Strategies for Preparing Teens with NVLD for College, by Sally

By February 14, 2018 November 12th, 2019 Parents Blogs

Preparing your teen for college is no small task. Between test prep, college essays and applications, financial aid, and high school graduation, the time leading up to the first day of college is filled with plenty of activities. If your child has had to work through the symptoms of Non-Verbal Learning Disability (NVLD) throughout high school, you may be concerned with how to best prepare him or her for college life. It is a common misconception that college is not a realistic option for those who have NVLD. However, many individuals with the condition have gone on to graduate with a degree.

Since the transition to college can aggravate symptoms of NVLD, it is essential to support your teen through this time in his or her life. Here are some of the top strategies for helping your child successfully prepare for college life.

College Admissions Testing

Prior to completing a college application, most teens are required to take either the ACT or SAT. Preparing for these standardized tests is stressful even for students who do not struggle with a learning disability. For those who have NVLD, test prep is usually a significant challenge. Issues with staying focused and solving new problems are two ways that NVLD can make college admissions testing much more difficult. Begin by helping your teen work through online ACT practice tests or SAT practice tests. Create a low-stress environment, and provide praise and encouragement for your teen. Be sure to emphasize similarities and patterns in the types of questions being asked to help overcome the stress of novel problem-solving.

Succeeding in College Homework

While you won’t be able to provide homework help as you did during elementary, middle, and high school, you can equip your teen with the tools he or she needs to succeed. Having the focus to complete college homework takes practice and dedication for students who are coping with NVLD symptoms. Because your teen will be faced with multi-step instructions in their homework, help him or her practice in advance. Following multiple steps and staying focused are common obstacles with NVLD, so place extra emphasis on building these skills. Use sample problems found online, or use multi-step problems found in your teen’s current high school coursework.

Student Life

In addition to coping with the academic challenges posed by NVLD, it is also key to address the social aspects. Individuals with NVLD can have challenges with processing social signals and interacting with others. Since college is a time of meeting new people and forming social bonds, have an open conversation with your child about his or her feelings. Communicate your support for your teen, and let him or her know that you are always here to listen. Also, explore the counseling and disability resources that will be available at your teen’s chosen college. Be sure to tell your child about these resources, and let him or her know that someone will be there to provide support at all times.

Although there will be inevitable challenges, following the strategies listed above will allow for the smoothest transition to college life. NVLD can be managed, and success in college is 100% possible for your teen.


Sally is a professional freelance writer with many years experience across many different areas. She made the move to freelancing from a stressful corporate job and loves the work-life balance it offers her. When not at work, Sally enjoys reading, hiking, spending time with her family and traveling as much as possible.

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