Are Fine-Motor Impairments a Defining Feature of Nonverbal Learning Disabilities in Children?

Alison Wilkinson-Smith, Margaret Semrud-Clikeman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The most commonly used model of nonverbal learning disabilities (NVLD) is the Rourke model. This model includes bilateral deficits in psychomotor skills as a primary neuropsychological deficit. Extant studies have identified attentional issues as one of the components seen in many children with NVLD. Forty-five children divided into three groups completed a battery of tests including psychomotor skills. Groups were defined as children with NVLD, children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder-Predominantly Inattentive type, and typically developing children. No significant differences were found among the groups on measures of motor speed. Furthermore, the means were not in the expected direction, as children with NVLD actually performed faster than typically developing children. This finding suggests that measures of motor speed should not be solely used to identify children with NVLD and that more research is needed to clearly identify appropriate diagnostic criteria.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)52-59
Number of pages8
JournalApplied Neuropsychology: Child
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2014


  • NVLD
  • children
  • fine motor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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