Accepting NLD

 As an adult, learning that you've lived your life with a condition like NLD or AS can be shocking and liberating.

Growing up, i wanted nothing more than to be "normal". I wanted a
piece of the American dream: a job that I'm happy in and that pays
 the bills, a family, a home.

But i was always different. I always thought it was something that I could  fix if I just worked harder. Now, I see that I have a condition that I need to learn to accept and to live with better.

NLD explains why life was always so difficult, why I was always the odd one out, why I never fit in anywhere. I feel good about rebuilding my life on the framework of the truth about myself, and not on lies. 

 On the one hand, I was relieved to lean that I had a biological flaw, not a character flaw. But I was also saddened to think about what could have been if I had known earlier what I know now.  I’m just glad that I now know what the problem is. I am grateful for my blessings. I think things worked out the way they were supposed to.

A disability is not something you choose, but it is something you must learn to live with and accept. The disability is a part of who I am.  Accepting a disability like NLD or AS is like the grieving process when  someone dies... It's learning how to move on knowing you'll never have some of the things that you've always wanted... Learning to appreciate your gifts, love life and be happy with the things that you can do. I'm trying to redefine success, trying to let old dreams die and dream new dreams.

 We should be valued for what we can do, what we can contribute, and who we are. I accept that I will always have certain difficulties...they are as much a part of me as my eyes, hands, legs. Part of who I am is a person who cannot do certain things that others can do with little effort. Although there are many things I can do, and do very well.

 I have accepted that I have been, and always will be "different"...and it is no longer worth my efforts to try to change who I am. Instead, I do the best I can to work on my strengths so that they might at times override my weaknesses. We are all very special people, with strengths as well as weaknesses. NLD is both a problem and a challenge. It is also an annoyance, a frustration, and a very positive set of unique strengths in the verbal and creative areas.

I have learned that i need to let go of some dreams and replace them with new ones. NLD does interfere with work issues and derailed my librarian career. But i’ve learned to be happy doing other things instead. I have a very full life.

It is important to accept that some things we can’t do, and instead, do what we can in whatever way works for us. And always remember – NLD does *not* define you - *you* define you.

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4 Responses to Accepting NLD

  1. cheryl says:

    Hi Yvona,
    I want to thank you for writing your employment book. I am 24 year old girl who was recently in a physician assistant program. I completed the didatic phase and failed out when I entered my first clinical rotation. I was crushed after spending many years of hard work and sacrifice. When I went to the program director during my appeal to remain in the program she stated “Cheryl did you ever consider a learning disorder we know it is not an issue of laziness with you, because we always see you working hard”. I was later diagnosed with a mild case of Non verbal learning disorder. I am currently under employed working as a nurse’s aide, but desperately want to go back for something I can pay my loans off without living off of my parents who refused to accept or acknowledge learning disorders. They think I am lazy, stubborn, and mentally ill. I was considering occupational therapy do you think this could be an ideal fit for me to finally enjoy a piece of the American Dream?

    • wordsare says:

      That is hard for me (or anyone) to say if Occupational Therapist would work for you as a career, without knowing you personally.
      I remember there was a book by someone – i can’t remember who – with NLD who tried that field and had a lot of hurdles… but everyone is different, the book was self published and i no longer remember the author or title so i’m afraid i can’t be very helpful…
      It sounds like you have similar problems to mine with my early childhood ed practicum, and to Al’s in his SLP practicums…
      I don’t know where you live… i’m sure you’re not lazy – that’s not the problem. I’m glad you are able to work as a nurse’s aide… but sorry you’re underemployed.
      The best suggestion is to find a good career counselor, one who can understand your issues – that’s a really hard call – where you live…
      There have also been many more books written since mine, check those out as well…
      It is hard because every one of us is so different and individual.
      You may also want to check out the NLD Adult Yahoo group – it’s an online support group for adults with NLD. There is also NLD in Common, that Yahoo group is for anyone interested in NLD, many parents are there.
      And GRASP ( has support groups in many cities for adults on the autism spectrum, some issues are related to our NLD issues – that’s why i included Asperger’s in my book.

  2. mike says:

    Career,like nld, is a continiuum for us w nld. I was finally diagnosed last year at 51 after undergoing extensive testing for ld accomadation for possible college re-entry. Now, i understand why some seemingly simple aspects of life many easily do, are a challenge(keeping room clean,well-organization of materials etc) I am sorry that the PA program did not work for you. Perhaps aspects of the clinical component required alot of nonverbal subtlety for correct diagnostic inference. though you have a slight bit of nvld, it was amplified in the requirements/expectations of the filed. you have already accomplished and acquired alot of useful information. accomadating nld in career exploration and choice is a process where one takes the strengths and emphasizes this to create a compatible match based on additional factors sometimes not made explicit. I have been very frustrated at the difference between my cognitive ability and social cognition. it is bound to be trying to work in an underpaid and less intellectually stimulating environment-this will only be temp(pl keep this in mind). Your success w completing the complex science aspects of being a pa could be translated to working in a lab doing research, sampling etc,-depending on how much and how u are required to interact. Also, there are laws that require accomadation for nld. Self empowerment is import and you are doing this! I am glad that i discovered my nld and am working to dev a career that is supportive and helps others. Career counseling that is indiv. focused that is based on your strengths is import. Maybe a career in medical informatics could be a path-giving health inform verbally to patient consumers. You are strong,young and have alot to look forward to. Take care

    • wordsare says:

      Thanks so much for your comment and i wish you the best on your journey. What career are you pursuing – you mentioned a career change.

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