Turner Syndrome and Nonverbal Learning Differences
Most girls with Turner Syndrome have a very specific neurocognitive phenotype. Scientists are still trying to understand it. No two people are the same, but there are a few characteristics that seem to be present in most of us girls with Turner Syndrome. It is usually broadly categorized as a Nonverbal Learning Disorder.
Despite overall normal and average IQs, most girls with TS have some difficulty in the following areas…
Organization and Planning
Some areas girls with Turner Syndrome seem to be above average in are…
There is still much to learn about the Turner Syndrome girl’s brain and what makes it unique. It is thought to be linked to part of the missing X chromosome and originate from the right hemisphere of the brain. Many studies are still being conducted about this.
What does this mean for you as a girl or woman with Turner Syndrome?
You may have difficulties in areas of life such as…
Social skills and relationships
Some things you will probably be better than most at are…
Every girl is different. For example, I am a really fast reader. However, some girls will have a little trouble with reading. The point is that no two people are the same, even if they have the same condition!
So what can you do to deal with the learning differences that we Turner Syndrome patients have? Well, here’s what helps me:
Get Tutoring in math
Practice your social skills, particularly eye contact
Write! It is probably something you are very good at. Personally I find it very therapeutic.
Make sure it is really safe for you to drive. There is absolutely no shame in not being able to!
GPS is a wonderful thing, and can help you not get lost
Above all, an understanding family will be a great help to a girl with Turner Syndrome and Nonverbal Learning Disorder. Children with this may have a little more trouble making friends, keeping their things organized, get lost often, and have a short attention span or be forgetful. Especially in a very intelligent child, this can be confusing and frustrating to a parent, who may mistake this as misbehavior or laziness. A child with NLD simply has a different learning style. I got overwhelmed very easily as a child and still have anxiety problems that I struggle with. However, life can be successfully navigated with a Nonverbal Learning Disorder. Everyone has a different learning style. It can be a good thing! A little patience and determination can go a long way.
Whatever learning style you have, remember to view it as an advantage rather than a hindrance! 🙂
This was a super fast overview. If you want a more in depth discussion of Turner Syndrome and Nonverbal Learning Disorder please check out the chapter about it in section 3 of my book As a Butterfly: Turner Syndrome Survival Guide.
Thanks so much for reading!
Turner Syndrome and Body Image
Poor body image is a common problem for girls around the world, particularly teens. Most girls with Turner Syndrome struggle with poor body image. Why is poor body image so much of a struggle for girls with Turner Syndrome, and what can be done about it?
Here are some common causes of poor body image and practical steps you can take to improve yours!
Reason 1. Looking Different
Poor body image is common in girls with Turner Syndrome partly because they might look different than most of their peers. For me this started in middle school, when other girls were starting to mature and reach puberty while I was not.
What You Can Do: Take care of your body inside and out, and appreciate what you DO have. Being as healthy and happy as you can be will make you much more attractive and enjoyable to be around. Healthy is beautiful. Confidence is also very attractive. Different is not a bad thing!
Remember to focus on your inner beauty, and not worry too much about what other people think.
Exercise: Pick one thing about your appearance that you like. (Ex. I like my eyes and eyelashes) Don’t wait until you catch yourself thinking negatively about your body…go ahead and think about what you DO like! Focus on what you have, not what you think you don’t.
Exercise: Take control of your health. Pick one thing you can do right now to improve your health and DO IT! The healthier you are, the better you will look and feel.
Reason 2. Bad examples and associates
For many girls, including those with Turner Syndrome, poor body image can be worsened by bad examples and associates who have poor body image themselves. For example, if you have a parent or a friend who always complains about their appearance or puts you down, it is going to affect you.
What You Can Do: Make friends that take good care of themselves and who do not complain about their appearance. Befriend people you want to be like!
Exercise: Next time a family member or acquaintance says something negative about their body or the way they look, change the subject to something positive. 🙂
Reason 3. General Low Self Esteem
Poor self esteem is at the root of so many negative behaviors and feelings. Many people struggle with this, but there is much you can do!
What You Can Do: Take responsibility for yourself and chose to think happy and positive things, both of yourself and other people. You will be amazed at how much better you will feel about yourself and others! It is much easier said than done, but is definitely a habit worth making.
Exercise: Give someone a compliment! Looking for the good in others will help you to do the same for yourself and maintain a general positive attitude.
If your daughter was recently diagnosed with Turner Syndrome, you may be confused with all the information you’ve probably been bombarded with, and worrying “What is going to happen to my daughter? What do I do?”
I know it can be devastating to learn, but there are things you can do NOW to ensure that your daughter still grows up to be healthy and happy. As a girl with Turner syndrome myself, I can assure you of this and would like to share with you some things I learned from personal experience so you don’t have to learn the hard way like my parents and I did.
Here you can read about Characteristics of Turner Syndrome to get an overview.
Now, here are some things that your daughter may be at risk for and experience as she grows up:
- Amenorrhea (no period)
- Celiac Disease or mild Gluten intolerance
- Hearing Problems
- Heart defects
- High Blood Pressure
- Horseshoe Kidney
- Learning Disabilities (nonverbal)
- Ovarian Dysgerminoma (a rare type of ovarian cancer)
Obviously every girl with Turner syndrome is completely unique and will have different needs. She will not experience all of these. Make sure your doctor is extremely knowledgeable about Turner syndrome and stay up to date yourself.
Here are some specialists you should take your daughter to see:
- Oncologist (probably one who specializes in gynecology)
Here is what I do personally to stay healthy, now that my brush with cancer is behind me:
- Gluten free vegetarian diet
- Hormone Replacement
- Regular exercise
I will go into more detail in my upcoming book “As a Butterfly: Turner Syndrome Survival Guide”, which will be available within the upcoming week. Please purchase and read this, as the above list is only an overview and I share more of my personal experiences. If you have more specific questions please feel free to contact me.
Thanks so much! 🙂