NonVerbal Learning Disorder (NVLD) Challenges with-Adult Son


New Member
  1. While searching various resource websites today I came across your website and felt better after reading similar stories... and I’m feeling hopeful that others will chime in with words of encouragement after reading my story.

    My Son is 21 and is an only child and was diagnosed in 2010 with Non-Verbal Learning Disability (NonVerbal Learning Disorder (NonVerbal Learning Disorder (NVLD))). After many years of testing and therapy I finally received, what I believed, a “spot-on” diagnosis in 2010. (Although, he still exhibits clear signs of ADD, Asperger’s, and Autism.) He was plagued with many ear infections and other medical issues as an infant and toddler, which I believe contributed to his medical issues. My son has had difficulties in expressing himself in ANY form since a child and has always been gullible and a follower. Due to his social awkwardness he never really had friends and would allow his peers to bully him or misuse his kindness. He also doesn’t like being touched by anyone. His writing is atrocious… he writes like a child and his sentences are never complete and very difficult to follow and understand. Due to emotional abuse from his dad… at 18 he committed himself to a psychiatric hospital for a week to regroup. His behavior troubles began as a toddler and have now escalated into criminal activity (i.e., public transportation ‘fare’ violations, shoplifting, and vandalism).

    A little history… after 18yrs of marriage I left our family home and filed for legal separation due to irreconcilable differences, which ultimately became an awful expensive, complicated and an emotionally draining experience of nearly 3yrs. Although, my ex-husband and I had joint custody and lived between 2-5 miles apart… the judge gave him residential custody which turned into an emotional roller-coaster for our son. (He no longer had me as a buffer to protect his father irrational rhetoric and controlling issues.) Finally, nearly 2weeks after our son graduated from high school his father kicked him out of the home and their relationship has become estranged. My son moved in my cramped quarters for one year and attended college earning a 1.4GPA and thereafter dropped out before I moved to another state. Although, I offered him an opportunity to move with me I needed his assurance to work with me and devise a strategic plan to hopefully help him succeed in our new surroundings. He adamantly declined and stated he rather live with friends. Well, as suspected, he ended up in trouble and homeless!! So, after 6 months, I returned to pay his fees and plead for him to be released into my “out-of-state” custody.

    Since his arrival, he has left home many times for several days and return absolutely filthy… saying "he rather live on the streets than with rules." (If that was TRUE… why does he return to a home with rules?) However, after MUCH encouragement, he finished a job program but refused to use the learned skills… and has had two jobs with both ending in termination with a total of $244 earnings for 2014. Recently he did do some paid work for a local guy… only to be asked not to return due to his inability to follow ‘simple’ directions and intense daydreaming. (My son can’t seem to complete ANY task without constant reminders and follow-up. Music seems to be his only interest… that is, listening and watching videos.) I’m truly baffled that my 21 year old son behaves like a 15 year old and can’t seem to understand that we ALL must be responsible for our actions and ultimately take care of ourselves. More importantly, he insists that he doesn’t have a disability! He’s like an addict… until he accepts his limitations and use learned coping skills or medicine (if needed) he’ll always fall short of living a decent life without constant help.

    Unfortunately, it appears that NO help can be offered until my adult son is in agreement and accepts his disability. Well, I’ve come to the conclusion that in order to save MY sanity we must separate. I’ve sacrificed everything and put my life ‘on-hold’ and have exhausted everything. I will no longer tolerate his perpetual adolescence behavior at my expense. I have talked endlessly… and assisted him with resumes, job applications and fairs but NOTHING seems to work. (He continues to blame his father, me, other relatives, government, religion and general people for his continuous mishaps.) I love my son… and I’ve prayed and accepted that it’s time to “Let-Go & Let God”!!!


one day at a time
SBB, welcome to the PE forum. We're glad you're here. It sounds like you have been through the wringer. Most of us have been through similar circumstances; in my case, my son had no diagnosis except depression from a doctor. He wouldn't go to therapy although he took antidepressants off and on. I also thought he exhibited anxiety. He didn't try in school but I don't think there is a learning disability.

He did become addicted to prescription pills and he also abused alcohol. He also smoked pot. Likely there was more, but that is what I know about.

I had to completely let go of my son. He was homeless multiple times, in jail multiple times. He wouldn't live by any of society's rules, and there was no way to get him to do anything he didn't already want to do.

His behavior was intolerable to live with. I kicked him out, finally. We had given him so many chances to change, and nothing ever changed.

SBB, this is finally what it gets to, for most of us. We have to completely, 100 percent stop.

Every situation is different. We all get that and respect that. But the overall themes are astonishingly similar.

They will not do a single thing to help themselves, and all of our "help" only made us miserable and never sparked a change in them.

I hope you will get support for yourself from support groups in your city, like NAMI. Read books like Boundaries by Cloud and Townsend. If there is drug or alcohol abuse, consider Al-Anon or Nar-Anon. These groups are free and the support and healthy thinking is incredible.

Please keep sharing here. We get it, and we care.


Well-Known Member
SBB -- Welcome to this group. Glad you're here, but sorry life circumstances brought you here. It's such a rough road, indeed. Downright brutal.

COM is right....... While each situation differs some, it's amazing how much overlap there is. Clear patterns. In our case, some periods of time go well, some don't. We now recognize that as our son's "norm". Sometimes checked-in, sometimes checked-out. There is no blame or praise one way or the other. It merely is what it is.

I offer no solutions. But I do offer support. We all feel you!