Learning Disorders: Suffering in Silence
Nonverbal learning disorder is
a developmental disease that consists of specific assets and deficits.
This neurophysiological disorder usually takes place in the right
hemisphere of the brain. Those with nonverbal learning disorders
may not develop important tools such as early speech, vocabulary
development, memory skills, attention to detail, developmental reading
skills, and spelling skills.
Nonverbal learning disorders (neurological syndrome) are divided
into four major categories.
- Motoric includes lack of coordination, severe
balance problems, and difficulties with graphomotor skills (writing
- Visual-spatial-organization includes lack
of image, poor visual recall, faulty spatial perception, difficulties
with executive functioning and problems with spatial relation
- Social includes the inability to comprehend
nonverbal communication, difficulties adjusting to transitions
and novel situations, and deficits in social judgment and social
- Sensory which includes all the sensory modes:
visual, auditory, tactile, taste, or olfactory
Research indicates that almost
65% of communication among individuals is conveyed nonverbally.
Both verbal and nonverbal aspects of communication usually measure
intelligence. Nonverbal learning disorders go untreated because
people are generally unaware of it. Children with nonverbal learning
disorders are frequently labeled as "emotionally disturbed."
Most educators and parents unfamiliar with this disorder often ignore
evidence of nonverbal learning disorders.
It is very important for parents
and educators to be familiar with nonverbal learning disorders.
They must be familiar with the four criteria mentioned above to
observe the possible signs in a child. As a baby, the earliest mode
of communication is nonverbal. Most parents and teachers can usually
notice "something off" in children with nonverbal learning
disorders but are unable to "put a finger on it." When
adults can't determine the cause, they usually tend to believe the
child is "immature," "bored with normal routine,"
or "a bit clumsy."
Children with nonverbal learning disorders may appear confused and
when further observed, they reveal social ineptness by misinterpretation
of body language and tone of voice, despite having a high intelligence.
The child tends to rely on memory of past experiences usually labeled
verbally to lead them through. If untreated, damaging effects of
a learning disorder can lead to nervous breakdowns in young adults
or children. Doctor Byron P. Rourke of the University of Windsor
and his associates have found that those afflicted by nonverbal
learning disabilities are predispose to adolescent
or adult depression and suicide
The early symptoms of nonverbal learning disorders are difficult
to detect because the child may display intelligence by initiating
a verbose conversation usually mimicking adults. In their early
childhood these children are usually viewed as "gifted"
by parents and educators with their verbal ability and rote reading
at a young age. Rote reading is when a child uses memory and repetition,
with little intelligence, when reading. Children with nonverbal
learning disorders are usually eager to learn and memorize material.