Nonverbal learning disorder (NLD) causes me many problems. Somethings are like black holes. I can't learn them no matter how much I try. There are many things I can do better than most people and that will be in the next post!

 1) I can't load a dishwasher properly. My visual spatial deficits mean that I can never remember what goes where or what side to put a baking dish on. Hence it always has water in it at the end!

 2) It's very hard for me to make things look neat. The cabinets that hold my cleaning supplies would be Jackson Pollack masterpieces if somebody else didn't make them neat. That's just one out of many examples.

 3) I can't determine the distance between cars when I'm crossing a street. That means I just stand there and almost cause many accidents! Strangely I lived in Manhattan most of my life and must know the rhythm of the streets well as I feel more comfortable jaywalking than I do crossing at the light. (I don't try to understand that one.) No I don't drive. Safer for humanity! I can't judge distance in crowds on the street. More people bump into me than I bump into them but that must be because of something I do wrong. My gait probably scares them. It is "distinctive." No, that doesn't make sense. I try harder than anything not to bump into people. I do bump into street lights and supermarket carts. Last week I apologized to a cart for bumping into it. The woman who was using it was studying the produce carefully. Still she said: "that's OK." I realized how weird I am.

 4) I can't follow a recipe precisely or bake. It's not that I haven't tried too many times. I read cookbooks for fun and inspiration and am a good cook by "feel."

 5) When I clean and mop—even with a Swifter or steamer, I always leave footmarks. I promise it's not for lack of trying. I can never make my kitchen counters look as good as other people can! I have a black sink. Beautiful but not for the cleaning impaired.

 6) I can't stand on the second step of a footstool without feeling the earth move. Obviously I can't be in the nose-bleed section of a stadium without everything spinning. For some reason I can look down from the observatory of the Empire State Building—probably because there are guard rails. Mountaintops scare me. I love walking up stairs but hate walking down stairs. Even the stairs in my house. I practice walking down properly but can't.

 7) I have been blogging for nine years. I still haven't mastered HTML, the language of blogging. This means I can't put things in the right sidebar, in my personal blog, that everybody else takes for granted. I can't put in ads and would love to. The "I blog for artistic integrity" speech doesn't cut it anymore.

 8) If something happens to my computer I must get a friend or hire somebody to fix it. Mac's are better than PC's for me but not by much.It takes me forever to download photos into iPhoto. Then I can't find them. I still haven't mastered my iPhone and I have had it for almost a year.

 9) Wire? You want me to touch wire? Are you crazy? I have no idea which wire goes where and can't untangle wires to save my life.

10) I can understand directions but I can't follow them. Most of my friends seem to do manual things by instinct. Sometimes something elludes them. I will read and explain the directions but I won't be able to physically do whatever is called for.

11) I can't sing on key. Nor can I dance. My father spent years trying to teach me ballroom dancing. It was an exercise in futility. I can't do any team sports. Heck I can't even run.

 12) I judge myself harshly for not being able to do the above. I'm having company come and stay for a few days. I'm convinced all they will do is find fault with my house. Nothing will be as good as it should be. My kitchen cabinets—oh G-d they're going to open them! My bedroom closet—let them not open it! The guestroom—there must be something wrong with the guestroom. I have no idea what but there will be something!

 My problems are mostly spatial and organization. It's my fears that lead to social ones. I refuse to give into the fears so I live a full life. But sometimes everything is just too much for me. I purposely didn't go into the reasons why I can't do all of the above. There is much literature that explains visual spatial and organizational problems. There is very little literature that talks about what an adult with undiagonsed until adulthood NLD can't do.

About the Author

Pia Savage

Pia Savage is a writer, journalist, and former social worker diagnosed with Non Verbal Learning Disorder.

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