NLD First Person: Social Overwhelm

A critical and heartening lesson: NLD makes even the most everyday social situations tricky. Even with all my strengths and the confidence I’ve gained since being diagnosed, I go into every social scene knowing I will make mistakes. I’ll be clumsy, I’ll struggle to string together my spoken thoughts, and my eyes will vacillate between wildly-intense direct contact and almost none. I’ll hold my hands together, and sometimes twist my arms into a constricted position. I’ll be very still, and I’ll look more apprehensive than I feel. I will walk around slowly, might follow people going in the same direction, to avoid tripping over something. I may put off going for groceries as long as possible because I know it will be a little stressful, plus I don’t drive.

Even in the comparative ease of home, NLD crops up. Parents and siblings must be sensitive to NLD family members. A sibling who takes amusement in catching his/her sibling off-guard must be disciplined. It’s not funny in more ways than one when you already have NLD, and just getting through a day, sans sibling pranks, is tough enough. Parents must do everything possible to make NLD less of a problem than it already is. That’s another entry, but I’ll just list a few suggestions in case I don’t get back to blogging right away:

-Use lists to get things done

-If no allergies and it’s practical, get a dog and have kid with NLD bond with it first

-Warn of possible schedule changes

-Plan things week by week

-Plan meals and outfits together (eventually kids will do it themselves)

-Provide help with social issues and encourage practice

-Express the love you have for your children regularly; this helps kids learn to establish healthy relationships

-Teach safety and boundaries

-Surround your child with positive people who have good boundaries

-Life is too short for negative perspectives; stay away from unhealthy influences

More ideas later.

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