Learning disabilities are considered to be neurobehavioral disorders (Stewart 2002 p. 4). These disorders are classified as an abnormality in the way that the brain processes information (Stewart 2002 p. 4). It should be noted that neurobehavioral disorders are not considered intellectual disabilities, but rather a difference in cognition, as well as difficulties in the way an individual understands outside stimuli and how the person interacts with the world (Stewart 2002 p. 4). Though learning disorders have traditionally been defined as disorders that explain verbal deficits, recently, there has been a shift in changing the definition of learning disorders to neuropsychological disorders ...view middle of the document...
An estimated ten percent of all individuals with a learning disorder have Nonverbal Learning Disorder (Stewart, 2002, p. 9). Tsatanais & Rouke (1995) and Panos, et al. (2002) found that Nonverbal Learning Disorder is an abnormality in the white matter of the brain, particularly damage (p. 479, p. 510). The more damage there is to the white matter, the greater likelihood that Nonverbal Learning Disorder will manifest in an individual (Tsatanais & Rouke 1995 479). White matter is myelinated neurons in the brain, and the most rapid period of myelination occurs during the first two years of life (Tsatanais & Rouke, 1995 p. 480). Disturbances of white matter most likely occur during this period of rapid myelination, which is caused by dysfunction in the way the axons of the neurons are grown and discarded of (Tsatanais & Rouke, 1995 p. 480).
Research has also found that Nonverbal Learning Disorder may also manifest in abnormalities of the corpus collosum (Panos, et al., 2002, p. 507). The corpus collosum is a bundle of fibers in the brain that connect the two hemispheres, which are heavily myelinated (Panos, et al., 2002, p. 507). The corpus collosum plays a role in cognitive functioning (Panos, et al., 2002, p. 507). If there is an abnormality in it, there may be learning issues, as well as behavioral issues (Panos, et al., 2002, p. 508).
In addition to abnormalities in the white matter and the corpus collosum, recent research has found that the presence of cysts on the brain may play a role in Nonverbal Learning Disorder (Semrud-Clikeman & Fine 2010 p 471). In a study, it was found that 7 out of the 28 children with Nonverbal Learning Disorder in a sample had brain cysts in regions such as the frontal lobe and the cerebellar area (Semrud-Clikeman & Fine 2010 p. 473). Though this study needs further research to back it up, the findings were above what the researchers expected to find (Semrud-Clikeman & Fine 2010 p. 474-75).
Antshel, K.M., & Khan, F.M. (2008). Is there an increased familial prevalence of psychopathology in children with nonverbal learning disorders?. Journal of Learning Disabilities. 41(3), 208-217.
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