this point I don't even care or get depressed about that at all. Most people would be extremely bothered by this, at least in the U.S., but I don't let it bother me that much, even though I do want out.


noclaut 2 years ago

I am only 23. But the studies are really unpleasant for me because of quite complcated projects. I think that may have some organisational problems. I may have mild NLD. But only mild. I do not have dyscalculia, problems with maps or telling time from a clock... I do not have "visual-spatial talents" such as very good visual tinking or eidetic memory, which can be helpful in IT, Physics... I was academically talented, but I may be not "gifted" person despite strong curiosity and good grades in school. I do not think so much about my future job. My disorder is "hypocritical" and quite silent. I think that the current studies are something which may "disorganize" my mentality. I really need special help. I think that "NLD" (especially with socio-emotional issues) is a serious and complex developmental disability, such as "typical" high-functioning ASD. I think that the name of "NLD" has to be changed because it is "bad" and "misleading" and learning disability is only one of the consequences of "NLD".


Brad C. L. profile image

Brad C. L. 2 years ago Author

I have some major organizational issues too, particularly in high school. But I also had some trouble with organization in college, it just wasn't as a major of an issue. My personal living space is usually a mess. I do have dyscalculia, but I don't think I have problems with maps or telling time from a clock. In fact, maps were a brief hobby of mine when I was a little kid. As far as my job skills go, my major talent is writing, of course, but I can also type really fast. I kind of wish data entry jobs weren't out of vogue here in the US., because I could seriously do a job like that. Too many regular office jobs that I could do involve social skills which are either extremely difficult or impossible for me, which is frustrating. As far as any job that involves math higher than basic stuff and without a calculator, forget about it. Or lots of other stuff, like fixing a computer. And lots of jobs that involve basic computer skills require some type of certification or degree, which is silly because lots of people could do them, if given training. But I know, the economy is still fairly bad, at least here.

Why are your studies hard for you, just out of curiousity? I excelled much better than I thought I would in college. the only tutoring I really needed was for my math classes, and also a "Writing for the world wide web" class, which was only difficult for me because it involved creating a website and the teacher went too fast for me. Other than that, my grades were great, much better than high school.


noclaut 2 years ago

Studies are hard because of my obsessiveness and some environmental factors. I still have strong interests in maps. I am obsessed about AS and "similar conditions". I do not have dyscalculia, but my mathematic abilities are rather not so extremely good. And I think that the acyual meaning of the term "NLD" just "fools" people. For me NLD is just visual-spatial learning disorder. Not a socio-emotional disorder. NLD + socio-emotional problems is a "pervasive developmental problem", not a "learning disorder". I think that many ASD sufferers or "Aspies" are misdiagnosed with NLD or "SCD", sometimes also ADHD or OCD or even other disorders. I think that the core symptoms of autism are in social, emotional and behavioral area; learning, sensory and motoric anomalies are usually also present in ASD. I think that the actual criteria (even DSM-IV and ICD-10, DSM-V for ASD and Gillbergs' for AS are even worse - more restricitive (exclusive)) are too strict.


Brad C. L. profile image

Brad C. L. 2 years ago Author

Yeah, I do agree that the main symptoms in ASD are in the social and behavorial arena. the learning difficulties and especially sensory difficulties seemed more like more minor or less important symptoms and also vary more from person to person. I was never diagnosed with NVLD, and I seriously doubt most psychiatrists in my country diagnose it much either, or even really know what it is, because its symptoms can be more easily put into the PDD or autism spectrum category. And yeah, it probably does confuse people. Despite my hub, I really have no idea how prevalent knowledge of NVLD is in my country, or how frequently it is used in diagnosing or describing someone. I'd imagine not very much.


noclaut 2 years ago

I agree that the terms such as NLD or SCD are confusing. NLD and SCD are rather groups of the symptoms of PDDs. I read about quite disabling condition which is rather unknown in my country - SCT (sluggish cognitive tempo). I think that I may have even quite severe form of it. It makes somebody daydreaming, spacey, lethargic and sluggish. I do not have larger scholastic difficulties because of them, but it makes somebody "generally slow", "sleepy-like" or "as in the fog". But I wrote that I was described as "hyperactive" or even "hyperkinetic" somewhen in the past... I think that I rather have SCT (maybe even form early childhood), it is irritating for many people (such as my parents) and it is something not so good... It is somewhat like having below-average IQ or maybe even worse is some situations than low IQ. It may make someone more socially inept, withdraw and isolated. I have rather limited social needs. I sometimes can feel like somebody who is handicapped, maybe also because of SCT symptoms. I think that it could be in the ASD or PDD criteria such as sensory integration disorder symptoms in DSM-V. I think that I am not so high-functioning due to SCT as I thought.


Brad C. L. profile image

Brad C. L. 2 years ago Author

I zone out when people talk to me all the time, and people get irritated by it. It's not intentional, I just have a short attention span. that's why I told my editor at the newspaper I used to work for to write down my assignments instead of just telling me what to do, because I was extremely afraid of missing something and screwing up the assignment. When I was doing interviews over the phone, I zoned out a lot and stuck to my assigned questions in the same order because I wasn't focusing like I should on what they were saying, so I couldn't do follow-ups and follow them at the pace I should. I learn better by seeing it written down and reading it as opposed to listening to it. when I was in kindergarden, my teachers were concerned that I was having "seizures" during class because I looked like I was zoning out and staring off into space in a weird way. So I think I may have a bit of what you're describing. It's often hard for me to carry on a conversation with people the same way I can when I'm writing on the internet, also.

I probably have some form of ADD (without the hyperactivity), but I was never diagnosed. In any case, I've heard attention span problems go along with Asperger's too, so I'm unsure whether my symptoms are actually ADD-related as opposed to a minor symptom of ASD.


noclaut 2 years ago

In my case possible SCT may be quite severe (it made me slow, lethargic, daydreaming, spacey, "in the fog"...), although I have rather good concentration abilities in school. I am academically talented. It makes life much easier... "Neurotypical" people usually have not this gift and school learning is harder for them than to me. I think that SCT may be serious problem in occupational area. I do not think about the job. I have strong interest in high-functioning autism ("autism" in broader sense). I rather do not know which job will be the best for me. I think that I really have not so mild SCT. It makes social ineptitude larger. I am not so interested in "normal" life. Work rather s to be a pleasure for me. If something is not interesting, it is significantly harder to concentrate. I do not think that I have ADD. I would classify my bizarre disorder as a mild form of McDD (combined forms of: ASD (mild), schizotypal disorder (mild), SCT (not so mild) , NLD (very mild), OCD (rather not mild, when I stopped to medicate it obsessiveness was really large, I was few years ago told that I had "bookish" case of OCD)).


noclaut 2 years ago

I thought a lot about NVLD. I went to the conclusion that there is great confusion about this term. NVLD is just visual-spatial(-motor) learning disorder. It does not have to cause social ineptitude! Most NVLDers are just Aspies to me. I think that "classic" Asperger's is just a subtype of classic, Kanner(-like) autism. "NVLD" is another branch of PDDs to me. "NVLD syndrome" is a PDD to me. I think that it is a PDD even without obsessiveness or stimming. The definition of PDD in ICD-10 is too strict. I think that in ICD-11 there should be a PDD which will be the counterpart of current "NVLD". I (nick)named it as "oververbal autism". It appears to have different etiology than "rigid" autism. "Female manifestation of AS" may be a subtype of it.


Brad C. L. profile image

Brad C. L. 2 years ago Author

NVLD as a "female manifestation of AS" is probably true. I once bought a book about nvld and found out that most of the males diagnosed with it were somehow good at math, despite that being a little contradictory of NVLD. This struck me as strange, but I guess most people diagnosed with NVLD are female. It's probably gender differences that account for much of the difference In math ability, IMO. This Is another reason why the diagnosis is confusing and why nvld should be put in the autism spectrum. a PDD is simply a pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified, right? I don't really care if NVLD gets put into the general autism spectrum category or the PDD category. Either one would probably apply.


noclaut 2 years ago

The abbreviation PDD means just "pervasive developmental disorder". PDD-NOS is "pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified". I think that "NVLD" may be rather a separate family of PDDs, an other sort of autism which has own spectrum. And the name "NVLD" is very confusing and I think that its usage in the way in which is used today has to be abolished. I think that I fit to "NVLD" phenotype. There should be new name for "NLD", which can't have words such as "learning" or "communication" in it. "NLD" is a serious and complex developmental disability. Socio-emotional symptoms are most important issues in it.


oscardublic 20 months ago

I am in the same situation however I am v


oscardublic 20 months ago

lol, I was just going to test if that comment field worked without signing up,anyway

I am in the same situation with being dignosed recently with aspergers, but I still think it could have been NVL, but I cant spell at all, I like to play and isntrument and listen to music (wich the wikipedia page said ``was impossible for someone with NYL , so if I have it I cant play an instrument anymore?...) and I stim or something like that I like to ``rock out`` when I am stressed or happy, by moving my hands back and forth up and down like some crazy person(only when I am alone of couse), I am a very sensible person who if I see someone hurt on tv brings a tear to my eye everytime, which aspergers cant, because they dont understand feelings that they haven't experinced themselves, I am lost between the two, but then again all humans have weaknesses and strengths, and we all got to work on are weaknesses I am glade I am not some sosiopath though I mean they really hurt people I only annoy them.

have a good day :)


Brad C. L. profile image

Brad C. L. 20 months ago Author

I wouldn't think that people with NVLD could never play an instrument, but I've never read the Wikipedia page on NVLD. I guess that has to do with motor skills, and people with nvld and Asperger's tend to be bad at them, but there are a variety of expressions of nvld and Asperger's, as I think this hub and discussion has abundantly demonstrated, and the two diagnoses don't really need to be separate.

I stim when I'm alone also, and some people don't think that is a symptom of nvld, but that seems odd, and anyway, the bottom line is that these are just labels, human beings are complex, and can't be fit into neat little boxes.

I do have compassion toward other people, but I don't like expressing it, or usually even thinking about it, and don't like expressing my feelings. I also like horror movies and tv shows, and have no big problem with seeing someone hurt on tv like you do. I mean, it's entertainment and I like to be scared, I guess. But I do sometimes get upset when someone lies about someone on a tv show and a character gets the wrong impression of a "good guy." I hate when people lie or get the wrong idea about someone and generally hate erroneous judgments. Maybe that's part of my "aspie" personality that hates lying, I don't know.

Anyway, i'm rambling a little. Thanks for the comment.


Brad C. L. profile image

Brad C. L. 20 months ago Author

Let me rephrase part of that last paragraph a little. When it comes to people I care about in my life, like family members, etc, I often don't express or like to express how I feel about them. I avoid even saying "I love you," and am more comfortable expressing love for my dog than for any people. But I do have compassion if something happens to them or if they are hurt, and I do have a strong moral compass. but when it comes to people I know, I don't like expressing my feelings, particularly not about them. And they mostly understand that. I was a target of a genuine sociopath once, so I know without a doubt that I'm not one of those.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working