Childrenís Nonverbal Learning Disabilities Scale

 by David B. Goldstein, PhD

 

Parents: Please answer all of the following questions.


NAME OF CHILD: _________________________________

DATE OF BIRTH: __________  AGE: ______  SEX: ______

GRADE: ______   SCHOOL: _________________________

HANDEDNESS:   RIGHT _____  LEFT ______  BOTH _____


This questionnaire has been completed by:

MOTHER _______    FATHER _______   OTHER * _______

* (Please describe): ______________________________

 

1.  Motor Skills

a.  My child has problems with balance (e.g. never learned to ride a bike).

Never/Rarely ___    Sometimes ___   Often/Always ___   I donít know ___

b.  My child displays impaired fine motor skills (e.g. significant difficulties learning to tie shoes).

Never/Rarely ___    Sometimes ___   Often/Always ___   I donít know ___

c.  My child has problems writing or extremely slow writing.

Never/Rarely ___    Sometimes ___   Often/Always ___   I donít know ___

d.  My child seems unusually clumsy.

Never/Rarely ___    Sometimes ___   Often/Always ___   I donít know ___

 

2.  Visual-Spatial Skills

a.  My child has difficulty remembering and organizing visual or spatial information (e.g. has difficulty lining up numbers to do a math problem or lining up words neatly on a page).

Never/Rarely ___    Sometimes ___   Often/Always ___   I donít know ___

b.  My child appears disoriented, lost, or confused when entering a new situation.

Never/Rarely ___    Sometimes ___   Often/Always ___   I donít know ___

c.  My child is slow to become familiar with new physical locations (e.g. continues to appear lost or disoriented after repeated exposures to the same location).

Never/Rarely ___    Sometimes ___   Often/Always ___   I donít know ___

d.  My child has difficulty remembering the faces of people he or she has met. 

Never/Rarely ___    Sometimes ___   Often/Always ___   I donít know ___

e.  My child has an auditory memory like a tape recorder.

Yes ____      No ____      I donít know ____

f.  My child loses his or her way and needs help finding his or her way around.

Never/Rarely ___    Sometimes ___   Often/Always ___   I donít know ___

g.  My child has unusually strong verbal skills (e.g. an impressive vocabulary or early speech).

Yes ____      No ____      I donít know ____

 

3.  Interpersonal Skills

a.  My child often does not get the humor in a joke because he or she interprets everything so literally.

Never/Rarely ___    Sometimes ___   Often/Always ___   I donít know ___

b.  When interacting with others my child has difficulty reading the other personís non-verbal cues, such as tone of voice or facial expression.

Never/Rarely ___    Sometimes ___   Often/Always ___   I donít know ___

c.  My child interprets what I say very literally (for example, if I tell my child Ďto pick themselves up by his or her bootstrapsí, they appear confused).

Never/Rarely ___    Sometimes ___   Often/Always ___   I donít know ___

d.  My child has difficulty transferring what he or she learns in one social situation to similar social situations. For e.g. my child appears confused when confronted with slight changes in a frequently encountered social situation.

Never/Rarely ___    Sometimes ___   Often/Always ___   I donít know ___

 

Guidelines for Scoring the Childrenís
Nonverbal Learning Disabilities Scale

The syndrome of NVLD includes a number of specific symptoms. Rourke (1995) has organized these into three primary areas: neuropsychological deficits, academic deficits, and social-emotional/adaptational deficits. Neuropsychological deficits include difficulties with tactile and visual perception, psychomotor coordination, tactile and visual attention, nonverbal memory, reasoning, executive functions, and specific aspects of speech and language. Deficits in mathematical reasoning, math calculations, reading comprehension, specific aspects of written language, and handwriting are primary academic concerns. Deficits in social expertise include problems with social cognition and perception as well as difficulties in social interaction.

Some of the symptoms identified with Nonverbal Learning Disabilities are similar to those described for other disorders. Individuals with right hemisphere dysfunction, Asperger's syndrome, and sensori-motor deficiencies each possess a number of characteristics that overlap with those of a Nonverbal Learning Disability. An evaluation by a Neuropsychologist can often assist in differential diagnosis.

This questionnaire is a checklist of characteristics that may be indicative of a Nonverbal Learning Disability. A referral for a more detailed evaluation by a pediatric neuropsychologist to rule in or rule out a Nonverbal learning disability requires that the parent report symptoms in all three spheres noted in the Developmental Screening and Referral Inventory (DSRI); deficiencies in motor-skills, visual-spatial skills, and interpersonal skills.

A referral to a neuropsychologist or for a more in-depth evaluation of a Nonverbal Learning Disability could be considered if the parent reports deficits "Sometimes" or "Often" on over half the items examining motor skills (at least 3 of the 4 items), visual-spatial skills (at least 4 of the 7 items), and interpersonal skills (at least 3 or the 4 items). 

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Reference

Rourke, B. P. (1994). Neuropsychological Assessment of Children with Learning Disabilities: Measurement Issues. In G. Reid Lyons (ed.), Frames of Reference for the Assessment of Learning Disabilities: New Views on Measurement Issues . Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brooks. 

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The Childrenís Nonverbal Learning Disabilities Scale© was excerpted from the Developmental Screening and Referral Inventory (DSRI) by David B. Goldstein, PhD, 1999. 

About the author - David B. Goldstein, PhD, is a clinical psychologist in independent practice in Memphis, Tennessee, and the Director of Mind-Stepsģ. His practice highlights the assessment and treatment of children, adolescents, and their families.