As most people who have NVLD know, it’s very hard to understand people. However, I’ve never struggled to understand film and television. From as far back as I remember I was entranced with the medium. Hell, I even would take sayings or attributes from fictional characters to help me in social settings. I used to be scared of flying until one day my mom asked me “What would Nightwing do?” and my fears were absolved.
My diagnosis somewhat came as a surprise. At the time, I wasn’t the most socially adept child but adults always complimented my personality and ‘old soul’. I constantly built Legos and had a good amount of friends. However, I was always very sensitive. While other guys would constantly roast each other and laugh it off, one bad joke could send me into a fit of anger, or worse, make me succumb to tears in front of a bunch of adolescent boys (blood in the water as my dad would say). How I took everything literally made me an easy target, but since it also meant people hung out with me I ignored it for the most part. After my diagnosis I made myself a promise, it won’t change me, it’s always been here, now I just have a name for it. I always liked to look at it as a super power rather than a disability. A unique POV on the world that most people don’t get to experience. Oddly it really helps with the career I want to go into. My lifelong hyper-fixation on film paid itself off.
After my diagnosis I continued to have as normal a school life as possible. I was incredibly lucky to go to a great school with great accommodations and learning specialists. I played sports through high school, and while homework was always an issue, I ended up pulling through and got into one of my top three colleges. Now at 19, I live on my own, work, and go to school. My nonverbal learning disability is a part of me, a huge part, but that doesn’t mean it defines me.
I’m posting this on here to give others hope. My life is by no means perfect, I don’t want it to come across as such. But with enough work in therapy and independently, I truly believe NVLDers are capable of great things and that belief has been reinforced by reading others stories on this wonderful website. So don’t give up, I know sometimes it can feel like you’re an alien on a foreign planet but I promise you’re not alone and your NVLD doesn’t have to define you. NVLD is not a marathon or a sprint, it’s a long trek up the tallest mountain in the world, it’s long, unrelenting, but there are some beautiful views along the way, and that view from the top, it’s priceless.
Hello, I’m Jake Mangini. I’m a 19 year-old student at an art college studying screenwriting and film. However, long before that I was a scared 12 year-old who felt like he was on the outside looking in, recently diagnosed with NVLD.