Having a Nonverbal Learning Disability affects a person’s motor, social, and academic skills. In a sense, the term is very misleading as typically we associate Learning Disabilities to just learning challenges. While learning difficulties are hard to cope with they typically don’t bring emotional challenges that those with NVLD face. Anxiety is often one of the biggest emotional challenges for those with NVLD.
Usually, classic learning-based disabled students don’t have the other social and motor deficits as those with NVLD so they have an easier time fitting in socially and overall. NVLD students often lack friendships due to their high level of anxiety as they often they feel like the world hates them. It is also not unusual for those with NVLD to have obsessive behaviors due to their difficulty understanding non-verbal communication. Regretfully, due to all this, by high school those with a NVLD often develop high levels of anxiety.
Most teachers don’t understand how stressful the school day can be for those with NVLD due to their lack of understanding of the challenges those with NVLD face. Unfortunately, those having NVLD are diagnosed with only a Specific Learning Disability so their emotional and behavioral needs go unmet. (NVLD is not listed in the DSM-V.) Thus things are even more complicated. This can lead to frustrations as those in the education field are still learning about NVLD how to best serve those who have it.
For me personally, my anxiety has affected me in different ways. As a teenager, along with having anxiety and NVLD, I also experienced Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder or PMDD which was incredibly debilitating. I was not only hurting emotionally but physically as my menstrual cramps were so severe. This hurt my work ethic as finding the motivation to complete work was virtually impossible. While it often took a few tries to complete work and dealing with severe cramps lead to some late arrivals to school or practices it was better than missing out on everything.
Counseling in many cases can be an effective treatment for those with anxiety and NVLD and it is often the first treatment prescribed before taking anti-anxiety medication. However, for some individuals opening up about their deficits and feelings of anxiety is extremely difficult so medication is prescribed. As treatment begins,either through counseling or medication, everything can become more manageable thus your confidence increases. For many as their confidence increases their anxiety decreases as they move into adulthood.
Overall, as difficult as this seems, it’s so important to understand you can manage and overcome the challenges that come as a result of having anxiety effectively if you use the support that is offered. It’s so important to remember to be honest and open about your anxiety. It is so hard but hiding the problem only makes things worse. I know personally I am eternally grateful for those who supported me no matter how bad my anxiety became and I know you will be too.
**All opinions and suggestions in this article from Eileen Herzog and does not constitute medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.**
Today I am grateful for all those who have made a difference in my life!