Ioannis Agaliotis, Eleftheria Ismirlidou


This study compares the performance of students with Non-Verbal Learning Disabilities (NVLD) and students with Asperger Syndrome (AS) in Solving Arithmetic Problems (SAP). The participants were 15 students with NVLD and 12 students with AS, who were asked to solve 15 word problems of various arithmetic operations. The results showed that both groups faced significant difficulties in SAP. Difficulties have appeared in all phases of the SAP. More intense difficulties appeared in the phase of forming the necessary coherent mental representation of the problem, which is the prerequisite for the activation of cognitive schemata and the choice of the appropriate arithmetic operation. The two groups showed more similarities than differences. Results are discussed in terms of the methodological choices for their instructional support.


Article visualizations:

Hit counter



nonverbal learning difficulties, Asperger syndrome, mathematical word problem solving

Full Text:



Agaliotis, I. (2011). Teaching Mathematics in Special Education and Training: Nature and educational implication of the mathematical difficulties. Greece: Grigoris Publications.

Agaliotis, I. (2016). Historical and contemporary perspectives of Learning Disabilities in Greece. Learning Disabilities: A Contemporary Journal, 14(1), 63-70.

American Psychiatric Association (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5th Edition (DSM-V). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association.

Asperger, H. (1944/1991) ‘Autistic Psychopathy in Childhood’, Translated and annotated by U. Frith (ed.) Autism and Asperger Syndrome, pp. 37–92.New York: Cambridge University Press, 1991.

Attwood, T. (2007). The complete guide to Asperger’s syndrome. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Bae, Y.S. (2013). Word Problem Solving of Students with Autistic Spectrum Disorders and Students with Typical Development (Doctoral Dissertation). Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 45(7), 2200-2208. doi: 10.1007/s10803-015-2387-8

Barbas, G., Vermeulen, F., Kioseoglou, G., & Menexes, G. (2008). Psychometric-Differential Assessment of Children and Adolescents with Learning Disabilities. Thessaloniki: EPEAEK.

Burger, N.R. (2004). A Special Kind of Brain: Living with Nonverbal Learning Disability. London, UK: Jessica Kingsley.

Corwin, J., & Bylsma, F.W. (1993). Psychological examination of traumatic encephalopathy. Clinical Neuropsychologist, 7, 3-21. doi:

Durand, M. (2005). Is there a fine motor skill deficit in nonverbal learning disabilities? Educational and Child Psychology, 22, 90–99. Retrieved from

Fine, J.G., Musielak, K.A., & Semrud-Clikeman, M. (2014). Smaller splenium in children with nonverbal learning disability compared to controls, high-functioning autism and ADHD. Child Neuropsychology, 20(6), 641-661, Doi: 10.1080/09297049.2013.854763

Forrest, B.J. (2004). The utility of math difficulties, internalized psychopathology, and visual-spatial deficits to identify children with nonverbal disability syndrome: Evidence for a visualspatial disability. Child Neuropsychology, 10, 129-146. doi:

Galway, T.M., & Metsala, J.L. (2011). Social cognition and its relation to psychosocial adjustment in children with nonverbal learning disabilities. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 44(1), 33-49. doi:

Garralda, M.E., Yates, P., & Higginson, I. (2000). Child and adolescent mental health service use. HoNOSCA as an outcome measure. The British Journal of psychiatry: the journal of mental science, 177, 52-58. doi: 10.1192/bjp.177.1.52

Georgas, D.D., Paraskevopoulos, I.N., Bezevegis I.G. & Giannitsas, N.D. (1997). Elliniko WISC-III: Wechsler Klimakes Noimosinis ja Pedja (Greek WISC-III: Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children). Athens: Ellinika Grammata.

Gillberg, C., &.Coleman, M. (1993). The Biology of Autistic Syndromes. USA: Mac Keith Press.

Goodman, R. (1997) The Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire: A Research Note. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 38(5), 581-586. doi:10.1111/j.1469-7610.1997.tb01545.x

Goodman, R., Ford, T., Simmons, H., Gatward, R., & Meltzer, H. (2000). Using the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) to screen for child psychiatric disorders in a community sample. The British Journal of Psychiatry: the journal of mental science, 177(6), 534-539. doi: 10.1192/bjp.177.6.534

Greenham, S.L., Stelmack, R.M., & Harry van der Vlugt (2003). Learning Disability Subtypes and the Role of Attention during the Naming of Pictures and Words: An Event-Related Potential Analysis. Developmental Neuropsychology, 23(3). doi:

Hagberg, B., Billstedt, E., Nyden, A., & Gillberg, C. (2014). Asperger syndrome and non-verbal learning difficulties in adult males: self- and parent- reported autism, attention, and executive problems. European Child and adolescent psychiatry, 24 (8), 969-977. doi: 10.1007/s00787-014-0646-4

Harnadek, M.C.S., & Rourke, B. (1994). Principal Identifying Features of the Syndrome of Nonverbal Learning Disabilities in Children. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 27(3), 144-154. doi:

Kaland, N., Smith, L., & Mortensen, E.L. (2008). Brief report: cognitive flexibility and focused attention in children and adolescents with Asperger syndrome or high-functioning autism as measured on the computerized version of the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 38(6), 1161-5. doi: 10.1007/s10803-007-0474-1

Kamio, Y., & Toichi, M. (2007). Memory Illusion in High-Functioning Autism and Asperger's Disorder. Journal of Autism & Developmental Disorders, 37(5), 867-876. doi:

Kegel, N.E. (2010). Executive Functioning in Asperger’s Disorder and Nonverbal Learning Disabilities: A Comparison of Developmental And Behavioral Characteristics. Retrieved from

Klin, A., Volkmar, F. R., Sparrow, S. S., Cicchetti, D. V. & Rourke, B. P. (1995). Validity and Neuropsychological Characterization of Asperger Syndrome: Convergence with Nonverbal Learning Disabilities Syndrome. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 36(7), 1127–1140. doi:10.1111/j.1469-7610.1995.tb01361.x

Klove, H. (1963). Clinical neuropsychology. In F. M. Forster (Ed.), The Medical Clinics of North America (pp. 1647–1658). New York: WB Saunders.

Lezak, D.M. (1995). Neuropsychological Assessment. Oxford University Press: New York.

Mammarella, I. C., & Cornoldi, C. (2014). An analysis of the criteria used to diagnose children with Nonverbal Learning Disability (NLD). Child Neuropsychology: A Journal on Normal and Abnormal Development in Childhood and Adolescence, 20(3), 255-280. doi: 10.1080/09297049.2013.796920.

Mayes, S.D., & Calhoun, S.L. (2003). Analysis of WISC-III, Stanford Binet: IV, and Academic Achievement Test Scores in Children with Autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 33(3), 329-341. doi:10.1023/A:1024462719081

Minshew, N.J., Goldstein, G., Taylor, H.G., & Siegel, D.J. (1994). Academic achievement in high functioning autistic individuals. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology, 16(2), 261-270. doi:

Mitchell, S.A. (2006). Asperger’s Syndrome & Nonverbal Learning Disabilities. Paper presented at the 15th National Conference of the Learning Disabilities Association of Canada. Saskatoon, Canada

Osterrieth, P.A. (1944). Le test de copie d’une figure complex: Contribution à l’étude de la perception et de la memoir/ Test of copying a complex figure; contribution to the study of perception and memory. Archives de Psychologie, 30, 286–356. Retrieved from

Padeliadu, S., & Antoniou, F. (2007). Test of Reading Achievement (ToRA). Athens: Greek Ministry of Education (in Greek).

Papaioannou, S., Mouzaki, A., Sideridis, G., & Simos, P. (2011). A math screening instrument for elementary school students. Proceedings of the II Special Education Conference, Athens 2010.

Pennington, B. F. (2009). Diagnosing learning disorders: A neuropsychological framework (2nd ed.). New York: Guilford.

Pennington, B. F. (2009). Nonverbal learning disability. In B. F. Pennington (Ed.), Diagnosing learning disorders: A neuropsychological perspective, second edition (242-248). New York: Guilford Press.

Roman, M. (1998). The syndrome of nonverbal learning disabilities: Clinical description and applied aspects. Current Issues in Education (On line), 1(7). Available: 1/number7/

Rourke, B. P. (1995). Syndrome of nonverbal learning disabilities: Neurodevelopmental manifestations. New York: Guilford Press.

Sansoti, F.J., Powell-Smith, K.A., & Cowan, R.J. (2010). High-Functioning Autism/Asperger Syndrome in Schools: Assessment and Intervention. New York: Guilford Press.

Sattler J. M. (2001). Assessment of children: Cognitive applications (4th ed.). San Diego: J.M. Sattler.

Semrud-Clikeman, M., Fine, J.G. & Bledsoe, J. (2014). Comparison among children with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Nonverbal Learning Disorder and typically developing children on measures of executive functioning. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 44(2), 331-342. doi:10.1007/s10803-013-1871-2

Semrud-Clikeman M, Walkowiak J, Wilkinson A, Butcher B. (2010). Executive functioning in children with Asperger syndrome, ADHD-combined type, ADHD-predominately inattentive type, and controls. Journal of Autism & Developmental Disorders, 40(8), 1017–1027.

Semrud-Clikeman, M., Walkowiak, J., Wilkinson, A., & Christopher, G. (2010). Neuropsychological Differences among Children with Asperger Syndrome, Nonverbal Learning Disabilities, Attention Deficit Disorder, and Controls. Developmental Neuropsychology, 3, 582-600. doi: 10.1080/87565641.2010.494747

Seung, H.K. (2007). Linguistic Characteristics of Individuals with high functioning autism and Asperger syndrome. Clinical Linguistics and Phonetics, 21(4), 247-259. doi:

Spreen, O. (2011). Nonverbal Learning Disabilities: A critical Review. Child Neuropsychology, 17(5), 418-443. doi:

Stogiannidou, A., Bibou, A., Papageorgiou, V., Giannopoulou, I., & Christodoulou, N. (2014). Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire-Greek version. Retrieved from

Telzrow, C.F., & Bonar, A.M. (2002). Responding to students with Nonverbal Learning Disabilities. Teaching Exceptional Children, 34(6), 8-13.doi:

Thompson, S. (1996). Nonverbal Learning Disorders. Available:

Venneri, A., Cornoldi, C., & Garuti, M. (2003). Arithmetic Difficulties in Children with Visuospatial Learning Disability (VLD). Child Neuropsychology: A journal on normal and abnormal development in childhood and adolescent, 9, 175-183. doi:

Vlachos, F.M., & Karapetsas, A.B. (2003). Visual memory deficit in children with dysgraphia. Perceptual & Motor skills, 97, 1281-1288. Retrieved from

Whitby, P.J.S., Mancil, G.R. (2009). Academic Achievement Profiles of Children with High Functioning Autism and Asperger Syndrome: A Review of the Literature. Education and Training in Developmental Disabilities, 44 (4), 551-560. Retrieved from

Williamson, P., Carnahan, C.R., & Jacobs, J.A. (2012). Reading Comprehension Profiles of High-Functioning Students on the Autism Spectrum: A Grounded Theory. Exceptional Children, 78(4), 449-469.doi:


Copyright © 2015 - 2023. European Journal of Special Education Research (ISSN 2501 - 2428) is a registered trademark of Open Access Publishing GroupAll rights reserved.

This journal is a serial publication uniquely identified by an International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) serial number certificate issued by Romanian National Library (Biblioteca Nationala a Romaniei). All the research works are uniquely identified by a CrossRef DOI digital object identifier supplied by indexing and repository platforms.

All the research works published on this journal are meeting the Open Access Publishing requirements and can be freely accessed, shared, modified, distributed and used in educational, commercial and non-commercial purposes under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).