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How Nonverbal Learning Disability Affects Me


Growing up with nonverbal learning disability (NVLD) has given me multiple challenges, however overall the spatial and fine motor challenges have affected me the most. It affects me in all aspects of life. It bothers me a little that I can’t present myself in the way many young women choose to do. For example, I can’t wear makeup, I can’t wear most dresses because of the tricky zippers, I can’t tie my shoes tight, do my own hair other than to brush it, and so many other things because of the hand-eye coordination and spatial skills they require. Even taking a shower takes me a few extra minutes as it takes me longer to turn it on and off and to wash my hair and body due to my poor hand strength and hand-eye coordination.

My disability has also affected my ability to get from place to place. I can’t read a map, as I can’t process the visual pictures. I often have to take a cab or Uber as my sense of direction is so poor due my disability. In addition to my poor sense of direction I also can’t drive, so I depend on others to get me where I want to be, which makes it hard. One of the saddest days of my life was when I turned 16. While those around me were so excited about getting their permits and their first car, I was wishing I would have a year with fewer obstacles, as I did on all my other birthdays.

In addition, my disability affects me when I am with others for dinner or out socially. For example, when setting the table, it is not unusual for me to put the food too close together as I can’t see how everything lines up. I struggle being out with others, as I can be completely unaware of my surroundings. This causes many people to get frustrated with me as I either stand too close to them or completely bump into them. On the positive side, I have come a long way in these areas, though at times it is still serious.

NVLD can bring challenges in all parts of life, so I believe the most important thing you can do is be aware of them. If you are aware, you can work to overcome them. Yes, there may be still some limitations, but the important thing is don’t take the easy way out. For example, it is annoying that everything takes twice as long, however at the end of the day I am beyond proud when I am able to overcome life’s obstacles. As you are going through your own NVLD challenges, I am very confident that with determination, patience, and taking advantage of your support, you can overcome them too.

Getty image by Foto Duets.