How to Help a Child with a Nonverbal Learning Disability

If your child has a nonverbal learning disability, you might be looking for ways to help him or her at home. While verbal disabilities are often somewhat apparent to spot and get treatment for, nonverbal disabilities can be a bit tricky. Read on for information on how you can assist your child.

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Teaching Kids with Nonverbal Learning Disabilities

Getting Help for Your Child

Nonverbal learning disabilities sometimes go undiagnosed and are often classified incorrectly as behavior problems by teachers and other education professionals. If you suspect your child has a nonverbal learning disability, you may want to take him or her to a pediatrician or other qualified professional, like a child psychologist or occupational therapist. Nonverbal learning disabilities can be treated with therapies that teach children the skills they are lacking; these interventions are most successful when they're started early.

Signs of Nonverbal Learning Disabilities

Children with a nonverbal learning disability may have difficulty adapting to new or unexpected circumstances. They also may have trouble organizing their visual-spatial field and may be unable to correctly interpret nonverbal signals like facial expressions. Many children with nonverbal learning disabilities compensate by having highly developed verbal abilities. For example, they may talk like an adult, even as toddlers.

Techniques for Helping Your Child

The techniques that you'll implement depend largely on the nature and severity of his or her disability. A common problem that kids with nonverbal disabilities have is the inability to separate real-world functions, resulting in a lack of concentration. What this means is that boundaries need to be created between areas in your household so that your child will have a clear idea of what to do in that area. If your child's workspace is cluttered with non-work related items and the television is on in another room, he or she may not be able to focus. Create a dedicated workspace for your child with a clear visual barrier.

If your child has trouble reading, but can speak without a problem, it can help to label items in your house. First, focus on your child's work area. Label items that your child uses every day and have your child read the label when he or she reaches for them. For example, if your child reaches for the stapler, have him or her look at the letters on the label and sound them out before using the stapler.

Resources for Kids with Disabilities

There are a multitude of resources in place that can help your child. Although you'll be helping at home, it may become necessary to find a child psychologist, special education teacher or other learning professional who's qualified to help your child overcome his or her disability. Ask your child's teachers about your options and also look online to learn more about resources in your area.

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