Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A Late Start

I'm not exactly sure where to start here... Plan A was to write a book for children and adolescents with social communication disorders. Too late for that now, since my son leaves for college in five days. Would he have read a book of "Instructions For Life?" Probably not. But the past fifteen years or so have consisted of an enormous team effort to give him exactly that -- primarily from his teachers and family. I am not at all sure how much he actually absorbed in those years; I suspect much more than I sometimes give him credit for. But there is still a lot to learn, so here I go...

My son was about 8 when he was diagnosed with Nonverbal Learning Disability ("NLD"). NLD is one of several social communication disorders that are on (or near) the autism spectrum. If you view autism as a tunnel, with profoundly autistic children and adults deep inside, those afflicted with NLD are very close to the edge, but not quite outside with the "neuro-typical" population.

People with NLD generally have difficulty with organizational skills, and can struggle in school with certain comprehension tasks, including written test and assignment directions. Verbal explanations can help. We were fortunate that our school district was well-equipped to give our son the support that he needs. He has been very successful in the classroom.

But this is to be mainly about pragmatic skills for Life, not the educational subset.

The neuro-psychologist who did the testing explained to my husband and me that our son would always be the child off by himself on the playground. I want to use this blog over the next several months, or years, to help him be as successful socially as he has been (so far) academically. I'd like to see him graduate from College, not only with a degree, but with a nucleus of friends with whom he'll be able to socialize, bond and form long-lasting life partners.

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