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The Source® for Nonverbal Learning Disorders
Ages: Birth-Adult   Grades: Birth-Adult

More than 65% of all communication is nonverbal, putting the child with Nonverbal Learning Disorder at a distinct disadvantage in navigating the social world.



  • Help professionals identify nonverbal learning disorders (NLD)
  • Facilitate inclusion of the child with NLD at school
  • Help the child with NLD achieve functional goals through modifications, strategies, compensations, and accommodations 
  • Assist in the development of social skills and transitioning toward adulthood
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** This is a Cloud E-Book that is accessible from any device with Internet access. .

NLD is an often misunderstood and under-recognized syndrome.  Consequently, children with NLD do not receive appropriate treatment.  Because these children are bright, highly verbal, and early readers, critical symptoms are ignored or explained away.  The child is considered disrespectful, clumsy, socially inept, and a "know-it-all."

The information in this resource will help you:

  • identify NLD
  • design effective interventions
  • educate others about NLD

The book includes lots of practical helps such as:

  • how NLD presents throughout the lifespan
  • descriptions of the motoric, visual-spatial-organizational, and social characteristics of NLD
  • comparison of AD/HD and NLD
  • reminders and strategies for parents of children with NLD
  • developing an inclusion plan
  • strategies for the classroom
  • suggestions for compensations, accommodations, and modifications
  • how to build social skills
  • transitioning to adulthood

Make a meaningful difference in the development and education of individuals with NLD with the information in this book.


Copyright © 1997

182 pages, checklist, glossary

I am a school psychologist and over the years I have purchased all the syndromes books because they are especially helpful for teachers and specialists. I always cringe when the LinguiSystems catalog comes as I'm sure there will be something I can't live without! I think you've done a terrific job providing quality materials that are much needed and used.

Sharyn Bauer, Psychologist
La Habra, CA


My husband and I are deeply grateful for your organization. My daughter was diagnosed with Nonverbal Learning Disability in 8th grade. She also has OCD, depression, and anxiety.


We were baffled about what Nonverbal Learning Disability was and were directed to several books from LinguiSystems. They were a God-send and opened our eyes and hearts to what she was trying to cope with. No one understood her but us. The Source for Nonverbal Learning Disorders was particulary helpful. It fit our daughter to a tee.


I truly do not know how she survived all those years through 8th grade with neither students nor teachers understanding her. The school psychologist and special ed teacher thought they understood, but they didn't have a clue.


Our family had always tried very hard to treat her with understanding, but we really didn't understand until we purchased The Source for Nonverbal Learning Disorders. Then our eyes were opened and we understood the whys of her childhood and adolescent behavior. We are so thankful for this book. Thank you.

Linda Wagner, Parent
Sheboygan, WI


When a dear friend's child was diagnosed with Nonverbal Learning Disorder, I ordered The Source for Nonverbal Learning Disorders, previewed it, and sent it off to him immediately.


Each of my LinguiSystems purchases have provided easy to read, helpful ideas and ready-to-use materials without confusion or the need to weed out inapplicable parts. I could go on and on . . . all of the products are simply incredible. I have been in the field of special education for over 25 years in positions from teacher to principal, and this is the most excited I've been about an entire line of materials.

Laura Gross, Teacher
Woodland Hills, CA

  • Harnadek and Rourke (1994) reported the following as common symptoms of nonverbal language disorders/nonverbal learning disabilities: difficulties in visual-spatial skills, verbose language known as "cocktail party" speech, significant deficits in pragmatics, limited insight or comprehension into humor and sarcasm, and much difficulty with adapting to new situations.
  • Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) have the training and expertise to work with individuals with nonverbal language disorders (NLD) because of their extensive knowledge of social language.  Although children with NLD often test within average limits for standardized language tests, this knowledge is often memorized and not flexible enough to be applied to social situations.  Thus, SLPs need to target humor, irony, sarcasm, and idioms for these higher level social language difficulties (Volden, 2002).
  • Children with pragmatic impairments need specific teaching to help social understanding (Taylor-Goh, 2005).
  • Conversation partners require skills in both verbal and nonverbal interactive behaviors (Sillars, 1991).
  • Children with NLD who are misdiagnosed or not appropriately treated are at increased risk for suicide in adolescence or adulthood compared to neurotypical peers due to continued difficulty with social situations, feelings of isolation, limited problem-solving skills, and inconsistent employment (Rourke, Young, & Leenaars, 1989).

The Source for Nonverbal Learning Disorders incorporates the above principles and is also based on expert professional practice.


Harnadek, M.C.S., & Rourke, B.P. (1994). Principle identifying features of the syndrome of nonverbal learning disabilities in children. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 27(3), 144-154.

Rourke, B.P., Young, G.C., & Leenaars, A.A. (1989). A childhood learning disability that predisposes those afflicted to adolescent and adult depression and suicide risk. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 22(3), 169-175.

Sillars, A.L. (1991). Behavior observation. In B.M. Montgomery & S. Duck (Eds.), Studying interpersonal interaction. New York: Guilford Press.

Taylor-Goh, S. (2005). Royal college of speech and language therapists: Clinical guidelines. United Kingdom: Speechmark. 

Volden, J. (2002, October). Nonverbal learning disability: What the SLP needs to know. Retrieved November 9, 2009, from


Sue Thompson


Sue Thompson, M.A., C.E.T., is an Educational Consultant and Therapist.  She specializes in training educators and educational therapists to understand and provide appropriate interventions for individuals with NLD.  Sue taught for over 20 years in California Public Schools in both regular and special education classrooms.  She holds a master's degree in Special Education from St. Mary's College of California.  Sue has written numerous articles on learning and behavior and writes a regular column for the GRAM (A publication of LDA-CA).  She provides teacher inservice training, workshops, and presentations for professionals and parent groups.

The Source for Nonverbal Learning Disorders is Sue's first publication with LinguiSystems.


I had been working in various special education programs in California for nearly 15 years in 1985, had specialist credentials in the areas of learning and behavior, had received my master's degree in Special Education, and had never heard of nonverbal learning disabilities syndrome.  Then I received a transfer student from a New Jersey school district with an IEP specifying the condition of NLD.  Twelve years later, I have pored over extensive literature and research and have personally worked with hundreds of children and adults with NLD.

During my inservice presentations to parents and teachers on the topic of NLD over the past seven years, participants have constantly urged me to "write it down" — to collect all my information in a book form.  So I did.  The resulting manual, I Shouldn't Have to Tell You!, was self-published for almost a year, with an overwhelming outpouring of gratitude from my readers.  The success of the self-published version prompted me to look for wider distribution, and the result is The Source for Nonverbal Learning Disorders a reformatted version of my original book.

This manual grew out of pleas from both parents and professionals to have this information written in an easy-to-read, accessible format.  I recently received an e-mail from a mom who wanted me to know that six of the professionals attending her daughter's IEP meeting had read my book.  My suggestions for CAMS were used in developing her daughter's IEP.  I now hear this type of heartwarming testimonial daily.  Please use this book as a resource.  The summaries, lists, and charts are provided for quick reference.

I hope this book will help inform and instruct both parents and educators about this under-recognized and poorly understood syndrome.  It is my sincere wish that the strategies presented in this book will aid you in designing successful interventions for individuals with NLD, and thereby improve the quality of their lives.  Working together we can make a difference.  To quote a very special colleague of mine, Judy Lewis of Carmel, California, "This book will actually save lives."