Difference Between NLD and Asperger’s Syndrome

NLD and Asperger’s are two kinds of diseases that have many similarities. Both of them are related to the verbal and communication abilities of children.

They are often considered to be the same thing because of this. However, each of these diseases is characterized by specific symptoms that differ from each other.

NLD vs Asperger’s Syndrome

The main difference between NLD and Asperger’s syndrome is that NLD is an acronym for ‘Non-verbal Learning Disorder’ which causes a child to have difficulty in exhibiting complex motor and social skills. However, there is no effect on verbal skills. On the other hand, Asperger’s syndrome is an old discovery that has now been termed as ‘Autism Spectrum Disorder’. It involves repetitive behaviours and difficulties in social interaction, along with poor verbal skills in children.

NLD vs Aspergers Syndrome

NLD is essentially a neurological disorder. It affects children at a young age and can be characterized by poor motor, social, organizational, and even visual skills.

The problem arises when tasks become too complex or difficult. However, the disorder does not affect the verbal abilities of the child in any way.

On the other hand, Asperger’s syndrome is an old discovery that has now been termed as a severe case of Autism Spectrum disorder.

It affects the social, motor, organizational, and intellectual abilities of a child. Unlike NLD, Asperger’s syndrome does affect the verbal and communication abilities of the patient.

Comparison Table Between NLD and Asperger’s syndrome

Parameters of ComparisonNLDAsperger’s Syndrome
DiscoveryIt was discovered in 1967.It was discovered in 1944.
MeaningIt is an acronym for Non-verbal Learning Disorder that affects children.It is an old discovery that is now termed Autism Spectrum disorder in children.
SymptomsIt is a learning disability that involves poor motor, social, organizational, and visual skills.It is a severe case of Autism in which the child has poor intellectual, motor, and social skills.
CharacteristicsIt does not affect the verbal skills of the child.It affects the verbal and communication skills of a child.
CausesIt is caused by misbalanced neurological activity in the right hemisphere of the brain.Its causes are not yet identified correctly.
DSMIt has never been classified on the DSM-5.It was removed from DSM-5 in 2013, and replaced by Autism Spectrum disorder.

What is NLD?

NLD is an acronym for non-verbal learning disorder. It was discovered in 1967 and is also commonly known as visual-spatial learning disorder. It is characterized by poor neurological abilities in a child.

This includes poor motor, social, organizational, and visual skills. However, an important thing to be noted is that NLD does not affect the verbal and communication skills of the patient in any way.

The disorder is caused when there is a misbalance of neurological activity in the right hemisphere of the brain. When such a situation occurs, the child starts having difficulties in understanding complex concepts and ideas.

This includes complex math problems and even lengthy writings that need to be memorized. In the initial stages, the child has poor hand-eye coordination and even attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

There is no known cure for the disease. Discoveries are yet to be made for solving the core of this problem. However, patients are given therapy and medications t help with the symptoms.

Interestingly, NLD has never been included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). This is a taxonomic tool that helps doctors diagnose several disorders.

Many doctors argue that it has symptoms specific enough to be classified as a category.

What is Asperger’s Syndrome?

Asperger’s syndrome is somewhat similar to NLD. However, certain characteristics and symptoms make it different. Firstly, Asperger’s syndrome was first discovered in 1944 by Hans Asperger, an Austrian physician.

It was included in the DSM-4 but was removed from the DSM-5 and replaced by Autism Spectrum Disorder.

The disorder causes children to have poor motor, social, organizational, and intellectual skills. While NLD does not affect verbal and communication skills, Asperger’s syndrome does.

A child diagnosed with this disorder finds it difficult to take part in social interactions. He stereotypes various things and shows repetitive behaviours. His perspective is very narrow and his body very clumsy.

However, like NLD, there is no cure for Asperger’s syndrome. Even the causes of the disorder are not yet identified. Several doctors suggest that there may be a genetic link that leads to the disorder.

However, there has been no strong evidence supporting this case.

Regardless, the symptoms exhibited by the patient are treated with the help of therapy and medications. This includes behavioural therapies and medication for co-existing symptoms or disorders like depression and ADHD.

Specific speech therapies are also given to the child to help him cope and perform better in social interactions.

Main Differences Between NLD and Asperger’s Syndrome

  1. NLD was discovered in 1967 whereas Asperger’s syndrome was discovered in 1944.
  2. NLD is an acronym for Non-verbal Learning Disorder that affects children whereas Asperger’s syndrome is an old discovery that is now termed as Autism Spectrum disorder in children.
  3. NLD is a learning disability that involves poor motor, social, organizational, and visual skills whereas is a severe case of Autism in which the child has poor intellectual, motor, and social skills.
  4. NLD does not affect the verbal skills of the child whereas Asperger’s syndrome affects the verbal and communication skills of a child.
  5. NLD is caused by misbalanced neurological activity in the right hemisphere of the brain whereas Asperger’s syndromes causes are not yet identified correctly.
  6. NLD has never been classified on the DSM-5 whereas Asperger’s syndrome was removed from DSM-5 in 2013, and replaced by Autism Spectrum disorder.

Conclusion

NLD and Asperger’s syndrome are two neurological disorders that affect children adversely. A major difference between the two is that NLD does affect the verbal and communication skills of a child.

It is characterized by poor motor, social, organizational, and visual skills. On the other hand, Asperger’s syndrome causes poor verbal, motor, social, organizational, and intellectual skills.

NLD was discovered much later when compared to the latter. Moreover, it has never been included in DSM. Meanwhile, Asperger’s syndrome was included in DSM earlier but was removed and replaced by Autism Spectrum disorder in 2013.

Regardless, there is no cure that treats the core of the disorder.

References

  1. https://www.tijdschriftvoorpsychiatrie.nl/issues/6/articles/5035
  2. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0829573512436966
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