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Nonverbal learning disabilities

4 Ways Nonverbal Learning Disabilities Can Affect Your Child’s Social Life

By Erica Patino

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Kids with nonverbal learning disabilities (NVLD) don’t always understand facial expressions and body language. They also have trouble understanding changes in tone of voice. Here are some common social challenges caused by nonverbal learning disabilities.

25Found this helpful
4 Ways Nonverbal Learning Disabilities Can Affect Your Child’s Social Life

Kids with nonverbal learning disabilities (NVLD) don’t always understand things like facial expressions, body language and tone of voice. This can cause trouble in the social arena.Here’s what that can look like—along with tips on how to help.

1. Social Challenge
Your child doesn’t understand humor.
The NVLD link: Kids with nonverbal learning disabilities are very literal. They often don’t get jokes, sarcasm and plays on words (such as “Orange you glad I didn’t say banana?”).
How you can help: If someone tells a joke, take your child aside and explain it to him and why its meaning is different from the actual words.

2. Social Challenge
Your child doesn’t “hear” people’s tone of voice.
The NVLD link: Kids with nonverbal learning disabilities don’t always pick up on social cues, including tone of voice. They might not be able to tell that someone “sounds” tired
or annoyed.
How you can help: Be clear. If your child keeps talking to you while you’re busy cooking, you can say, “I need to concentrate, so let’s talk when I’m done.” Point out other people’s tone when he doesn’t catch it.

3. Social Challenge
Your child doesn’t notice body language.
The NVLD link: Kids with nonverbal learning disabilities don’t always understand communication that isn’t spoken.
How you can help: Instead of relying on body language or tone of voice, use words to describe what you’re trying to convey: “This is important, so please pay attention to what I’m saying.”

4. Social Challenge
Your child doesn’t factor in facial expressions.
The NVLD link: Kids with nonverbal learning disabilities can have diculty matching up the words someone says with the look on that person’s face. They rely solely on what’s being said.
How you can help: Your child won’t know you’re displeased just because your lips are pursed. Tell him clearly: “It upsets me when you go outdoors without telling me you’re leaving the house.”
Graphic of 4 Ways Nonverbal Learning Disabilities Can Affect Your Child's Social Life
Graphic of 4 Ways Nonverbal Learning Disabilities Can Affect Your Child's Social Life

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About the Author

Portrait of Erica Patino

Erica Patino

Erica Patino is an online writer and editor who specializes in health and wellness content.

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Reviewed by Rayma Griffin, M.Ed. Dec 10, 2013 Dec 10, 2013

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