Nonverbal Learning Disorder (NLD) occurs more often than most practitioners or educators think, and it is often misdiagnosed as ADD or Bipolar Disorder. Dr. John Milanovich, founder of MindMatters, has developed a screening device to detect NLD in children, teens, and adults.

Please use this screener and share it with your colleagues to help identify children suffering from NLD. Also, please note that this is only a screener and neuropsychological testing is required to confirm the diagnosis.

To screen for NLD, three areas of a child’s development need to be briefly investigated: math experiences, motor functions, and friendships. This can be completed during standard interviews or intakes, especially when talking to the parents of a child. Below are some areas to consider when exploring each domain (please note that typically only one or two questions in each domain need be asked to determine if a child is showing signs of NLD).

  • Is math liked less or resisted more than reading?
  • Have math tutors been used in the past?
  • Did the child have trouble learning multiplication tables?

  • Did the child have any struggles or delays in using scissors, forming letters and using writing implements, or tying shoes by expected age ranges?
  • Does the child resist or report disliking writing activities?
  • Is the child a slow writer? Is her penmanship poor?
  • Is the child somewhat clumsy?
  • Does the child dislike sports (especially team sports)?

When you ask parents, “How are his friendships?” they report any of the following:

  • not so good
  • he has always been shy
  • he never really fit in
  • he has trouble making friends
  • he has friends but doubts their loyalty
  • he is not really close to any other boys his age (except perhaps a cousin)
  • he is or was bossy

If it becomes apparent that at least two domains out of the Math-Motor-Friendships triangle have been affected (for example, a child was delayed in tying shoes and loves to read but hates math), then he or she has scored positive on the MindMatters NLD Screener and neuropsychological testing should be scheduled.

Remember, NLD can only be confirmed through testing by a qualified neuropsychologist, such as Dr. Milanovich and the professionals at MindMatters. Diagnosing NLD early in a child’s develop-ment can be important in devising life-changing treatment plans and educational strategies.


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