Researchers suggest 70%-80% of the emotional meaning we gather in relationships is derived from nonverbal social cues. Fritz Perls, in Gestalt Therapy Verbatim, wrote “Verbal communication is usually a lie.” In other words, The talking part is over-rated and often times not the true message being communicated. Nonverbal cues convey the real meaning during a personal interaction. Making good eye contact, a firm body posture, raised eyebrows, a pleasant tone of voice and a reasonable amount of space between you and another person are examples of nonverbal social cues. These cues communicate significant information. A glare with low-perched eyebrows signals anger. Crossed arms and retreating stance conveys defensiveness. What if your child cannot successfully interpret these social cues?
- Model positive and socially effective nonverbal cues.
- Have your child practice the nonverbal social cues you are teaching; for example – good eye contact, a soft tone of voice, and keeping personal space.
- As children get older help them label and understand the problems they are experiencing.
- Provide your child informal remediation experiences that are supportive and positive and, then, encourage your child to use the new tools at school and with peers.
- Do not hesitate to seek formal professional help. Nonverbal Learning Disorder (NLD) is being diagnosed more and more often in children and teenagers. Early identification and intervention of NLD is important in helping children learn skills to compensate for their deficits.