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NLD and Asperger's Disorder

Joe Palombo

Nonverbal Learning Disabilities, Chapter 11, pages 205-218

Conclusion

A close comparison of the features of NLD and Asperger's Disorder along three different perspectives demonstrates that they are different disorders with different developmental trajectories driven by different constraints. Asperger’s Disorder appears to include some of the social features of NLD, although NLD does not share many of its features with Asperger's Disorder. Even if we consider the shared features, there appears to be little basis for considering the two entities as part of a continuum of disorders. There are clear demarcations between the two. The fact that questions exist as to the viability of Asperger's Disorder as a separate diagnostic entity is a complicating factor in making the differentiation.

The proposal of a separate label, SELD, for the entire class of disorders is an interesting one. By assuming that a set of brain functions undergrids all social--cognitive functions, it promises to provide a basis for establishing a continuum of disorders. We must await further research to substantiate this proposal. Even then, the SELD conceptualization may not answer the question regarding the distinctiveness of the disorders.