Nonverbal Learning Disabilities

Cesare Cornoldi, Irene C. Mammarella, and Jodene Goldenring Fine
Foreword by Linda S. Siegel

Hardcovere-bookprint + e-book
September 13, 2016
ISBN 9781462527588
Price: $38.00
202 Pages
Size: 6" x 9"
August 16, 2016
Price: $38.00
202 Pages
print + e-book
Hardcover + e-Book (PDF) ?
Price: $76.00 $41.80
202 Pages

Increasing numbers of children and adolescents are being diagnosed with nonverbal learning disabilities (NLD), yet clinicians and educators have few scientific resources to guide assessment and intervention. This book presents up-to-date knowledge on the nature of NLD and how to differentiate it from DSM-5 disorders such as autism spectrum disorder and developmental coordination disorder. Effective strategies for helping K-12 students and their families address the challenges of NLD in and outside of the classroom are illustrated with vivid case material. The authors thoughtfully consider controversies surrounding NLD, discuss why the diagnosis is not included in the current DSM and ICD classification systems, and identify important directions for future research.

“The authors intricately detail the cognitive difficulties children with NLD face in the academic, social, and familial domains….Overall, this is an excellent and informative work with a narrative that easily flows. Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above; faculty and professionals.”

Choice Reviews

“This book can be a welcome addition to any graduate course on psychological testing. It is thorough, well-resourced, and written by individuals with high familiarity with the field.”

Child and Family Behavior Therapy

“Will be of interest to clinicians faced with the task of assessing students with learning difficulties and to clinicians-in-training who are interested in the evolution of the field. The authors have provided a spirited defense of the position that NLD exists as a separate, identifiable diagnostic entity and have done the field a service by gathering the relevant data in one place and integrating the findings capably.”


“Timely and important. The authors maintain an adroit balance between research and practice, providing a conceptual and dimensional approach to NLD that is helpful to both clinical and educational practitioners, as well as researchers. While acknowledging the lack of consensus on the concept of NLD and its validity as a diagnostic entity, the authors propose a set of diagnostic criteria based on the available evidence. They provide a comprehensive assessment protocol and in-depth discussion of intervention targets and strategies, together with case studies. This seminal work—which challenges current categorical approaches in clinical, psychiatric, and educational taxonomies—takes an essential step forward in reconceptualizing neurodevelopmental disorders.”

—Rosemary Tannock, PhD, Senior Scientist, Neurosciences and Mental Health Research Program, Research Institute of The Hospital for Sick Children; and Professor Emerita, University of Toronto, Canada

“Clearly written, intellectually honest, and content rich. While making no secret of their support for the validity of the NLD construct, the authors offer balanced discussion of evidence on the links between NLD and cognition, academic performance, social–emotional development, and neurological and anatomical characteristics. For the past 15 years, my colleagues and I have worked to strengthen the reading and math performance of low-achieving elementary-age students using direct explicit instructional programs. We have accelerated the progress of many, but a significant minority of children clearly need something more. It is time for special educators to partner with cognitivists, developmental specialists, neurobiologists, and others to create new routes of success for difficult-to-teach children—this book offers very interesting and potentially helpful ideas in this regard.”

—Douglas Fuchs, PhD, Professor and Nicholas Hobbs Chair of Special Education and Human Development, Vanderbilt University

“This book is much needed. It constitutes a systematic, clear, and comprehensive review of the scientific research on psychological functioning of children with NLD. The authors adopt a neurodevelopmental perspective and offer a perfect balance between theoretical knowledge and applications. This work is indispensable reading for graduate students, researchers, and practitioners in psychology, neuropsychology, and education who seek to improve the quality of life of children with NLD and their families.”

—Ruth Campos, PhD, Department of Basic Psychology, Autonomous University of Madrid, Spain

Table of Contents

1. Past and Present Research

2. Cognitive and Academic Weaknesses of Children with NLD

3. Emotional and Social Difficulties of Children with NLD

4. Neurological and Anatomical Evidence

5. The Diagnostic Criteria: Looking for a Consensus

6. Differential Diagnosis and Assessment of Children with NLD

7. Strategies and Content of Interventions

8. Case Studies




About the Authors

Cesare Cornoldi is Full Professor in the Department of General Psychology at the University of Padua, Italy, where he also directs a laboratory that provides assessment and intervention for learning disabilities and developmental disorders. He conducts research both nationally and internationally on memory, mental imagery, learning disabilities, and human intelligence.Dr. Cornoldi serves on the editorial boards of many national and international journals and has been visiting professor at a number of universities, including, most recently, Columbia University, New York University, and the University of California, Irvine. He has served as president of the European Society for Cognitive Psychology, among other associations, and is a Fellow of the International Academy for Research in Learning Disabilities and the Association for Psychological Science. His publications include 300 peer-reviewed journal articles, 10 books, and numerous widely used Italian achievement tests.

Irene C. Mammarella, PhD, is Lecturer in the Department of Developmental and Social Psychology at the University of Padua, Italy, where she directs a postgraduate course in Developmental Psychopathology. She conducts clinical practice at the laboratory directed by Cesare Cornoldi that provides assessment and intervention for learning disabilities and developmental disorders. Her main areas of research are NLD, mathematical learning disability, the role of working memory in both academic achievement and calculation, and visuospatial abilities in high-functioning autism. The author of many peer-reviewed journal articles, Dr. Mammarella serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Experimental Child Psychology.

Jodene Goldenring Fine, PhD, is Associate Professor of School Psychology at Michigan State University, where she teaches graduate students and conducts research on autism, NLD, and dyslexia, using neuropsychological and neuroimaging techniques. Dr. Fine has lectured worldwide on the importance of a neuropsychological perspective in education, particularly with regard to the identification and treatment of children with learning challenges. A member of the National Academy of Neuropsychology and the International Academy for Research in Learning Disabilities, she served on the editorial board of Psychological Assessment.


Neuropsychologists, school psychologists, child clinical psychologists, and special educators working with children ages 5–17.

Course Use

May serve as a supplemental text in graduate-level courses.