Chris Rock is opening up about a nonverbal learning disorder (NVLD) that he was diagnosed with at 55 years old.
PsychologyToday says that, “Typically, though, in spite of a large vocabulary and strong language, memory, and verbal skills, a child with NVLD will have difficulty with reading comprehension and more advanced math problems that require spatial visualization or pattern recognition.”
“By the way, all of those things are really great for writing jokes — they’re just not great for one-on-one relationships,” Rock said, as he described his disorder. “I’d always just chalked it up to being famous. Any time someone would respond to me in a negative way, I’d think, ‘Whatever, they’re responding to something that has to do with who they think I am.’ Now, I’m realizing it was me. A lot of it was me.”
Rock first suspected his disability, when a friend suggested that he may be exhibiting signs of Asperger’s. After going through nine hours of testing, culminating in his diagnosis. “Being diagnosed with it has put me in a position [where] I have doctors, I got certain medicines and stuff that help me deal with it. Everything is easier once you’re diagnosed.”
NVLD is similar to both Asperger’s and ADHD—all three concern impulse control and focus. On top of that, it can be harder to understand social and physical cues, which are essential to forming healthy interpersonal relationships.
After the “slap heard ‘round the world”, many fans and sympathizers went to Twitter to defend Rock for the joke that prompted his assault on live television.