Autism and NLD

I have the unique perspective of being the parent of 2 girls - one diagnosed with NLD and the other diagnosed with autism/PDD. Judy asked me to write a short article about their similarities and differences. Since both disorders are spectrum disorders, this is a personalized account.

My older daughter, Katherine is 9 yrs. old. She had been diagnosed with NLD since age 6. My younger daughter, Amanda, is 6 yrs. old. She has been diagnosed with autism/PDD since age 3. 1996 was not a particularly good year for our family.


Let me also share that while Amanda meets diagnostic criteria for autism, she is a very verbal, fairly high-functioning kid. In fact she is so verbal that I believe many of her autistic symptoms are right-hemisphere mediated. Many children with autism show stronger right-hemisphere skills and weaker left hemisphere skills, such as language.


Some of their differences:



Some of their similarities, often differing only by degree:

Probably the way in which they are both the most similar is in their extreme need for explanations of the way the world works. They both need to be given explanations, over and over again, for every interaction requiring any social acumen - what didn't work in a given circumstance, and what might work better next time. Nothing is intuitively obvious.