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Experts Blog

Discovering NVLD: The First Time, by Susan Micari

By | Experts Blog

Long ago, in 2003, my mentor sent a beautiful teen-aged boy to my practice who needed help managing his homework and his writing, she told me. I met the family in their home, and the first thing I saw was how exasperated the father of the boy was with him.

“Look,” he said after sizing me up like the litigator he was. “I think you’ll be too soft on him. I want him to get A’s an B’s, I want him to turn in his work, and work harder. It’s Harvard or nothing, you understand?” He was furious with his son, and frustrated that the boy just couldn’t keep track of his assignments, didn’t seem to understand what was wanted of him in the deduction-based inquiry based curriculum in Chemistry. Writing for English when musing on theme?  Forget it.
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The Paradox of NVLD: A Speech Therapist’s Perspective (Part 2), by Amy B.

By | Experts Blog

As I wait for the technicians to install a third tire on my car in the past five months alone, it is difficult to repress frustration about the costly consequences of visual-perceptual deficits. Getting lost everywhere and relying excessively on signs or the presence of furniture to determine which direction to turn in to arrive at my classroom/office from the front office or to a patient’s room is disconcerting and exhausting at best. Within the past three weeks, I mistook another person’s car for my own (and went inside of it before frenetically seizing my belongings and an empty Publix cookie container that took residence in the stranger’s passenger seat), ran over a median that I didn’t see, took aberrant turns to just about every destination, was unable to locate the entrance to an indoor trampoline park (to take an aerobics class) on the campus of a school and church despite the fact that I had delivered speech therapy sessions there for approximately four semesters, and had no idea how to direct my friend to take me to a parking garage.
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The Paradox of NVLD: A Speech Therapist’s Perspective (Part I), by Amy B.

By | Experts Blog

It can be difficult to suppress a grin when a few pairs of wary teenage eyes peer into the window of “The Language Production Studio.” As the high school students prepare to step onto the invisible but palpable social communication stage, I can sometimes see reflections of my past adolescent self from so long ago in their fleeting eye gaze, flat affect, anxious mannerisms, and manifestations of difficulty with transitions. The expectations have been clearly defined and some of them could recite the “conversational script” flawlessly, but the ostensibly simple role of initiating a greeting and a few conversational turns with the speech-language therapist may prove to be daunting when the spotlight shifts from the rules and the acquisition of knowledge of the skill to a spontaneous demonstration of it.
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Finding the Healing Touch: How Adults with NVLD Can Effectively Articulate their Sensory Needs to their Partners, by Benjamin Meyer

By | Experts Blog

Many people with NVLD face a unique challenge in romantic relationships: how to manage their sensory sensitivity. It is documented that some individuals with NVLD may have either an acute or blunted sense of hearing, taste, smell, or touch (Schatz, 2013). The senses can play a role in all stages of romance, from choosing a venue for a first date to deciding on when and how to touch for the first time. For someone with sensory sensitivity, these aspects of dating may be especially anxiety producing; it may also be more difficult for these individuals to develop a deeper level of physical intimacy as a relationship progresses.
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Is It NVLD or ADHD? Why the Confusion?, by Elizabeth Shoiry

By | Experts Blog

Both attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and a nonverbal learning disability (NVLD) are life long neurobiological challenges. ADHD was first formally recognized as a disorder by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) in the 1960’s. Today, ADHD is one of the most commonly diagnosed and perhaps over diagnosed childhood and adolescent disorders.

In contrast, NVLD has yet to be formally recognized and is generally overlooked, underdiagnosed, and misunderstood. Moreover, NVLD is frequently mistaken for ADHD. One of the key dangers of misidentifying mental health disorders is the distress it can cause the individual and their family. A lack of proper identification can result in unrealistic demands, expectations and overestimations of the individual’s ability. Subsequent self esteem and self confidence issues, social and emotional concerns, as well as academic struggles and frustrations can give rise to a lifetime of challenges.
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Spending the Summer Unplugged, by Debbie & Eric Sasson

By | Experts Blog

I spend my summers, along with my husband and our two daughters in rural Vermont with 120 children who think of themselves as “quirky” – many of whom have a diagnosis of NVLD.  Our community of over 200 people has an amazingly rare opportunity to spend the summer months almost completely unplugged.  Aside from daily communication with parents via email and phone, we live without television, cell phones, video games.  You see, we run a residential summer camp where we focus on the things that matter most…interpersonal IN PERSON relationships – something so many of us now struggle to find time for.

I just finished reading two articles about the impact of smartphones on our emotional wellbeing and our intelligence.  Neither article was positive.  The bottom line is that our constant use of our phones has caused us to feel more depressed, to sleep less, to interact with others less and to be more distracted.  All of these factors are even more intense for teens who are using phones these days as a way to interact with peers.
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The Right Summer Camp Can Make A World Of Difference To Children With NVLD, by Debbie & Eric Sasson

By | Experts Blog

Life can be very lonely when it feels like people don’t “get” you.  Our campers tell us that camp gives them an opportunity to be a part of something bigger, to be a member of a community where people understand them and appreciate them for who they are.  Many people find it hard to imagine that summer camp can provide more than a few weeks of fun activities.  And yet, camp is so much more.  Residential camp gives children an opportunity to meet peers who have similar interests and experiences, but also to be more independent, to learn resiliency, to feel a sense of agency.
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Learning the Rules of the Social Give and Take, by Abby Diamond

By | Experts Blog

I work as a learning specialist in a mainstream independent school in New York City.  In my role I see students with a variety of challenges and diagnosed learning disabilities.  I currently work with one student, Ethan, who is diagnosed with NVLD.  In a social, collaborative environment that demands strong independence and self-advocacy skills he has struggled.  The give and take of social interactions and understanding what is appropriate behavior in the classroom can be difficult for Ethan.  Together, we have developed strategies that help him advocate for himself and I have shared useful tips with his teachers so that their interactions with Ethan are productive.
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NVLD Neuroimaging Research Study

By | Experts Blog

The NVLD Project is supporting a research study on children with NVLD at Columbia University Medical Center. Our goal is to better understand what makes NVLD a distinct diagnosis. We are trying to learn more about how children with NVLD learn and if there are differences in the way that their brains work. In order to do this, we are having children come spend a day at Columbia University Medical Center. The day consists of spending time doing tasks and an MRI scan.
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Dating Success: Strategies for Using Your Strengths with NVLD, by Benjamin Meyer

By | Experts Blog

Dating can be daunting for anyone, but dating with a Nonverbal Learning Disorder (NVLD) creates a unique set of challenges. People with NVLD have difficulties reading body language, understanding nuances such as sarcasm in communication, and simply managing to transition to new environments. Nevertheless, while the challenges of dating on the Autism Spectrum have received increasing attention, little has been published about NVLD.
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