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AceofPens
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06 Jan 2019, 10:12 am

We've had a few threads talking about NVLD recently, and I've had this question on my mind for the past month and a half, so I thought I'd pop it into the discussion now. How does NVLD manifest within ASD?

I have both and was diagnosed with the former a few months ago, alongside a confirmation of ASD. I've seen some people online with NVLD claim that the disorders can't co-exist, but I've seen many on this site in particular who have been diagnosed with both, and of course I have been as well. The criteria do demonstrate a considerable amount of overlap, however, and it has raised the question of what issues my NVLD is identifying that have not been previously explained through the ASD diagnosis. It does serve to rationalize my issues with higher math and abstract reasoning, both of which are typical autistic strengths. But beyond that, my understanding of their differences is a little fuzzy because I can't understand - if NVLD does encompass all of autism and not vice-versa - why I wasn't simply given the NVLD label instead of both? I'm curious to know how others categorize their issues and differentiate between the two disorders.


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Glflegolas
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06 Jan 2019, 11:01 am

Here's the best I can do for you. I've split this up between Asperger's and high-functioning autism, as I think there's enough difference between these two to do so. All this stuff came from a presentation by Tina K. Verle in 2009, at Eastern Illinois University.

Behaviour similarities
Resistant to change, ritualistic, restricted interests, anxious, noncompliant

Behaviour differences
HFA and AS are more likely to have stereotyped motor movements and OCD like behaviour.
AS is more likely to have policing behaviour.
NVLD is more likely to daydream/fantasize.
AS and NVLD are more likely to experience depression.

Language similarities
Poor figurative language, odd prosody, receptive & pragmatic language deficits, word finding difficulties

Language differences
HFA usually has heavy expressive language delays. NVLD often features precocious language.
AS and NVLD usually don't have trouble talking.
AS and NVLD usually has a normal amount of communication functions (uses for language I guess?), decent reciprocity.
HFA has a lot of echolalia, AS only a little.

Learning similarities
Often have ADD-like behaviour, poor flexible thinking, sequential processing, trouble with salient details, logical thinking, and weak generalization.

Learning differences
HFA usually learn visual and tactile. NVLD auditory only. AS can do both visual and auditory.
HFA is more likely to overfocus on details.
NVLD and AS are more likely to have trouble with spatial awareness.
AS and NVLD are more likely to be gifted.
AS and NVLD usually have Performance IQ < Verbal IQ.

Social skills similarities
Few friends, trouble with nonverbal signals (send/receive), seem odd and naive socially

Social skills differences
AS has moderate to strong social drive, NVLD usually strong social drive. Same pattern goes for initiation of interactions, theory of mind, and emotional connectivity.
AS are more likely to overshare. HFA won't share at all.

Other similarities
Excellent rote memory, motor delays (not always with HFA), weak executive functions and trouble with sensory integration.

Other differences
NVLD and AS usually feature constructive play.
AS has some pretend play, NVLD has lots.
Play schema is reduced for HFA.
NVLD and AS are more curious.
AS and NVLD have better adaptive behaviour.

I think the reason why you might have got the ASD diagnosis from one professional, and NVLD from another, is because ASD is in the DSM and ICD, while NVLD is not. I suspect the NVLD profile might have fit you better, but whoever diagnosed you might not have been comfortable giving you a diagnosis that's not officially recognised, as it might be harder to get support. In conclusion; you probably have NVLD, but there's enough overlap between that and ASD that a professional was able to give you an ASD diagnosis.


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Glflegolas
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06 Jan 2019, 3:47 pm

From Psychology Today:

"The signs and symptoms of a nonverbal learning disorder are similar to those of Asperger's Syndrome, although often less severe. Some experts argue that Asperger's and nonverbal learning disorder may even be the same condition viewed in different ways."

https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/cond ... g-disorder


_________________
~Glflegolas, B.Sc.
The Colourblind Country Chemist & Tropical Tracker

Myers-Briggs personality: The Commander
Asperger's Quiz: 79/111, both neurodiverse and neurotypical traits present. AQ score: 23 Raads-r score: here


AceofPens
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06 Jan 2019, 7:51 pm

Thank you for that post, it was very useful! I think you're right in suspecting that I better fit the NVLD profile - although I should've clarified that the same doctor who diagnosed me with it also confirmed the ASD diagnosis I had previously received. You bring up the manual's lack of recognition of it, though, and I think that's a good guess as to why my doctor diagnosed me with both - she used the ICD and, in diagnosing me with NVLD, officially gave me the manual's closest equivalent to it (F81.9), which is pretty vague on paper unless you have the full psychological report to interpret it. Perhaps she was limited by the manual's exclusion of a specific NVLD label and provided me with both diagnoses in order to ensure that I had access to the proper accommodations, as you suggested. I did emphasize going into testing that college was my primary concern, so it seems likely that it affected her decision.

Do you think that NVLD and ASD can potentially co-exist? Assuming that they are separate disorders and don't merely exist in different locations on the autism spectrum. I have to admit that I'm not entirely convinced either way, and I know that doctors and sufferers alike disagree among themselves.


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sunshinescj
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06 Jan 2019, 10:19 pm

I have both essentially NVLD has to do with a split in the IQ profile where Verbal IQ (VIQ) is a standard deviation or more higher than Performance IQ (PIQ). It is a cognitive profile so it can be present in both autistics and non autistics kind of like how dyslexia can occur in both populations. The IQ split is what is used to diagnose NVLD. It just so happens that that split produced characteristics similar to ASD.

I have both as well my VIQ is 147 while my PIQ is 92 hence the diagnosis of NVLD while my ASD was diagnosed later based on meeting the diagnostic criteria plus ADOS testing and the AQ.

For me ASD explained my sensory issues and special interests. Things which are not part of NVLD. While the NVLD explained why I almost failed geometry (despite otherwise being gifted in math) before my teacher restructured the test to be predominantly in words. Why I have no sense of direction or spatial awareness and why I am not a visual thinker like the stereotypical autistic.

You can have both. I certainly do. It just makes you have a different profile of strengths and weaknesses than either group does by itself.

I clung to being autistic and sort of denounced NVLD for awhile because autism explained things that NVLD didn't and I felt like I had finally found my tribe it felt like coming home. However I realized recently that I have characteristics of both and that that is ok. Embracing that will help me be as successful as possible because strategies that work for either group might help me, plus I get to stop having an identity crisis.

Sorry for all of the text and I know some of these things might not even be the case for you but I didn't want to let a potential opportunity to help somebody go to waste. I understand the desire to figure yourself out and I wish you luck in doing so, just remember not to discount anything and that it can be quite a long journey!



LookWhoItIs
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07 Jan 2019, 1:02 am

I have both...was diagnosed with NVLD as a child, ASD as a young adult. I think my NVLD is the greater stumbling block in all honesty...I can't do STEM because of it. And it seems that's where the jobs are...



AceofPens
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07 Jan 2019, 7:40 pm

sunshinescj wrote:
I have both essentially NVLD has to do with a split in the IQ profile where Verbal IQ (VIQ) is a standard deviation or more higher than Performance IQ (PIQ). It is a cognitive profile so it can be present in both autistics and non autistics kind of like how dyslexia can occur in both populations. The IQ split is what is used to diagnose NVLD. It just so happens that that split produced characteristics similar to ASD.

I have both as well my VIQ is 147 while my PIQ is 92 hence the diagnosis of NVLD while my ASD was diagnosed later based on meeting the diagnostic criteria plus ADOS testing and the AQ.

For me ASD explained my sensory issues and special interests. Things which are not part of NVLD. While the NVLD explained why I almost failed geometry (despite otherwise being gifted in math) before my teacher restructured the test to be predominantly in words. Why I have no sense of direction or spatial awareness and why I am not a visual thinker like the stereotypical autistic.

You can have both. I certainly do. It just makes you have a different profile of strengths and weaknesses than either group does by itself.

I clung to being autistic and sort of denounced NVLD for awhile because autism explained things that NVLD didn't and I felt like I had finally found my tribe it felt like coming home. However I realized recently that I have characteristics of both and that that is ok. Embracing that will help me be as successful as possible because strategies that work for either group might help me, plus I get to stop having an identity crisis.

Sorry for all of the text and I know some of these things might not even be the case for you but I didn't want to let a potential opportunity to help somebody go to waste. I understand the desire to figure yourself out and I wish you luck in doing so, just remember not to discount anything and that it can be quite a long journey!


Thank you. It has been an interesting development to deal with - I'd barely even heard of NVLD before I received the diagnosis, but the more I read the more impressed I was with its specificity to my own experience. Learning to place my impairments within the context of both disorders has helped to explain a lot, and I'm happy to be learning more about other people's experiences with NVLD, too.


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AceofPens
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07 Jan 2019, 7:43 pm

LookWhoItIs wrote:
I have both...was diagnosed with NVLD as a child, ASD as a young adult. I think my NVLD is the greater stumbling block in all honesty...I can't do STEM because of it. And it seems that's where the jobs are...


I know what you mean. I wanted to be an engineer when I was a kid, but as soon as I started pre-algebra I quickly switched to a humanities-based goal. :lol: Hopefully, my verbal skills will give me an extra edge in my chosen field to make up for the lack of job opportunities.


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sunshinescj
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08 Jan 2019, 4:26 pm

AceofPens wrote:
LookWhoItIs wrote:
I have both...was diagnosed with NVLD as a child, ASD as a young adult. I think my NVLD is the greater stumbling block in all honesty...I can't do STEM because of it. And it seems that's where the jobs are...


I know what you mean. I wanted to be an engineer when I was a kid, but as soon as I started pre-algebra I quickly switched to a humanities-based goal. :lol: Hopefully, my verbal skills will give me an extra edge in my chosen field to make up for the lack of job opportunities.


I wanted to be an engineer too! Even had a retired engineer tell me that I had an engineer's mind but then I met Geometry and Chemistry. Now I'm in school studying Communication Sciences and Disorders to be a Speech Pathologist. It's still a science but with a humanities focus and it emphasizes words.



LookWhoItIs
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10 Jan 2019, 12:44 am

AceofPens wrote:
LookWhoItIs wrote:
I have both...was diagnosed with NVLD as a child, ASD as a young adult. I think my NVLD is the greater stumbling block in all honesty...I can't do STEM because of it. And it seems that's where the jobs are...


I know what you mean. I wanted to be an engineer when I was a kid, but as soon as I started pre-algebra I quickly switched to a humanities-based goal. :lol: Hopefully, my verbal skills will give me an extra edge in my chosen field to make up for the lack of job opportunities.


Not to be boastful, but I think I have pretty strong verbal skills. I have a large vocabulary, and I can be quite articulate when I make the effort. I still can't get a decent job. Oh, and I have a master's in my field...



AceofPens
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10 Jan 2019, 9:43 am

sunshinescj wrote:
AceofPens wrote:
I wanted to be an engineer too! Even had a retired engineer tell me that I had an engineer's mind but then I met Geometry and Chemistry. Now I'm in school studying Communication Sciences and Disorders to be a Speech Pathologist. It's still a science but with a humanities focus and it emphasizes words.


That's cool. My sister is an SLP, and she's met several autistic students in grad school studying for that field - it seems like a popular choice, especially for the highly verbal among us. I'm aiming to become an archivist, as it favors obsessives, organizers, and the socially inept. :lol:


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AceofPens
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10 Jan 2019, 9:45 am

LookWhoItIs wrote:
Not to be boastful, but I think I have pretty strong verbal skills. I have a large vocabulary, and I can be quite articulate when I make the effort. I still can't get a decent job. Oh, and I have a master's in my field...


I'm sorry to hear that. What field did you choose to pursue?


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LookWhoItIs
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15 Jan 2019, 11:54 pm

AceofPens wrote:
LookWhoItIs wrote:
Not to be boastful, but I think I have pretty strong verbal skills. I have a large vocabulary, and I can be quite articulate when I make the effort. I still can't get a decent job. Oh, and I have a master's in my field...


I'm sorry to hear that. What field did you choose to pursue?


Bachelor's in Political Science, Master's of Public Administration (MPA).



nca14
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16 Jan 2019, 10:55 pm

I think that "NVLD" is a pervasive developmental disability, not a specific learning disorder. NVLD syndrome should be separated from (visual-)spatial(-motor) learning disability. I think that NVLD should not have special interests, poor emotional connectivity, "loner" personality, stimming. I think that some individuals with NVLD who do not meet DSM-V criteria of ASD can have a sort of autism different than "typical" ASD.

I am not certain if I meet DSM-V criteria of ASD. I have NVLD-like IQ profile. My VIQ was 126 and PIQ 104. My results on test from spring 2016 were:

VIQ:
Arithmetic 18
Information 17
Vocabulary 14
Comprehension 13
Similarities 13
Digit Span 11

PIQ:
Block Design 14
Coding 13
Object Assembly 9
Picture Completion 9
Picture Arrangement 8

Someone wrote that I do not have NVLD or have just a very mild case of it. I have relatively poor visual imagination and memory. I had poor results in Stroop test - I made 4 mistakes in drawing figures from memory, norm is 0 or 1 error, so my NVLD may appear to be mild, not "very mild". In Wisconsin Card Sorting Test I had poor results (below 15th percentile, some were below 5th percentile, one of subscales of that test was below 1st percentile (learning of learning)). That test was associated with executive functioning. I can read maps and graphs well.

Currently I have diagnoses of Asperger's, OCD and schizotypal disorder, but I think that I have rather NVLD with personality disorder (like antisocial or schizoid). I have poor emotional connectivity to other people, also to parents and siblings. When my grandfather died, I was not so sad and practically did not cry.



Hypercoaster
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18 Jan 2019, 8:03 pm

I have both NVLD and AS, as well. I usually just say I have AS, though, both because few people have heard about NVLD and because I feel the AS affects my life more. NVLD really only affects me when it comes to math and visual-spatial tasks. I, too, wonder if NVLD is separate from the autism spectrum or not. Clearly, AS without NVLD is a thing, as is AS with NVLD. But why are autistic-type traits so commonly associated with what is described as NVLD? This is something that definitely needs more research, and this is one of the reasons I think AS was prematurely removed as a diagnostic entity in the DSM-5. Since I do have both, I feel the AS trumps the NVLD. I basically just view myself as having AS with a visual-spatial learning disorder.



nca14
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18 Jan 2019, 10:02 pm

Descriptions of NVLD are very similar to descriptions of Asperger's syndrome or autism spectrum disorder. I think that it would be good if the name "nonverbal learning disorder" would be abolished because I think that NVLD is a sort of autism, a pervasive developmental disability which has large influence on social skills, emotions and behavior, not a specific learning disability. I think that many people with NVLD can be described as "autistic" even if they do not meet DSM-V criteria of ASD.

I think that "pure" NVLD is just visual-spatial learning disability which should not have so much impact on social skills and certainly should not be associated with PDD traits like lack of thinking about friends ("loner" personality) or making eye contact, stims and special interests.

I think that something which is often diagnosed as NVLD may be "true" Asperger's (F84.5 from ICD-10) and "bookish" Asperger's does not differs so much from high-functioning autistic disorder from DSM-IV, from high-functioning Kanner's syndrome. "Bookish" Asperger's appears to be just Kanner's autism with lesser speech delay.

I would say that my condition is obviously different from Temple Grandin's autism. I had no speech delay, think rather in words than in pictures.