One aspecct of Non Verbal Learning Disorder that many folks find challenging is a lack of social fluency. Fitting in can be very tricky.
For my son this is an area where he is continually growing so I thought that I would (with his permission) share some of our experiences.
When my son was little--long before he had a diagnosis--he would have reminded you of Lt. Commander Data from Star Trek: Next Gen. He spoke in a sort of clipped way, he did not use contractions, and the timing of his responses in conversation were delayed.
Over the years this dissipated. People that we camped with every year remarked at one point that it used to be when you greeted Tom he would take forever figuring out who you were and why you were talking to him before he could answer. "Now," our friend said, "when I say hi, he says hi--it's great!"
Neighborhood interactions could be a bit tricky between his hesitant style and his very literal thinking. Another 4 year old (or more likely, 6 year old) yelling "I'm going to KILL you," would send my son running home in terror.
He was about 4 when I explained that 'exaggerating' means saying something much bigger than you really mean to make things sound exciting. I would make a big show of saying "I told you a million times," or "That was the loudest noise in the WORLD!" and I would compare flying bugs to birds, or airplanes.
Once my son got the hang of it he LOVED it. He thought it was so funny.
And the next time the kid down the street yelled at my son that he was going to KILL hiim, my son turned to him and calmly said, "Exaggeration." Since the drama was gone the kids pretty much stopped pushing that button.
And I learned that I could explain social things to Tom and he could get it.
Not long after that I had the opportunity to mention to him that crying makes mean people meaner. He thought that was just awful (and so do I) but he saved what he could of his need to cry for the safety of home.
Another fun lesson was puns.
At dinner when I asked him if he wanted to put cheese on himself he would answer in horror, "No, on my spaghetti!"
Or if I asked if he wanted me to put his coat on he would tell me that it wouldn't fit me.
Which would have been hilarious, but he was serious.
So I pulled out the primer of punniness, Amelia Bedelia, and 'splained it to him... again, once he caught on, he couldn't get enough. He graduated to the Xanth "Trilogy" by Piers Anthony by the time he was 12 for the sheer joy of it. Frankly, I think much of his enjoyment is because his first thought is still so literal.
Next up: Joining groups.
Does It Mean Us?
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