People confuse nonverbal learning disorder and ADHD all the time. Teens with a nonverbal learning disorder are almost always first diagnosed with ADHD or ADD. Why is this? The answer lies in their similarities.

Easily mistaken

Nonverbal learning disorder is a brain based learning disability that affects abstract thinking and spatial relationships. ADHD, on the other hand, causes children to be hyperactive, inattentive and distracted. Unlike ADHD, Nonverbal learning disorders biggest impact is on the social skills of children. 

nonverbal learning disorder

Image source- flickr user: wwworks

Nonverbal learning disorder is almost as prevalent as dyslexia and other learning disorders, but not as well known. Kids with nonverbal learning disorder have trouble with communication that isn’t verbal. A child with nonverbal learning disorder may have trouble keeping still, which may cause many to think that they have ADHD and are unable to keep still due to hyperactivity. What they don’t realize is that the child may not be able to keep their balance and coordination. Nonverbal learning disorder and ADHD display similar signs and symptoms, which can be confusing.

Similar signs

Both nonverbal learning disorder and ADHD share the following symptoms:

  • Inattentiveness
  • Poor social skills
  • Talking excessively
  • Academic problems
  • Focusing too hard on specific tasks

How to tell the difference

The difference between ADHD and a nonverbal learning disorder lies in what is behind the signs they have in common. Kids with ADHD talk excessively because they are hyperactive and need somewhere to vent their energy. Nonverbal learning disorder. on the other hand, causes kids to talk excessively because they don’t recognize the nonverbal cues to stop talking. They have issues in school because they struggle with math and reading comprehension, but oftentimes have a wide vocabulary. Kids with ADHD have trouble in school because they can’t focus and their mind is elsewhere.

Seven Stars can help

If your teen has ADHD, nonverbal learning disorder or both disorders, consider Seven Stars. Seven Stars is a program that combines adventure therapy and residential treatment to help teens with neurodevelopmental disorders such as ADHD, NVLD and autism spectrum disorder.
For more information about Seven Stars, please call 844-601-1167.

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