A Prelude to Starting Over , by Justin

By January 31, 2024 NVLD Bloggers

When I first was diagnosed with NVLD I was 18. I was a senior in high school. Long story short, starting in middle school I often struggled with time on exams and struggled to keep up. This continued through high school although people thought I was smart, my grades didn’t reflect that and because of this I never really liked school and I didn’t think I was all that smart.

The story of how I was diagnosed is a story of how a tough teacher helped me. You see, by the time I was a senior, I knew there was something different about me than everyone else. I was that slow guy not finish his exams on time, and it was consistent across each class. Teachers would let me have about 10-15 minutes after class to finish exams. I did not have a real problem until my high school physics teacher refused to let me have time after exams. At that point, I took action. He told me that he wasn’t going to give me any time unless there was written documentation that I required extra time.

In response, I urged my mom to help find someone for testing. It took some time, but we found a psychologist Dr. Donaldson who gave me a Neuropsychological Evaluation. After the tests, extended time was warranted based on his review, but there was a diagnosis of NVLD. I had never heard of it. So I went on the internet and researched it.

Suddenly, things made sense. I realized why I was having the problems that I was having socially. I would describe it as being on a different wavelength than other people. Although I had friends in high school, I didn’t make any lasting friends. Even in college, I made few lasting friends.

Back to physics, my teacher grudgingly gave me extra time and my grades improved by one letter grade. These days, I do appreciate him pushing me to get tested as it helped me significantly in school.

In college, although I didn’t have any idea what to do with my life, and was an undecided major. I took general requirement classes and I got really good grades, I even made the dean’s list. Although it took me almost a year, I decided that because I had an interest in engineering in high school, I would pick engineering as a major (I still didn’t know what I was truly interested in). I was allowed into my school’s mechanical engineering program, but after that, I transferred to another school closer to home. Based on a long series of events out of my control, I made a bad decision to transfer based on anger. I regret making such a drastic decision due to anger

As a result of leaving the school, I left the only true friend I made, which was my roommate an international student from China.

When I first met my roommate although he was a mechanical engineering major, he did not speak English too well and had to spend time learning English in a special English speaking program the school had. He needed to practice speaking, so since all I could speak was English, our conversations helped him learn. We bonded over time, and his English improved dramatically.

Leaving my roommate behind is something I truly regret in my life. But I am thankful that despite all that, he is still a friend today.

That was around 9 years ago. My life after I transferred was a true struggle, but I am ready to share what I have learned.


Hi, my name is Justin Stoner. I am 28 years old. I was diagnosed with NVLD when I was 18. I am at my core an ambitious person who is always looking for the next challenge. I am not afraid to make a change. I grew up in the Midwest then eventually moved out West and then returned home. On that journey, I found out that even when I was completely isolated, I had a friend in Jesus.

Share your own story