Growing up with an NVLD brings more challenges than people really realize and because it is a misunderstood disability it makes each challenge even harder to overcome. What people don’t realize is that, with deficient fine motor and spatial skills, many of the biggest challenges faced are often outside of the classroom. Often when we think of NVLD as a Learning Disability we don’t always see the full picture outside of school.
For example, many with an NVLD can’t do their hair nor can they put makeup on by themselves as the level of spatial and fine motor skills required is beyond their ability. This can be challenging especially during their teenage years and it can make them feel self conscious and send the message to others that they don’t care as much about their own appearances which isn’t true. In addition, blow drying their hair can take twice as long and often not all of your hair is dry, as the hand eye coordination required for it is often too much and you may end up going to school with all of your hair dry except a big spot you have missed.
Another overlooked challenge faced by those with an NVLD is opening a locker on their own. As a result, many experience disappointment as they are often aware that others are watching them. For example, it took me until 9th grade to finally learn how to open my gym locker. I remember the day well. It was embarrassing how often a teacher’s aide would have to open it for me. My regular locker was even harder for me and regretfully I never learned how to get it open on my own. Fortunately, I had enough skills to use a key which gave me more independence.
One area that seems to be a life-long challenge is a poor sense of direction. I can’t tell you how many times I have been lost or how often I screw up reading directions in the car. It is truly so embarrassing and leads to so much tension. To help me with this, I have an emergency credit card on my Uber account so if I screw up tremendously I can take an Uber and not worry whether or not I have cash. Backup plans like this help me cope with my anxiety though I do wish I could read subway maps. As I look back, I guess getting lost on cross-country trails while in high school was just a glimpse into my future life with an NVLD.
As you read this I hope you understand these frustrations are normal and these are all reasons why you need to be more aware and accepting of your deficiencies. Like any other disability remember that with hard work and dedication it can be overcome and it all starts with acceptance.While It is certainly not easy by being honest about your challenges it makes everything much easier.
I am so grateful for all the support I have!Share your own story