Nonverbal understanding concepts, and reading between the lines.

Nonverbal Learning Disability, or NVLD, can affect your student’s learning in many ways. Read more about NVLD, and how you can reach and teach students with Nonverbal Learning Disability.

Students with NVLD

Do you have a student that has strong verbal skills and a big vocabulary, but doesn’t understand when somebody is sarcastic? Does your student read at an advanced level but can’t tell you the most important parts of the story? Does your student struggle with completing math word problems and have trouble adjusting to changes? If so, your student might have a Nonverbal Learning Disability, or NVLD.Even though most students with NVLD have good reading and spelling skills, they have difficulty with comprehension. In other words, they might not be able to read between the lines and understand the bigger concepts of a lesson or story. A student with NVLD thinks in literal terms and misses subtle, nonverbal cues. Therefore, they cannot read social cues.

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Students with NVLD might have difficulty connecting visual information with abstract concepts, such as reading a map or telling time. Motor skills like drawing and writing or throwing and catching objects are also weak.NVLD can make learning challenging, but that doesn’t mean a student with NVLD isn’t bright. Students with NVLD have average or above-average intelligence. So, how can you help your students with NVLD reach their potential and be successful? Try the following teaching strategies.

Teaching Strategies

  • Since students with NVLD are contextual learners it is important to tell the student what he or she is expected to learn during a lesson. This will help them see the big picture.

  • Use simple, clear language when explaining concepts and make sure to review previous information before moving on to new ideas.
  • Reduce the amount of written work required since students with NVLD have weak handwriting skills. Encourage use of the computer to type longer assignments or research papers.
  • Promote the use of graph paper to help students line up numbers when computing math problems.

  • Avoid unnecessary copying from the blackboard. Instead, provide notes or previously copied material.
  • Break down big projects into smaller steps. It is important that the student understand the overall goal of the project and how the parts fit together to complete the whole.
  • Provide written directions in simple steps.
  • Graphic organizers, which are story maps or concept maps with simple visual symbols, are an excellent way to present information because they help simplify content so the student can both process and remember.
  • You can also use graphic organizers to help students organize long-term projects or written work.

  • Reduce the amount of information on a page as students with NVLD can become overwhelmed with too much visual material.
  • Provide a variety of models or examples, so the student knows the difference between poor, acceptable, and excellent work.

Lesson Summary

In this lesson, we discussed that students with Nonverbal Learning Disability, or NVLD, have difficulty with comprehension, understanding concepts, and reading between the lines.

You learned that students with NVLD are bright even though NVLD can make learning challenging. You learned a variety of strategies to teach the student with NVLD.Using simple language when explaining concepts, reducing the amount of written work required, and providing models and examples will make learning less overwhelming.

Encouraging the use of graph paper, graphic organizers, and the computer to type work will help your students with NVLD succeed in school.


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