Comparing NonVerbal Learning Disorder (NVLD)-Aspergers-ADHD-High-Functioning Autism (HFA)

I have this information on differential diagnosis from a conference I went to on autism, Asperger's and Nonverbal Learning Disability. Hope it is helpful!

NonVerbal Learning Disorder (NVLD) symptoms
-delayed motor milestones
-difficulty dressing, organizing bedroom, trouble with- fasteners
-difficulty telling time on traditional clock
-difficulty judging distance, size, etc
-weak visual/ spacial discrim.
-poor organizational skills
-problems with math
-avoidance of graphomotor skills (puzzles, coloring, writing, etc)
-good language-but hyperverbal-talk themselves through a task-will use verbal skills to compensate
-poor inferencing
-misses the 'big picture'
-poor attention-easily distracted
-new situations anxiety provoking
-difficulty with social interactions
-may demonstrate unusual posturing of left arm/leg
-more verbose
-less solitary
-varied special interests
-has facial expressions
-higher verbal IQ
-talked before walked
-amass factual information
-poor visual spacial
High-Functioning Autism (HFA) (high functioning autism)
-more delayed speech
-more isolated
-+visusl/spacial skills
-echolalia (repeats what you say)
-high performance IQ
-? autism in extended family
-poor sensory intergration
-impulsive, interruptive
-increased impersistance
-less scatter on IQ
-includes irrelevent information
-anxiety predictable
-prefers peers
-loud and talkative
-activity driven by boredom
-history of high activity level with- earlier motor milestones

Hope this helps even just a little! /importthreads/images/graemlins/tongue.gif


New Member
Great info!! I still sometimes question Kyle's diagnosis of ADHD; his teacher thinks he has Asperger's. All of the symptoms overlap so much and the more you read the more confused you get!!


New Member
There is a great deal of debate among professionals how to differentiate between these diagnosis'es, (you can add Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)-not otherwise specified in as well). Hopefully in the future we will get a clearer description of the differences in the DSM so that all professionals will diagnose with the same set of guidelines.

The list posted does not represent my understanding of these 4 dx’es. My difficult child rates as follows on Sheri’s list:

7 of 15 NonVerbal Learning Disorder (NVLD)
3 of 8 Aspergers
5 of 7 High-Functioning Autism (HFA)
5 of 10 ADHD

So based on this list what diagnosis would you give him? He surely looks closer to High-Functioning Autism (HFA) than Aspergers.

My main source of info on the dx’es has been Tony Attwood, a renowned Aspergers expert. In his book Asperger’s Syndrome, Attwood says that there is no meaningful difference between High-Functioning Autism (HFA) and Aspergers. He also says that Asperger’s and ADHD are two distinct dx’es and one in six children with Asperger’s will also have ADHD.

My guess is that this list is just one person’s way to differentiate the 4 dx’es. We really need to see better guidelines in the DSM before there is agreement.



New Member
My difficult child has all but 7symptoms. Seems to have more of the NonVerbal Learning Disorder (NVLD) than anything else. Who knows?