Nonverbal Learning Disorder


Nonverbal learning disorder is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by (a) low visuospatial intelligence; (b) discrepancy between verbal and visuospatial intelligence; (c) visuoconstructive and fine-motor coordination skills; (d) visuospatial memory tasks; (e) reading better than mathematical achievement; and (f) socioemotional skills. It is sometimes confused with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and autism spectrum disorder, and some overlap with these disorders seems to exist. As a result of lack of scientific consensus as to the diagnostic criteria, nonverbal learning disorder has not yet been included in the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders or the World Health Organization's International Classification of Diseases; however, efforts led by a group at Columbia are currently working toward inclusion of the diagnosis in future editions. In any event, as one researcher notes, "[J]ust because we cannot reasonably place such children into our present classification scheme does not mean they do not exist."

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