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NVLD Bloggers

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NVLD: It’s in My Nature, by Michaela Hearst

By | NVLD Bloggers

“Keep close to Nature’s heart… and break clear away, once in a while, and climb a mountain or
spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.”
-John Muir

Author, outdoorsman, and environmental philosopher John Muir is one of my heroes. In particular, this quote of his embodies how I seek to live my life.

My whole life, I have always found comfort in nature. I travel to rural environments every chance I get. Many people who know me know that I climb trees for fun! Ultimately, I don’t know where I would be without the comfort of the natural world.
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Suicide and NLD, by Deirdre StLuke

By | NVLD Bloggers

Again, the issue of suicide has popped up again on the media radar. Both Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain have managed to bring it to everyone’s plate and now we get to watch as social media spins out its version of “thoughts and prayers” in the form of “reach out.” Don’t get me wrong, it’s good advice. Completely useless to someone who is currently flirting with killing themselves, but good advice. What happens, though when you add Nonverbal Learning Disorder to the mix? Are we NLD Superheroes more susceptible to suicide as someone once suggested to me? To be honest, I don’t know. All I can talk about is my own experience with suicide and suicidal ideation.
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The Activity That Changed My Life, by Eileen Herzog

By | NVLD Bloggers

Throughout my life, I have a done a lot of things that were extremely difficult, though the one that had the most impact on me was running cross-country. The reason being, it was the first time in years that the adult in charge really understood me. Jim Adams, who was my coach, like my parents, raised exceptional children on both sides of the spectrum, so he had a deep understanding of the obstacles I faced on a daily basis and was able to see I had a number of strengths too. Honestly there was never a guarantee that I was going to be able to finish the race due to all the challenges I faced having NVLD, however, he always gave me the same advice, which was to not focus on how far away the other runners were, just to focus on doing my best, as that is the only thing that matters. I knew if a challenge occurred there was hope that the next run would go my way because he always offered such great advice and knew me so well personally. I wished things were different for me but he made sure I was staying true to myself and never gave up.
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The Quest: Seeking Employment with NLD, by Caitlin Gong

By | NVLD Bloggers

Getting a job is one of the most exciting things that can happen to anyone but finding the ideal job especially when you have a learning disability such as NLD can sometimes seem daunting. Through my personal experience I have found that it has been difficult to find work that suits my abilities and meets my employment needs. Hopefully the advice I have found can help you find a job with colleagues and leaders who understand your little quirks and will take the time to help you work through any difficult situations you may encounter.
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My Journal With NVLD, by Eileen Herzog

By | NVLD Bloggers

I remember starting school having no idea what was different about me along with being highly confused by the different services I received, as my friends were not going with me. As each elementary year passed, I started to have an idea about what was different about me. Later on things started to become even more confusing as social and academic demands were much higher. Socially, like all teenagers, my friends started to change, though with my disability I could not understand the rules of the game of adolescence. By that point, visual learning took place so it was clear I was starting to fall through the cracks. It seemed every day a teacher became frustrated with me though I was just overwhelmed and fatigued.
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How People and Patience Help Me Find Hope, by Katie Nora

By | NVLD Bloggers

This post is a follow-up to Katie’s first blog post.

As I come back to read these words one year later, I’m very glad to say that some elements have changed. I noticed changes even at the time it was posted, as the words were written before that, (and included a reflection that I’d worded even further before that), so no instantaneous, quick-fix solutions to report. But it’s true that time, patience and more awareness on my part, has eased how harshly NVLD seemed to limit my ability to function. A lot of the foundational struggles remain a constant. The main one being that I seem unable to focus and organize how, and when I want to. Though, as I read those words on avoiding what I love, and being unable to pursue what I am passionate about, I realize that these days, I try my hardest to do the opposite. I attempt to fill my time with people and community based projects that allow me to exist with a bit less fear.
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Researching Myself — Perspective from an NVLD Researcher, by Matthew Duke

By | NVLD Bloggers

Few scientists have the opportunity to study their own disorder, however, that is exactly what I’m doing at the University of Southern California. I recently proposed a journal article on this diamond in the rough disability to provide intuitive cognitive models in tough spatial scenarios for NVLD individuals. Furthermore, I hope this will also reduce anxiety for NVLD test takers. Since NVLD is a small, under-diagnosed community with very few speaking on it’s behalf, I’ll give a snippet of what it’s like to live with it….
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I Feel Like a Walking Paradox, by Tara

By | NVLD Bloggers

I was diagnosed with NVLD at age 22.

At the time, I had switched programs at college – having just failed my studies in animation, where difficulties with certain aspects of the program became a final prompt to have me checked out for a possible learning disorder.

I was relieved, finally knowing what had caused so many grievances in my life both academically and non-academically; however, the timing of the news was a mixed blessing.
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The Swan Transformation, by Nisha Batra

By | NVLD Bloggers

Let’s start at the very beginning… a very good place to start.

So what is a learning disability? If you Google it, you will be linked to many definitions. The easiest way I know how to sum it up is an invisible disability that encompasses social, emotional, physical and fine motor challenges.
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Niches, by Anna

By | NVLD Bloggers

In my experience living a successful and happy life with NVLD seems to be about finding–or creating– niches. It can be a confusing path to find them, but they exist.

I was diagnosed with having some sort of learning disorder when I was in kindergarten in the late 80s, but I wasn’t given the name nonverbal learning disorder until I went back for neurospych testing when I was 28. Growing up, academics seemed to be the focus of treatment for the condition, but I knew there was more to it. By fifth grade I seemed to have gotten academics down, except for math. I loved science (when it didn’t have math in it). But the things that I found the most challenging about NVLD were the parts that were not academic. I feel this was because no one was working with me on those things the way the did academics.
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Trapped, by Kate

By | NVLD Bloggers

Ever since I was little, I knew something was different. I hated math and science, because my struggles with them made it impossible for me to understand. My peers all seemed to hate me, and I couldn’t figure out what I had done to make them feel that way. I felt uncomfortable in every place I stood, no matter where I was. I hated (and still hate) when people touch me without permission. I talked too much, whether to someone else, or just to myself. Schools were unwilling to offer the support I needed, even when they didn’t have to do anything, other than listen to my doctor or another expert. I felt unloved. I felt invisible. I felt completely clueless.
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Adulting with NVLD, by Mercedes Gunn

By | NVLD Bloggers

I often thought that if I ever wrote my autobiography it would be titled “Trial and Error.” Living in no man’s land, where you are hanging from the autism spectrum line, but not close enough to the Asperger net, was, and still is rough.

I can remember having meltdowns and sensory processing issues. I was very picky about the texture and feel of my clothing. I was still learning how to regulate my emotions and would have frequent meltdowns and anger outbursts. I also spent a lot of time in the hospital and felt like a lab mouse because no one knew what was wrong with me. I had fevers that would come every two weeks and sometimes the fevers would cause me to have seizures. As a child, my parents fought the battle with various teachers, while I was stuck feeling like a freak on display, both in an academic sense and in a social sense.
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The Girl Who Wasn’t Autistic, by Miranda Kibel

By | NVLD Bloggers

I knew I was different all my life, but I thought that was a good thing, as that was the message “Dragon Tales” gave to me. I actually have traits of several disorders, but the thing that affected me most harshly was the fact that I prioritized verbal messages above all else. It was okay to “be myself” even if that meant picking my nose (a trait of repetitive behavior disorder, formerly thought of as OCD). My babysitter said it was “okay to cry” so I cried loudly in front of my classmates despite my teacher telling me I was embarrassing myself. When I was finally put in social skills training. I kept asking the speech therapists repeatedly what to do in specific situations and their answers were perennially vague. Due to my difficulties with timing and attention, I never mastered social skills in a group setting, and possibly never will.
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The Outcast, by Iris Lamar

By | NVLD Bloggers

When I was little, the Drs thought I had A.D.H.D but could not figure out why it was so severe. Kids made fun of me, I ran into everything and I did not understand social constructs at all. Finally I was diagnosed with NVLD. It is now 20 years later, and I still struggle, but having a name for the disorder, and people who help and understand makes all the difference!
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Anything is Possible with Perseverance, by Andrea Bradford

By | NVLD Bloggers

Telling someone I’m on the spectrum is difficult, but things become even more complicated when you’re a speech-language pathologist. I knew from a small age that I was different from my peers but no clue that I had a learning disability that affected me socially, academically, physically, and emotionally.

Until recently I had never heard of Non-Verbal Learning Disability, and I have been a practicing speech-language pathologist since October of 2014. It presents very similarly to Aspergers but is different in several ways. For instance, I’m an auditory learner and struggle with fine/gross motor impairments, while many Aspies are visual learners and often do not present with as many fine and gross impairments.
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How My Learning Disability Helped Me Write a Book, by Kacie Berghoef

By | NVLD Bloggers

Had I known as a child that I’d grow up to be a published author, it would’ve provided me with comfort and reassurance in the face of trying times. It wasn’t easy growing up with an undiagnosed learning disability. Despite endless efforts, in school I remained brilliant in some academic areas, like reading and spelling, and highly challenged in math and science, puzzling and frustrating my teachers and family.
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It’s Like Being Blind, Except I Can See, by Michelle Thomas

By | NVLD Bloggers

I was diagnosed with a Non-Verbal Learning Disability when I was in my junior year of high school. Learning disabilities weren’t even on anyone’s radar, not my parents, not my teachers… not mine for sure. I was diagnosed with a chromosome disorder called Turner Syndrome and part of the followup testing for that was NVLD testing since it’s very common with those who have Turner Syndrome.

Suddenly everything made sense when we got confirmation of the learning disability. It made sense why I struggled so much in geometry and chemistry. It made sense why I had so many awkward social interactions as a child. Why I always wanted to draw but could never master the hand eye coordination to do so no matter how much I practiced. Why I talked to myself out loud when performing a task. Why it felt like I was blind despite having vision. It was also why I became an easy target for bullying in school.
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When Life Overflows: My Experience with NVLD, and How Research Can Help Those with the Disability to Swim Instead of Drown, by Katie Nora

By | NVLD Bloggers

When I was diagnosed with NVLD, I was living in a youth psychiatric ward due to suicidal ideology. Everything about life was confusing me, I felt drowned by life itself. For my first 18 yrs, I had taken in all aspects of the world with alternative comprehension. This was not comprehended.

NVLD research and awareness matters.

It matters because I never knew there were reasons that could explain the science of why I struggle. Life is different with NVLD. Even before my diagnosis, I identified what I thought might be a difference, but without access to help, research, or a wide enough recognition of NVLD’s existence, there was no hope of finding an answer.
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A Life Re-Examined

By | NVLD Bloggers

It never made sense to me. Why was I in gifted classes in elementary school then as soon as middle school began, I struggled to maintain a C average? How could my elementary school teachers have been so wrong? At night, as I worked hard to complete my homework, I could not imagine some of my peers working so hard. I was always surprised to see them turning in their homework each day, seemingly unfazed by the amount of effort required. I surmised that I lacked work ethic and I’d better get myself accustomed to working harder. I asked my father who, despite performing terribly in school due to undiagnosed dyslexia, was a wildly successful entrepreneur -why school seemed harder for me than others. Without hesitation he assured me that was because, like him, I was not smart but how smart someone is – is not a measure of how well he/she will do in life. He said it was more important that I worry about being a good person and establishing strong work habits. And how to be resourceful. Like, getting people who were good in subjects to help me. And looking good. People care more about how good you look than whether you understand some random theory taught in school that has no relevance, he told me.
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Want A Wonderful Life In Adulthood … Embrace The Unique Gifts Of NVLD, by Shari Cherry

By | NVLD Bloggers

In 1967 when NVLD was first recognized I was just 2 years old. It’s no wonder it took until age 51 to be diagnosed with NVLD. Although my disability went unnamed for those 51 years I knew I was different. I knew that my math struggles, spelling errors, messy handwriting and how hard it was for me to stay on track and prioritize tasks were signs that something just wasn’t right.

Moms and Dads and fellow NVLDers. Guess what — none of those things stopped me from having amazing life experiences, a fulfilling career, and making loving connections with people.
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Theatre Major with NVLD, by Shelby

By | NVLD Bloggers

I was diagnosed with NVLD in sixth grade. It was very hard to understand why I had this disability and what it even was. I had a rough time in high school with bullying, having separate testing locations, and always being pulled from class to be tested by a psychiatrist. I basically had no friends and I was failing terribly in school.
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Hope, by Ashley D

By | NVLD Bloggers

I remember being in elementary school and being taken out of the classroom or arriving early with my mom, who was a teacher at my school, to meet with the school psychologists. At the time I didn’t know that they were test, but they had me do a series of things like drawing, writing, reading, and etc. Now as a 23 year old I understand that they were testing my memory, attention to detail, learning and etc. I then remember my mother trying to explain to my 9 year old self that my brain was a little different, which is why I struggled with math so much.
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Resilience in the Face of Adversity, by Julia Lange

By | NVLD Bloggers

“Julia’s visual-spatial difficulties cause her to be a hazard for herself and other students”

“Julia’s speech pattern makes her appear cognitively impaired”

“It appears Julia has a mild to moderate case of Nonverbal Learning Disorder”

These are a few [paraphrased] quotes from various IEPs and Neuropsychological reports I have from when I was growing up. I have read through these reports extensively trying to better understand me and find reasoning to why the way I am. The only conclusion I have ever drawn from these are that these are just labels and that my Nonverbal Learning Disorder (NVLD) does not define me or my life.
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Rediscovering Myself After Being Re-Diagnosed with NVLD, by Abby Bell

By | NVLD Bloggers

Hi everyone!

My name is Abby and I’m sharing on what it’s been like being recently re-diagnosed with NVLD.

I was really little when I was diagnosed with learning disabilities so I wasn’t fully aware how they would impact my life until I went to school. I knew I was different from my friends; for a long time I couldn’t put my finger on quite what it was, but knowing I was different made me feel like I would never fit in.
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NVLDifferent, by Thomas Cunnington

By | NVLD Bloggers

Just for a moment, imagine spending the first 18 years of your life unaware that Nonverbal Communication exists. While going to school, playing sports, and attending family events, you are unaware of all non-verbal communication. Imagine, you are eating dinner with your entire family on your birthday. Everything’s going smoothly, until you mention how funny this cat video you saw on the internet was. As you explain, you do not notice the disinterest in the faces of your friends and family.

Nobody has verbally stated that they did not think the video was funny. So you assume everyone is enjoying your video explanation, when really, they’re not. While communicating you are not making any eye contact, but instead you are looking around the room, because all of your focus is on explaining the cat video verbally. You pay little attention to your body language because you do not even realize it exists as a form of communication.
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I’m Disabled, But I’m Also Abled, by Peter Flom

By | NVLD Bloggers

I have nonverbal learning disability. Well, not officially. Officially, I still have the diagnosis I was given more than 50 years ago: Minimal brain dysfunction. But NVLD is much more accurate. So, I’m disabled. But I’m also abled. Now, that word “abled” gets a little red line underneath to tell me that it’s not a word. Hey! Spell check! How can you lack something you can’t have?
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The Discovery, by Caitlin Gong

By | NVLD Bloggers

In early 2010 my mom was doing some research online and found out about a learning disability called nonverbal learning disability. Many of the traits that individuals with this disability had were similar to those that I possessed. For example, those with NLD are often very black and white and literal in thinking which is definitely me and have poor spatial sense which is me to a tee. They can be prone to anxiety and depression due to difficulties with the subtle nuances of social communication such as nonverbal communication, body language, and social cues.
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