Navigating the City, by Eileen

By November 15, 2018 November 12th, 2019 NVLD Bloggers

Having an NVLD can be very complicated as it is a learning disability that also presents challenges outside the classroom. You may have difficulty reading a map, managing crowds, and not being able to drive. For these reasons, for someone with NVLD, living near a city can be extremely helpful and yes, still challenging.

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As driving may be difficult for a person with NVLD, one of the first pluses of living in a city is you don’t have to be able to drive to get around. Many people opt to use public transportation rather than to drive due to lack of parking, costly parking, and overall traffic. The difficulty of living in the city is that your weak spatial skills cause difficulty for you when reading a map. Furthermore, with more crowded streets and sidewalks, you may be more apt to bump into people. One of the ways this can be prevented is if you avoid using your phone so your attention is only to where you need to go and on the other walkers coming your way. Also stay out of the middle of the flow of traffic and keep to one side, preferably not the one closest to the street to keep yourself safe from traffic. Yes, this is challenging though so important. In most neighborhoods there are coffee shops or stores should you need to answer your phone. As with all things it takes time and practice to get better. Once you learn to cope with this, from my experience, many with an NVLD begin to love the city as they can become more independent.

To learn how to ride the subways, my Mom decided to give me a tour of popular neighborhoods in NYC, where my age group went to enjoy a social life. Of course, I made some mistakes reading the map throughout the day and figuring out how to use the subway system, however one of the first things that helped was I was honest about my disability. Yes, that is hard, though I found the subway transportation workers very accepting and helpful as were the other passengers. I also learned they do have maps with larger fronts and images so they can be easier to read for those with an NVLD or other visual processing disorders. Each time I used the subway I just thought while this is challenging, it is just another part of my disability I need to keep overcoming if I want to become more independent.

My advice to others is to understand that as a person with NVLD and the challenges it brings the decision to live in a city should be given some serious consideration. It will be hard at first as you learn to manage better your weaknesses,though in the end, you will be happy. I know for me since living near cities things have been so much easier as I can have my own social life without having to rely on others. Freedom at last!!!


I love being the city as there’s always something new!

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