Possible Non Verbal Learning Disorder (NVLD)
By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D
My daughter who is nine scored 111 on the verbal portion of the K-BIT
test scored a 74 on the non-verbal portion of the test. I think I should
be concerned but I don't even know what to be concerned about. Can you
help me understand this and why there is such a significant difference?
The verbal subtest in K-BIT makes up the verbal score measure verbal
skills by assessing a person's knowledge of word meanings. Additionally,
the verbal tasks measure the child's verbal concept formation, reasoning
ability, and range of general information. The verbal score measures the
Broad Ability known as Crystallized Ability, which reflects the amount
of specific knowledge that a person has acquired within a culture and
the person's ability to apply this knowledge effectively. The nonverbal
score measures the person's ability to solve novel problems, those that
are not specifically taught or trained. To solve the problems presented
in the matrices subtest, the examinee needs to perceive various
attributes in the pictures, generate hypotheses about how the pictures
go together, and test out the hypotheses to arrive at a solution. Thus,
the matrices subtest measures Fluid Reasoning and Visual Processing.
It clearly appears that your daughter has trouble with the measures of
fluid reasoning and visual processing. The large discrepancy usually
indicates a nonverbal learning disorder (NVLD). However, NVLD is a
spectrum and many people with NVLD do not have significant social
impairment or might be good at some types of learning, say certain areas
in Maths. For instance just like someone with a verbal learning
disability may actually have great receptive language but poor
expressive language; someone with NVLD who may be socially fine but
unable to do a jigsaw or has rather messy handwriting. You may need to
see if your child fits in any of the NVLD criteria.
Even though the verbal-performance discrepancy is not used to directly
diagnose a learning disability, it is like a red flag – it alerts
parents and teachers to the child's strengths and weaknesses. Therefore,
a full analysis of the individual subtests that comprise each score
should be looked at and if scatter is this large, it surely warrants
Research has indicated that a discrepancy towards verbal has also been
linked with Asperger's syndrome but not with other pervasive
developmental disorders. Relatively low verbal score has been considered
an indicator of dyslexia and relatively low performance of dyspraxia.
Studies have also suggested that hyperactivity in children is associated
with relatively low performance IQ. You should get a thorough view of
what these results indicate and I suggest you do it as soon as possible
as early intervention can be very beneficial.
Hope that helps. Good luck!