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Quick Facts On Non-Verbal Learning Disorder

A brief overview of the signs and symptoms of Non-Verbal Learning Disorder (NLD).

en Español


Non-Verbal Learning Disorder (sometimes referred to as NLD or NVLD) is a learning disability that affects a child’s ability to recognize and interpret patterns in facial expression, body language, and other forms of nonverbal communication. Kids with NLD are often hyper-verbal, but have trouble correctly interpreting social situations. A child with NLD may also have poor physical coordination and struggle with problem solving, organizing thoughts, planning, and executive functions. NLD is not recognized as an official diagnosis by the DSM-V.


  • An inability to read non-verbal social cues, such as expressions and body language.
  • Difficulty identifying and understanding sarcasm
  • Difficulty recognizing emotions in others
  • Trouble understanding visual information
  • Trouble grasping spatial relationships and judging distance
  • Poor physical coordination
  • Difficulty prioritizing information
  • Poor problem solving skills
  • Trouble with higher-level math concepts
  • Hyper-talkativeness
  • Difficulty breaking down a project into smaller pieces, or figuring out what steps need be taken to get something done.
  • Poor organizational and planning skills

Treatment for Non-Verbal Learning Disorder

As with many learning disorders, the symptoms of NLD vary from child to child. The first step to helping kids with NLD is getting a comprehensive assessment to help determine your child’s individual needs. Once his symptoms are identified, learning professionals and therapists can use his profile to develop appropriate supports. Children with NLD benefit from intensive practice at pattern recognition and organizing thoughts, as well as coaching in understanding social patterns and expectations.

This article was last reviewed or updated on November 7, 2023.