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Question # 46 FONT>
There have been several reports in the media about children who have been the object of systematic bullying and other forms of abuse, primarily by their age-mates. As an apparent result, some of these abused youngsters have engaged in self-injurious behaviour (even suicide). Might NLD play a role in this?
In short: yes. My comments relate to no particular case that has appeared/been
described in the media. My point: Children, adolescents, and adults who exhibit
the syndrome of NLD are especially at risk for a number of potentially maladaptive
behaviours that encourage the ridicule of others. Among these (as spread in
Q&A #18 and
#22) are the following:
excessive gullibility and psychosocial clumsiness and awkwardness. Youngsters
with NLD want to be “friends” with
others, but are often rejected because of their “inappropriate” behaviours.
They tend to be seen as misfits and worthy of scorn. Trying to make friends
and encountering persistent rejection, they most often keep to themselves in
an attempt to reduce the pain of social ostracism. They are easy prey for
unscrupulous members of the “in-crowd.” As has been pointed out some time
ago (Fletcher, 1989; Rourke, Young, & Leenaars,1989) , from adolescence onward
they are particularly prone to depression and self-injurious behaviour. Many
of the bullied children described in the media of late exhibit characteristics
consistent with NLD. It is long-overdue for their plight to receive the
attention it merits.
Caveat. None of the above is meant to imply that ALL children bullied exhibit NLD. It is always well to remember the non-sequitur mentioned several times in these Q&As, viz.: Although all apples are fruit, this does not imply that all fruit are apples.
Fletcher, J. M. (1989). Nonverbal learning disabilities and suicide: Classification leads to prevention. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 22, 176 & 179.
Little, L. (2002). Middle-class mothers' perceptions of peer and sibling victimization among children with Asperger's syndrome and nonverbal learning disorders. Comprehensive Pediatric Nursing, 25, 43-57.
Rourke, B.P., Young, G.C., & Leenaars, A. (1989). A childhood learning disability that predisposes those afflicted to adolescent and adult depression and suicide risk. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 21, 169-175.
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