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What can you tell me about NVLD, and what can a parent do?

What can you tell me about NVLD, and what can a parent do?


Non-verbal Learning Disability (NVLD or NLD) is very like Asperger Syndrome (AS). AS and NVLD are generally thought to describe pretty much the same kind of disorder, but to differ in severity—with AS describing more severe symptoms.

Signs of NVLD include:

· Great vocabulary and verbal expression
· Excellent memory skills
· Attention to detail, but misses the big picture
· Trouble understanding reading
· Difficulty with math, especially word problems
· Poor abstract reasoning
· Physically awkward; poor coordination
· Messy and laborious handwriting
· Concrete thinking; taking things very literally
· Trouble with nonverbal communication, like body language, facial expression and tone of voice
· Poor social skills; difficulty making and keeping friends
· Fear of new situations
· Trouble adjusting to changes
· May be very naïve and lack common sense
· Anxiety, depression, low self-esteem
· May withdraw, becoming agoraphobic (abnormal fear of open spaces)

Here are some parenting tips for kids with NLD?

· Keep the environment predictable and familiar.
· Provide structure and routine.
· Prepare your child for changes, giving logical explanations.
· Pay attention to sensory input from the environment, like noise, temperature, smells, many people around, etc.
· Help your child learn coping skills for dealing with anxiety and sensory difficulties.
· Be logical, organized, clear, concise and concrete. Avoid jargon, double meanings, sarcasm, nicknames, and teasing.
· State your expectations clearly.
· Be very specific about cause and effect relationships.
· Work with your child’s school to modify homework assignments, testing (time and content), grading, art and physical education.
· Have your child use the computer at school and at home for schoolwork.
· Help your child learn organizational and time management skills.
· Make use of your child’s verbal skills to help with social interactions and non-verbal experiences. For example, giving a verbal explanation of visual material.
· Teach your child about non-verbal communication (facial expressions, gestures, etc.). Help them learn how to tell from others’ reactions whether they are communicating well.
· Learn about social competence and how to teach it.
· Help your child out in group activities.
· Get your child into the therapies they need, such as: occupational and physical therapy, psychological, or speech and language (to address social issues).
· Steer your child toward a playmate they have something in common with and set up a play date. This is a way to get some social skills experience in a small, controlled, less-threatening way.
· See if you can find a small-group social skills training program in your school system, medical system, or community. This kind of program will probably not be available in smaller communities.
· Encourage your child to develop interests that will build their self-esteem and help them relate to other kids. For example, if your child is interested in Pokémon, pursuing this interest may open social doors for them with schoolmates.
· Talk to your child in private after you have gone with them to a group activity. You can discuss with them how they could improve the way they interact with other kids. For example, you might point out that other kids don't feel comfortable when your child stands so close to them. Help them practice the social skills you explain to them through role-playing.
· Bullying is unacceptable. Your child's school must make every effort to prevent it. If talking to your child's teachers and principal does not put an end to the victimization, ask your child's doctor to write a letter to the school, and pursue the issue up to higher channels in the school district if necessary.
· These kids need as few handicaps as possible, so make sure your child is getting the counseling, therapies, and/or medication they need to treat any other problems or medical conditions they might have.
· Reassure your child that you value them for who they are. It's a little tricky to help your child improve social skills, and at the same time nurture their confidence to hold on to their unique individuality.

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