A research framework to isolate visuospatial from childhood motor coordination phenotypes

Michele Poletti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Clinicians acknowledge the presence of developmental cognitive phenotypes mainly characterized by a specific visuospatial impairment in presence of intact verbal functioning (usually referred as Nonverbal Learning Disability: NLD) since many decades, without providing sufficient empirical evidence supporting their nosological validity and inclusion in current diagnostic manuals. This contribution suggests that the goal of including NLD in future diagnostic manuals could be achieved only be the demonstration of the validity of this hypothesized clinical category. Considering the blind spot of empirical literature represented by the differential diagnosis of NLD, this issue should the primary focus of empirical research supported by a renewed interest on NLD. Both neurophysiological and clinical evidence suggest that the differential diagnosis and the related empirical comparison should be primarily settled with Developmental Coordination Disorder, looking for the possible identification of children presenting a visuospatial impairment in absence of severe motor coordination impairment. In conclusion, further studies are needed to support the validity of NLD as valid diagnostic category to be included in future revisions of diagnostic manuals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)383-388
Number of pages6
JournalApplied neuropsychology. Child
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Developmental coordination disorder
  • dorsal stream vulnerability
  • nonverbal learning disability
  • visuospatial functions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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