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NLD and Social Skills

Submitted by an LD OnLine user on

I have a nonverbal learning disorder. I’m currently 22 but I was diagnosed when I was really young (sometime before age 6, I believe). I also, unfortunately, never went to therapy or had pragmatic skills courses for it. I tried for a lot of my life to not acknowledge the disorder. Before I really knew what was going on with me I just went on with my life. Once it really started affecting me (major depression set in), I realized it’s not going anywhere.

I have a lot of issues with social interaction/skills/anything. I cannot function in social situations. I just don’t know how to. It is foreign to me. It causes a lot of social anxiety. I get caught up in the expectations and standards of others and put insurmountable pressure on myself to live up to them and make others happy. I have a hard time letting people down and an even harder time caring for myself because of it. I get so low and down on myself when I realize I’ve said something at the wrong moment or done something wrong. I get overly upset over a failure, no matter the size.

My younger brother doesn’t understand this. He tells me wanting to live up to other people’s expectations and fearing failure is part of life. I’ve tried to tell him it is just different for me/those with NLD. I know personally, it is a lot harder for me in terms of social interaction, as I had the trouble of changing schools almost every year until high school. This didn’t help as I hate change and had to deal with new people every year (I panicked a lot).

Does anyone else have the issues I’m dealing with? I want to know other people’s stories. I’ve only met (online) one other person with NLD. I’d really like to connect with others who have NLD. I guess I’d feel less alone in this. I feel so messed up in a way sometimes and knowing I’m not the only one is comforting.
[Modified by: Nadia on January 12, 2013 07:07 AM]

Submitted by bornrebel9 on Sat, 02/23/2013 - 7:16 PM


Hi, Nadia! I also have NLD and had social issues while in high school and college. I’ve been seeing a psychologist for the past five years who is working with me on my socialization issues which I think may be a good idea for you as well. Recently I also became involved with Special Olympics as an athlete. I find this to be a great place to meet others with disabilities and feel comfortable socializing because you’ll be with people who won’t judge you for any issues that you have. You could also try volunteering with an organization devoted to a cause you feel passionate about. This will introduce you to people as well. I’ve found therapy, my participation in Special Olympics, and working in retail for over four years has helped with my social skills. I hope this helps you! Believe me, I know what it feels like not knowing anyone with the same condition that you have and have found Facebook groups where you are able to discuss your issues with NLD with others who have similar issues. Try looking some up. You’ll meet some really great, kind helpful people there willing to share their experiences and advice with you. I belong to “Nonverbal Learning Disabilities” and “NLD Explained.”

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