Adventures in NLD land: What color is my room?

The other day I was trying to describe how my disability works.

Those of you who  have tried to do this about NLD will know that it isn’t easy.  Describing some LDs is easier: Dyslexia involves trouble with reading; dyscalculia involves trouble with math. There are subtleties, but the general notion is clear. But what exactly does NLD cause trouble with?  Sometimes I say “space and time” but that’s not very specific.

One problem I have is visual memory. Or, rather, my problem is that I have very little visual memory. But most people don’t seem to really get it when I say that. Oh, they know the words….. but they don’t get it.

I pointed out that I don’t, offhand, remember what color my bedroom walls are. This struck her as remarkable. It turns out that she could easily remember the color of all the rooms in her apartment. She thought this was pretty usual; she didn’t think of herself as having an unusually good visual memory.

So, when I got home, I looked at my bedroom walls. They are yellow. The ceiling is white. I now remember that. But I remember it verbally “walls are yellow, ceiling is white” rather than visually.

Let me know in the comments if you are similar to me (if you have NLD) or to my friend (if you don’t have NLD). And let me know if this helps you understand NLD.


  1. I have NLD. I’m sitting at home right now, and until a few seconds ago, I was thinking our whole home was brown paneling. I was stunned to find that our kids’ rooms each have a blue wall!! Granted, we haven’t lived here long, but….
    A possibly-interesting aspect of this visual memory thing: I went to a high school that burned down the year after I graduated. I sometimes had “school nightmares” (where my homework isn’t done, etc.) In the years following the school burning down, I have found that I cannot remember what the school looked like and find myself confusing my nightmares with the real thing. For some odd reason, this sometimes distresses me!

  2. It seems to me as if visual cues were not pertinent. Visual perceptions do not fit together into some meaningful whole, so, there is no use to keep it in mind. More sometimes visual representations are deceitful. This can be stressing.
    During holidays we had a trip in a nice old town in Europ with old narrow dark streets. I became anxious because I allways saw black spots on the pavement, and I couldn’t identifie whether they where shadows or some dog shit.
    Problem waw solved by stopping wearing open shoes and looking upward.

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