About Me

I’m a young adult (4 years out of college) in the United States who has Nonverbal Learning Disorder.   I blog under a pseudonym  so I can talk more openly about my experiences. Against lots of odds, I went from being a high school dropout to a college graduate, gained career training, and am now a graduate student with part-time work.  I chronicle my difficulties and accomplishments in these paragraphs.  NLD is not well-understood.  I hope to change this.

62 Responses to “About Me”

  1. Christina Says:

    Hi there. I just took a few minutes to read some stuff on your blog and I have two words, ” Thank you”.

    My 9 year old son was diagnosed with NLD in January of this year and there really isn’t that much info out there or maybe there is and I’m not looking in the right places. It is very hard to understand NLD but with people like you willing to share your life experiences is a huge help. Thanks again.

    • hannahcamille Says:

      Just diagnosed in January–what a difficult adjustment, and being only 9–that’s hard. In my case, being diagnosed was part relief and part burden. I agree that there isn’t much literature on NLD. I found a pretty good book (maybe 4 years ago?) called “NLD Superstars: What Families with Nonverbal Learning Disabilities Need to Know about Nurturing Confident, Comptent Kids” by Marcia Rubenstein, about a mother’s experience helping her NLD son. I’ll try to write more about my elementary school years in the future, and if you have stories and/or comments, please write again. Thanks for your note.

  2. Mary Says:

    Hannah Camille,

    My husband and I have a 6 yo who was diagnosed with NLD last year. I want to thank you so much for writing this blog. Although our daughter, Maddie, is still young, I have to continue to remind myself of all the struggles she encounters in every day life. I appreciate reading your thoughts and musings–it continues to help me focus on how I can help my daughter navigate this world.

    All my best,

    Mary

    • hannahcamille Says:

      Thank you for writing this note. I’m happy that your daughter was diagnosed young. Though as you describe, it’s still very difficult to be a verbally-focused learner in a world that relies so much on nonverbal communication. Many people believe the early elementary school years are mostly fun, but with NLD, there are obviously extra challenges. I have distinct memories of kindergarten “play times” when I would forget where I left things and where to put them away. I was then criticized for being messy and disorganized, when really there was much more going on. I also remember being extra-sensitive to people’s loud or (what I perceived as) harsh tones. Those young years stay with us on some level. I’m glad you are learning all you can about NLD; it will help reduce your daughter’s anxiety and help everyone find ways to verbalize the nonverbal.

  3. Connie Says:

    Hi Hannah,
    I think your blog is great especially for parents of NLD-ers who are grasping for information. My good friend has been told her son has NLD. I am learning about NLD myself to help her and her son. My own 17 year old has ADHD and I was wondering what are the differences between ADHD and NLD. With my friend’s son, he has excellent verbal and conversation skills for a 10-year-old, whereas my son is always blurting out the wrong thing and wont look anyone in the eye. Just wondering if there are any other differences. I don’t want to keep giving her advice from the ADHD mom’s perspective when NLD isn’t the same thing. Thank you for any advice or comments. Keep up the good work!

    • hannahcamille Says:

      There’s ADD and ADHD in my family, too, so I’ll do some reading and try to write about this in the future. I’m very glad you’re reading this for your friend and her son. NLD can have an isolating effect and is harder to disclose than ADHD. Hopefully your friend’s son will learn, with practice, about not blurting things out all the time, though it’s hard. Like you I’m fascinated by the medical diagnoses and their features. I did find this article (it may be too basic, but it’s a start) a few weeks ago in ADDitude Magazine (“Is it ADHD or NLD?”):

      http://www.additudemag.com/adhd-web/article/5052.html.

  4. Lauren Says:

    Hannah Camille,
    I’m 23 years old and was diagnosed with NLD when I was 9. Growing up I only viewed how it affected me academically and didn’t think about the social effect. Recently a couple of incidents have caused me to research how NLD may affect my life socially and how it will affect me now that I’ve left school. I stumbled across your blog tonight and was thrilled to find someone who understands what I go through on a daily basis. And I just wanted to say thank you. Its so great that you’re writing about this and I look forward to reading more of what you have to say in the future.

    • hannahcamille Says:

      Hi Lauren,
      I’m really glad you found this blog. Please let me know if you have ideas, stories, or other comments or just want to talk.
      Thanks.

    • hannahcamille Says:

      Hi Lauren,
      Are you in school right now? If so, what are your favorite subjects?
      I’d be glad to hear your stories if you want to write about them.
      Thanks for writing.

  5. Tasha Says:

    Hi Hannah Camille,

    My 7 year old has NLD and we send him to a private school for kids with learning disabilities. He really loves it there but should I consider sending him to a school with typical kids who may be able to model social skills? Some typical kids can be really mean. Do you think it’s better for NLD kids to be around other LD kids, or not? Just curious. Thanks for blogging about your experiences!

    • hannahcamille Says:

      A school switch can be traumatic, but you’re right in thinking your son should receive social skill modeling. Yet if a normal school doesn’t prevent bullying, then it’s another set of problems. If I had children, I would hope to send them to private school just because my public school experiences were overall terrible and private schools routinely show concern about students’ social and academic development. Maybe apply to some normal schools for the following year, and take him to visit. Try to find somewhere where he will know some of the kids, or work on building those relationships over the summer. Or you could wait until he’s old enough for middle school to switch. Of course, if he has older siblings, they will likely be the best modelers of social behavior. Hopefully there are some recreational courses in your community that match his interests; otherwise there’s always volunteer work, and since he’s young maybe you and him and could volunteer somewhere together. He’s lucky to have parents who are so concerned about him. When I was growing up, these issues were not on my parents’ radars at all.

    • hannahcamille Says:

      I think private school is a good idea. I wish I’d attended one.

  6. Grace Says:

    I was diagnosed when I was six, my parents were told that I would never be able to do math, read or write let alone socilize with other kids. (I’m now nineteen)They didn’t tell me I was any diffrent until I was older and could understand better. I try very hard each day to come off as ‘normal’. However as I’m getting older I’m realizing that I don’t really want to be ‘normal’. I managed to learn how to write, to read and to tie my shoes I feel as though I can eventually learn more about social relationships. Being ‘normal’ means that I feel that something is wrong with me as a person. I’m not normal and I’m trying to accept that. I think that’s the hardest part about this, I managed to get through High School although it was pretty hard for me. I don’t think I actually ever made friends that I could really rely on. I have a friend now that I’ve never really met, and a boyfriend, as well as my best friend Jessica. I have managed to train myself to understand some facial expressions and I have become rather manipulating, I think its a common coping mecognizim for NLD. I want to avoid the stuff I’m bad at, such as folding clothes, talking to people and writing by hand, but I need to do those things, well apart from the writing by hand(Hahaha) I still have some with Math (Although I enjoy the challenge) and often don’t bother to untie and retie my shoes. Those who have NLD, we might be diffrent but we need to be proud of our diffrences. (I’m still learning that.) Those who are trying to understand people with this disability, don’t treat them any differently then you would a ‘normal’ person, I hate that even though I need that to be understood. Well actually I haven’t told my boyfriend about having NLD yet, he’s my age and I’m afraid of telling him. Anyway its really great that your doing this and hope that it will help spread awareness.

    • hannahcamille Says:

      Yes, normal is just a weird idea. Lately I’ve found that laughing helps me relax–anything I can make funny, or kind of, really helps my thoughts stay positive.

      I’m very happy you made it out of high school. It sounds like you did a good job despite a very complicated LD issue.

      I totally agree with what you said: “Those who are trying to understand people with this disability, don’t treat them any differently then you would a ‘normal’ person.” Very important, and I can’t quote this enough.

      I’m sure your boyfriend will understand the NLD. It will be difficult to talk about, but not as tough as you probably imagine in your mind. Everyone has at least one family member with some or most of the NLD-typic symptoms. It’s a little like ADD–this would be easier to break to someone–but it’s the same idea. I know talking about it feels negative, and maybe like putting oneself down by drawing attention to it, but it will probably make communication easier to just say it when the time is right. Or there may not be a right time, and it’s OK not to talk about it, too.

  7. Tammy Says:

    My son Billy has NLD, ha is turning 6 this year and am looking for any advice or suggestions of good reading material. Thank you

    • hannahcamille Says:

      I read a book called “NLD Superstars” by Marsha Rubinstein, who is the mother of a son with NLD and an educational consultant. It was pretty good.

      Also, on youtube, there’s a lecture by Dr. Meryl Lipton, in which she discusses some of her NLD patients:

      Hopefully these will help.
      Thanks for writing. I’m glad your son was diagnosed at a relatively young age. He’s lucky to have you.

  8. Jane Says:

    Hi Hannah Camille,

    I’m so happy to see young adults who have NLD and who can express themselves (in words) as well as you can!!

    My youngest daughter is almost 10 and was diagnosed with NLD by a wonderful Neuropsychologist when she was 8. I was relieved to find out the reason why my 8 year old wanted to die to avoid the itchy feeling of being in her own skin (she also has Sensory Processing Disorder which is related to NLD) and why she had no self esteem and OCD systems (as you probably know, alot of psychological problems are the “side effect” of having NLD although sometimes conditions can coexist with it). She was also afraid that she wouldn’t find her seat again if she went to the bathroom at lunch time (noise/visual spatial problems) and had meltdowns over homework (I had to cuddle her to get her to calm down enough to do it).

    We’re struggling to get our public school (wish I could afford private but that comes with another set of challenges with no IEP) to implement what’s already in her IEP and new additional CAMS like typing.

    She’s come a long way with a wonderful Occupational Therapist who suggested and manages the “Wilbarger Brushing” (to help even her central nervous system so she could sleep and “freak out” less) and “The Listenging Program” (for sound sensitivity). We have her doing therapeutic horseback riding (more like regular riding now than it was in the beginning) and I think that has really helped her self esteem (having something she’s good at) as well as fine and gross motor problems.

    I’m sorry to hear that you had such a tough time of it but I’m impressed by what you’ve accomplished. You should be proud of yourself too!!

    I haven’t been diagnosed but I think I have mild NLD or many peices of it and I managed to graduate college (nights while working days) with honors and have had the same job for 13 years (NLD people don’t like change and they love routines). It can be done . . . it’s just more difficult for those with these challenges. You just have to find ways to compensate – not easy, I know.

    Take Care!! Good luck in the job search!! My strengths (research and writing etc.) are your strenths – I found that interesting. Data entry type jobs are also good although not as interesting when you’re starting out.

    • hannahcamille Says:

      Thanks very much for your note. I hope this blog is a helpful resource for your and your daughter. I will read over your note again and write more later.

    • ashleigh Says:

      hi jane i am not a parent with a kid with NLD however i am a 14 year old who has NLD and i have been on a mission to find kids and hopefully get in contact with kids with NLD i no therea a bit of a age gap but i can kijnd of relate to what u r going through i would suggest a tutor in maths mine came to my house for an hour once a week and she really helped me get better at maths my grades in maths really improved thanks to her the website is my newly started blog on NLD i suck at writing blogs i never no wat to write but don’t wry i am going to figure it out eventually

  9. embee77 Says:

    Hannah Camille – Wow! You are doing a great service to those of us who have NLD. Mine is combined with ADD, primarily inattentive. I’m 56 and have many of the same issues you do. I persisted through college, two masters’ degrees and numerous job and career changes. I am blogging on Hubpages.com under the name embee77. I hope you’ll get a chance to check out some of my thoughts. I actually had the opportunity to study communication disorders first-hand and I now work with children who have learning, social, and attention differences. Please stay in touch, and please keep thinking and writing.

  10. Katie C Says:

    Dear Hannah Camille, I am a 22 year old woman who was diagnosed with NLD when I was in about sixth grade. I remember being a young child and doctor’s trying and trying to figure out what I had. I remember feeling hurt and alone.

    So I have to say thank you. Even though I have only have a mild form of what I was reading really resonated with me. I am married and have a few close friends, but it’s so eay to for me to still feel totally alone. Like no one in the world could possibly understand. But there are those who do….

    So, thank you. :)

    -Katie Carpenter

    • hannahcamille Says:

      Hi Katie,
      It is wonderful to read your note. Thanks for writing. I look forward to hearing your thoughts as you read through the blog.
      Take care.

  11. Shana Says:

    Hannahcamille,
    thank you for this blog. Three years ago I contacted the dr. who had diagnosed my son with add and other ld’s to ask him about NLD as a diagnosis because I thought it seemed so right on but he insisted it did not fit. Two weeks ago, he was diagnosed with NLD and he is considered mild to moderate with the emphasis being on the moderate. I am so disappointed that so much time was lost when he could have been receiving social/speech therapy to help him. For now, I am looking anywhere and everywhere for information as to what to do to help him now and learn what to expect for his future. I am grateful to you for sharing your story.

    • hannahcamille Says:

      Thanks for your note. That’s so difficult. Keep encouraging him and things will improve. And find activities where he can begin to develop friendships.

  12. Sarah Says:

    How beautifully you write! Our wonderful 17 yr old daughter has NLD and I find reading your words so reassuring, comforting, humorous and deeply insightful. A thousand thanks from a mother who struggles to feel what my daughter feels. . and always wanting her to be happy. Depression is something I greatly fear and know that she struggles with it. We have to find her a good therapist, someone other than a parent , who knows NLD. I will keep reading and have sent your blog to our daughter and family members.
    With gratitude and admiration, Sarah

    • hannahcamille Says:

      Hi Sarah,
      Your daughter is at a very difficult age, made more difficult by the NLD. Which you already know. She is fortunate to have your support and focus. One idea is learning relaxation techniques–I’m just beginning to do this–and it helps in relating a bit better to others. Maybe try saying “Can I give you a hug?” to her; or something less difficult, like pats on the shoulder, might be less anxiety-provoking. My guess is she won’t mind hugs in a couple years. The stuff she’s probably going through now starts to wear off some in someone’s early 20s, at least for girls. Encourage her to write about her anxiety. I sometimes make a worry list right before trying to fall asleep. I read about doing that once and it can help. Compliments are also good. People with NLD tend to be very hard on ourselves. I wanted to thank you for the kind words about my blog. If I can help more, please let me know.
      Thanks.
      Take care,
      hce

  13. Cary Says:

    Hello! What a nice suprise to find this blog. My son was diagnosed at age 6 with NLD. He is now in third grade and we are struggling to find ways to help him in school. He doesn’t have so much of the spatial issues, more of the “literal linear thinker”, social ackwardness (does not have any friends at school), he is also starting to be verbally bullied at school and on the bus, and of course has writing and math issues. He has a hard time completing work, and staying on task. He also gets very overwhelmed when teachers pass out dittos with lots of questions….he just shuts down. Homework is always a struggle. He immedielty comes home announcing what he needs to do and automatically asks for help without even trying to do it on his own. Do you remember those early years???? Do you have any helpful pointers for parents out there trying to help their little one be successful, and have a healthy sense of worth, self esteem??

    • hannahcamille Says:

      Hi Cary,
      Some kids have found it helpful to be in clubs or other activity groups. For me it was music lessons. For homework, he might feel like it’s impossible to get it done. Maybe the teacher could take a few minutes to explain it individually to him after assigning it. And announce the assignments as early as possible, so he can start thinking about it earlier. Sometimes teachers will copy down the homework for the kids so they don’t have to worry about copying down the wrong things. Maybe take him somewhere to do homework, like the library or a coffee shop–after a short break when he gets home. Also see if someone near you can help form a support group of parents, and a social group for the kids. And try to find him some mentors. Maybe he’ll be more comfortable with kids who are slightly older; maybe not, but it’s worth a try. Make his teachers and counselors aware of the bullying–maybe you have already–and maybe involve a local parents/education/disability group, as they intervene in bullying issues a lot. A volunteer activity–ongoing–may help improve his confidence, like something with animals, or helping at a nursing home. The important thing is to put him in situations where he receives social reinforcement and can develop healthy relationships with other people. And be sure to watch out–I’m sure you do already, but I always say this because of my past experiences being abused–for adults who have personality disorders or boundary problems–they unfortunately target kids with LD issues and are sick and disgusting. It’s important that kids with LD issues get extra help keeping themselves shielded from people who may not have good motives. Which you probably know already. Let me know if I can help more.
      Take care,
      hce

  14. LMarie25 Says:

    Hannah Camille,

    Thank you so much for publishing this blog! I have been diagnosed w/ NLD when I was younger. It is great to find another college student out there with the same condition. The whole NLD thing is a journey all right. That is very cool that you are attending graduate school. I wish you much luck in your endeavors! Know that you are not alone in facing this there are tons of us out there! I face difficulties with visual spatial and other things such as organization. But I am a hard worker and fighter–determined to make it to the top. I make up for my disorganization in spades that way. You seem to have the same qualities yourself and I am glad that you are spreading awareness about how NLD affects people.

    • hannahcamille Says:

      Hi!
      Thanks for your note. I hope you’ll write again with your thoughts. I think having NLD makes us more determined. Many people would’ve predicted we wouldn’t do well in school, let alone attend college, but here we are doing both. Keep up the good work.

      • LMarie25 Says:

        You too. Keep on doing what you are doing. Your blog is great. I find so much reassurance and hope in it.

  15. NickS Says:

    Hey Hannah,

    I’ve been working my way through your blog and I am finding it very interesting. I am quite curious about the experiences of other individuals with NLD, mostly to compare them with my own experiences and to see where the differences and similarities lie.

    I was diagnosed with NLD when I was 10 years old. In both elementary and high school teachers and administrators were incredibly reluctant to make any useful accommodations. I should say that I didn’t really want any, although I never expressed it as such. I felt it would only generate negative attention among my peers (probably true). High school ended up being such a frustrating and depressing experience for me that I dropped out in the 12th grade. I eventually went to community college and did quite well, and am now in my first year of university at 21.

    I had never really done any substantial research on NLD until the past couple years. When it is constantly inferred that you don’t have a real learning disability and are just lazy and difficult I think you kind of end up agreeing with it. I still sometimes wonder if I was misdiagnosed, although I have been assured I was not.

    I think continued doubt on my part may at least be partially due to the fact that I don’t present some of the characteristics of NLD. I’ve never had any spatial-geographical difficulties, in fact I would say I have an excellent sense of direction, and I’ve always enjoyed amateur cartography. Also, as far I can remember I’ve never had any problems recognizing facial expressions or tone of voice. Intentions are another subject entirely, though I think everyone has trouble recognizing the intentions of others from time to time. I should say that I nearly constantly feel that I screw up my social interactions with others, even if that is often not the case (although I certainly do take the wrong approach with a fairly high frequency).

    A lot of the time I kind of feel like a social chameleon, I manage to blend in very well in a superficial way. I find that people often react quite positively to me initially, but gradually get the sense that there’s something slightly off about me. I’ve never been terribly good at developing acquaintances into friends (although I have made several strong and lasting friendships).

    You may have talked about this, but if so I haven’t gotten to it yet (or I managed to miss it!). I find it best to plan for multiple avenues of conversation with specific individuals, and often do this well in advance of my interactions with them. I’m just curious if others with NLD do this as well.

    Anyways, that was kind of disjointed and I’m not entirely sure why I posted it. Your blog is a welcome read and I hope you keep writing it!

    -Nick

    • Mike Says:

      You sound very similar to me. I don’t have any of the spatial problems, I did well in both math and language classes, and although not extremely intelligent I feel I am definitely above average in both these categories. “Social chameleon” is a good way to put it. I feel like I can blend in just fine and get along, but slowly people realized that the whole time I’ve been doing this I’ve never actually been an emotionally open person, I guess, and actually stepped into the circle – even if that circle is just a temporary and nonchalant one with no real lasting implications.

      I’m 26 now and did fine getting my undergraduate degree in History. I’ve found spotty work since then but moved 1,000 miles away from home and made some good money. Hopefully we don’t actually have it, but rather something else that can be dealt with. I often tell myself that once I address my repressed emotions and fears from my childhood, that I will finally be “normal.”

      • Mike Says:

        I meant to say I “never” actually stepped into the little social circle. I wish they let you edit comments here.

  16. Karen Says:

    Hi
    My son is 13 and was diagnosed at age 11 with NLD, it’s been a struggle. He is having difficulty in math and science, also he is very miserable when he doesn’t get his way. He is becoming a bully and doesn’t realize he is doing it, is this normal. Yet sometimes he is very loving and other times not so loving, we had him in counselling but now doesn’t want to go. Please tell me this will get easier as it is hard on the whole family.

  17. Kacey Says:

    I just came across your website as I spent another New Year’s Eve by myself. I am a 37 single year old female who has NLD. I had been diagnosed when I was in grade three and was retested earlier in 2010 so that I have a better understanding of myself. I consider myself very lucky, I own a condo in Toronto, have a car and have had a sales career. I am on a contract currently and hoping to find a new sales opportunity that truly is the right fit. The last few sales roles I have had haven’t worked out due to the economy and not finding the right fit. But what really is missing in my life is having a social life and being able to date. I have tired online dating off and on for the last few years gone out on a few dates but it never works. Tried reaching out for friendships male and female but people seem to always be busy and never have time to go out. Hoping that in 2011, I do have a social date with a male or female at least once a month with people other than my family.

    Thank you for sharing it helps knowing I am not alone and I look forward to reading more of your posts.

    Happy New Year for 2011.

  18. Vanessa Says:

    Hi Hannah Camille,

    Is home-schooling a good idea for someone for NLD? My 11 year old daughter has it, and I was considering it for her. She’s had a hard time at all her other schools.
    Thanks,
    Vanessa

    • hannahcamille Says:

      Hi Vanessa,
      Homeschooling might be a good idea–it could reduce anxiety. If you homeschool, though, I’d be sure to work in some regular group activities. Relate them to her interests, and help her find new interests, too. Some ideas: volunteer work; helping animals; relaxation classes, such as yoga, meditation, et cetera; musical activities, et cetera. It’s important for kids and teens to develop communication skills while working through anxiety. I’ve seen announcements for homeschooling groups, too. I always say get a dog or cat, if it’s possible, and make the pet essentially your child’s. And try to see if she can meet someone else around her age with similar NLD issues. Hope this is useful, and feel free to write again.
      HCE

  19. elizabeth Says:

    NLD resources-I am curious what sort of resources you have found to help you with employment. I am a few years out of college myself and feel like a total failure because I haven’t managed to hold down a full time job. It is nice to know that there are others out there who are going through the same things I am.

    • hannahcamille Says:

      Hi there,
      First, you’re not a “total failure.” You are making progress doing research on a very challenging, highly misunderstood condition. Don’t beat yourself up! And don’t give up! Here are some resources that helped me:
      1) Volunteer in fields you might want to work in. Some possibilities are writing and research fields, but there are many others. Do what you most want.
      2) Go to a community college for a post-college program, or take some graduate courses, and try to get a work-study award as part of your financial aid package. Many employers are very open to having work-study students. Do note that work-study can only be used for on-campus or community organizations.
      3) Volunteer to help a professor with research, but make sure you’re not taking on more than you can reasonably do, and make a case for getting a salary or stipend down the line.
      4) Get someone to help you write (or update) your resume, and start casting it around with quick cover letters (sounds like you already do this).
      5) Do “informational interviews” and other activities that can link you with potential mentors.

  20. Norma Says:

    My 12 year old daughter has NLD and struggles with social situations, she is very shy and I am considering a virtual classroom environment. She very much wants this but I fear she may become even more withdrawn socially. We have a small “zoo” of pets, have started horseback riding but she has only gone out a few times socially since summer began. Any thoughts on the possible benefits of a virtual class versus an actual class? Thank you so much for your blog, it is so helpful.

    • hannahcamille Says:

      Hi there,
      Virtual classes are tempting. Sometimes they’re the only good option . . ., but I would be concerned about the quality of education, and sometimes they overcharge. So I’m wary of this option.

  21. Pachyderm Says:

    Hello!

    Where did you go? I’ve been reading your blog a little bit, and you sound exactly like me. I’d love to chat with someone that is going through the same life experiences. Thank you for sharing yourself here. ^_^

    • hannahcamille Says:

      Thanks very much for your comment. I have two jobs and lots of school deadlines, so got very sidetracked, but when I’m not on this blog, I’m definitely thinking of it, and will keep writing.

  22. kris Says:

    thank you for your words and this space here! i have a 12 year old girl with nvld- and it has been a long and lonely road for our family! so much of the info you find on nvld is highly depressing and especially pessimistic about the future, with very little concrete (ironic) info on how to practically help.

    i have a blog too- where i write about our life- our joy and our struggles. i have been home schooling zoe for the past 2 years- now we live in africa. she’s an amazing kid- and she’s doing really well- despite the giant move to a new culture. i am optimistic about her future- she has gifts and talents- they just don’t fit into the typical box. she makes me a better person each day.

    come visit us at http://www.bestillandknowkw.blogspot.com
    thanks!!

    • hannahcamille Says:

      Thank you for sending your blog link. I will read it, and am glad my blog is helpful. I agree–much of the NLD literature is quite depressing, and does not reflect the range of talents so many with NLD have, plus the positive contributions we can make to society, esp. when well-understood and matched with our strengths.

  23. Mike Says:

    Do you think it is possible to have NVLD, above-average-but-unspectacular math abilities, and few problems with coordination/spatial things? I have a very good memory when it comes to getting places (by car or by walking), but socially I sometimes feel so… dead, or something. I have friends (some of them longterm) but I feel like I either need somewhat controlling friends or other friends with apathy. I just feel like I lack the “oomph.” I did pretty well in high school and college, even doing fairly well in the math and science classes that weren’t high level. I certainly never needed accommodation, and was also battling intense depression and apathy at the time due to zero romantic experience (which I still don’t have at 26). I’ve always been a great writer too. So this condition really stood out for me. I’ve also been having trouble finding permanent work but in this economy that is hardly surprising.

    • hannahcamille Says:

      Yes, Mike, some with NLD have the issues you describe. I believe everyone has a different distribution of strengths and deficits. I definitely relate to your social challenges. I, though a kind, understanding, smart person, too, share your plight. I go through every holiday “single,” not knowing what to think. It’s a tough problem, and I’m not sure how to approach it, either, but I’ll keep trying.

    • Jane Says:

      Mike,

      My 11 year old daughter has NLD and she doesn’t have extreme visual/spatial problems either (as hannahcamille stated – not everyone is the same) but definately has trouble finding small things. Everything else about NLD fits her to a tee though (social skills problems/sensory/organization problems/executive function problems/slow processing speed etc.).

      My theory also was that “sound” affected her ability to find her way around too because since she finished”The Listening” program at OT she is much less sensitive. She is much better about finding her away around than she used to be (maybe she’s learned compensation strategies as well). Even background noise would give her a headache in a cafeteria or restaurant before the therapy.

      A good Neuropsychologist could test and diagnose NLD and their testing would reveal where the stregths and weaknesses lie. I read all the NLD books and originally thought that everything applied to all the kids so I was afraid to let her try “Team Sports” because of what the books said. It turned out though through practice and perseverance she loves Softball (has a really supportive coach and team) and is really good at it (probably not the case for those who have severe visual/spatial problems because they could really injure themselves).

      Take Care and Good luck! There seem to be some good support groups out there on FB and otherwise.

  24. Linda G. Says:

    To “About Me”: Just came across your blog. My son is 18 with NLD. He just bombed out of his first semester at college. I used to run a support group for parents of children with NLD and thought I was well-versed in all areas. I prepared my son as best as I could but forgot how the emotional aspect of NLD impacts the student in a new environment. He was unable to ask for help. He would complete his assignments but not turn them in. This is a disaster in the college setting where you are required to be on your own, keep your own appointments, turn in your homework, etc. I have found that Academic Centers at most colleges do not offer the kind of personalized help an NLD student needs. I am picking up my son tomorrow and worry about his emotional state. He had to leave before finals because he became emotionally paralyzed after the second week (he had not been going to classes since then). It took me until now to find out what was going on because of his “adult” status.

    I have to be very careful as he is emotionally fragile but I also have to get him to accept his NLD and learn self-strategies in a world where he will have little help.

    Would love to hear NLD success stories at northeast colleges so we can work on a Plan B and C.

    Thanks.

    Linda G.

    • hannahcamille Says:

      Hi Linda,
      I’m very sorry about your son’s difficulties this fall. I’ve been there, for different but related reasons. I lost years of school (putting together issues in high school and college) because of NLD and recurring depression. You’re very right–most college support centers do not provide the individual help someone with NLD sometimes needs. I think part of this is because many have not received training in how to relate to (and help) people with visual-spatial challenges (the core of NLD). I wonder if your son had some traumatic social and/or classroom experiences (and/or social anxieties) this semester (or bad past memories)? Maybe a semester off (or fewer courses at a community college–I went to one and found them way more attuned to LD issues) to explore part-time work would help him gain confidence? If possible, maybe help him get some specialized counseling. I’m in both therapy and speech therapy–which help typify my appearance, help other people respond to me better, and reduce my emotional challenges. Also, encourage him to be in activities that focus on his strengths. I don’t know him, but many w/ NLD have found writing groups and/or working with animals to be good hobbies. Encourage him to not give up, and be inspired by stories of people who overcame problems. Also, just because one semester didn’t go well doesn’t mean others won’t. He can write an admissions explanation describing the NLD challenges, and how he’s finding ways to more successfully deal with them when he seeks to enroll in school later on.

  25. Linda G. Says:

    Thanks for your comments. As it stands now, my son is going to his college this week to appeal their decision of academic dismissal. During the time he was home, he was diagnosed with severe depression and anxiety. He is seeing a highly qualified psychiatrist (who understands NLD and its spectrum disabilities), was prescribed anti-depressant meds and is doing much better.

    Indeed he did have a “traumatic experience” the first semester which caused him to shut down. At the moment, we are exploring all opportunities, academic and otherwise. For the past three summers, he has had a lifeguard job and, ironically, works with disabled kids. We are very supportive and encouraging parents and as the depression starts to lift, we see that he is more willing to expose his emotions, accept help from others and better look inside himself without feeling hopelessness. In today’s high pressured world, I empathize with the difficulties – external and internal – that NLD presents to my son and others.

    If he does go back to college, I am going to make it my mission to educate those in the academic resource centers to have a better understanding of the logistical and emotional issues associated with NLD. It may be fruitless as it might be more support than they are willing to give but I feel I must take this journey with my son.

    I welcome all comments.

    Linda G.

  26. Jane Says:

    Linda G.,

    It sounds like you are doing everything you can to help your son. My 11 year old daughter has NLD and SPD (Sensory Processing Disorder) but has been much better after years of OT (we still do Wilbarger Brushing Protocol 2xday though), Counseling (in school & out), and Social Skills help.

    I feel your pain though because she had severe anxiety in 2nd and 3rd grade before all the treatments kicked in and who knows what the future will bring when she’s expected to be more self sufficient. It seems that our role, as Parents, will always be to advocate for them and to try to educate those who unknowingly make things worse (I’ve had lots of battles with teachers on that front but we finally seem to have a great Special Ed team in Middle School.

    Best of luck! It sounds like you are doing all the right things to help him!

  27. Chelsea McKinney Says:

    hello hannah, my name Is chelsea, I am 22 years old, and I was diagnosed with NLD when I was 9. I struggled very much with it in school especcially middle school. I now am a student at a rehab collage where i get the help I love. every student here has a learning disability, or phisical disability. it is teaching me to become the woman I know I can be, dispite my abilityxs/ disabilitys. I maily started lookign throguh things becasue I am struggling alot with day to day decision making and tasks etc. I am excited to learn how you cope.

    • hannahcamille Says:

      Thanks for writing. Yes, it is a wonderful source of support to meet other people who openly struggle with disabilities, especially in college when so many skills must be developed at once.

  28. Robert Says:

    Hi there, I came across your page… wonderful insights theres someone like me! I was diagnosed with a brain tumor at 5, medulloblastoma, had surgery, raadiation treatment and chemotherapy.. I had struggles with academics, more with math, and social problems growing up. Finally in 2001 i was officially diagnosed with NLD, on top of a hearing loss due to the chemotherapy. I have ALL of the same problems, but some areas are less severe, like i have no problem making eye contact, but my social skills are still quite poor, i have problem with being defensive, problems with math, and non-verbal cues… I graduated college, and even did some grad school, but with all the stress, i flunked out of grad school.

    • hannahcamille Says:

      Yes, stress can make school unbearable despite being capable of success. It sounds like you have had horribly challenging experiences from brain surgery and cancer treatments. I am humbled that this blog is helpful, and thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  29. B Says:

    Hi,

    I am a young adult with NLD – almost 21. I was told I had NLD when I was about 11 (not sure when I was officially diagnosed). I am only just beginning to realise how much it impacts my life. I also have OCD, depression, and general anxiety.

    I found this blog through a Google search I did, hoping to find something to give me hope through what I know will be a very difficult year, as I try living independently for the first time, as well as doing full-time study.

    Thank you for making the effort to chronicle your experience, and providing solace to people like me.

    B

    • hannahcamille Says:

      I appreciate your note, and am glad this blog can hopefully be helpful. I’m a few years away from your age, so there are quite a few posts on college, et cetera. Thanks for writing!

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