Language-based learning disabilities can affect more than a child’s academic performance. Difficulties with processing and expressing language come into play in the social arena as well, impacting social interactions in a variety of ways.
“Great practice today, fellas!" says the coach. "Our practice on Saturday will look different from today, so be ready. I’ll see you at 9:00!” Corey is thrilled to be on the junior high baseball team. He’s an excellent athlete – always punctual, cooperative and a team player.
Corey understands the dynamics of the game, but not the jokes and sarcasm buzzing around the field. Corey needs clarity, so he asks his teammate, “Did coach mean 9:00 in the morning?” His teammate answers with sarcasm. “No, 9:00 at night, under the lights!”
Corey tells his dad about the time change for practice. His dad is surprised to hear this, because practice has always been at 9:00 in the morning. “Corey, are you sure about this?” he asks. “Well, yes,” says Corey. “I did hear coach say practice was going to be different this week.”
So Corey arrives to practice at 9:00 in the evening, under the lights and twelve hours late. He is benched for the Sunday game because he missed practice. Corey is confused, and his teammates are snickering.
A language-based learning disability can make it hard for a child to understand jokes and sarcasm, but parents can help. Tell jokes while riding in the car or sitting at the dinner table, and give your child a chance to respond. Discuss her response, and explain where any misunderstanding may have arisen. Have a discussion about scenarios in which people may use sarcasm, and how to recognize it. Discuss possible responses the child may use.
Upcoming blog posts will discuss other ways a language-based learning disability can affect a child’s social life, and ways parents can help.
Blogger Sandi Staud shares her expertise on diagnosis and intervention for learning disability in early childhood. If you have questions, please contact DIrector of Learning Programs Carmen Mendoza at .
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