NVLDifferent, by Thomas Cunnington

By August 23, 2016NVLD Bloggers

Just for a moment, imagine spending the first 18 years of your life unaware that Nonverbal Communication exists. While going to school, playing sports, and attending family events, you are unaware of all non-verbal communication. Imagine, you are eating dinner with your entire family on your birthday. Everything’s going smoothly, until you mention how funny this cat video you saw on the internet was. As you explain, you do not notice the disinterest in the faces of your friends and family.

Nobody has verbally stated that they did not think the video was funny. So you assume everyone is enjoying your video explanation, when really, they’re not. While communicating you are not making any eye contact, but instead you are looking around the room, because all of your focus is on explaining the cat video verbally. You pay little attention to your body language because you do not even realize it exists as a form of communication.

Thus, in the family setting, your relationships are not likely to be affected. Change this setting to a group of your peers, and you are the oddball who really loves cats. It was not until my senior year of high school when I realized that almost all communication is nonverbal. The moment I realized this, I broke down. As tears were streaming down my face, I finally understood why I was different, I had NVLD. As I began to do some research, I noticed that my poor golfing in Physical Education class (where I was made fun of) was due to my poor visual-spatial skills. I noticed why my love life was in shambles, as I was unaware that it was possible to tell if someone was uninterested based on their body language. I noticed why my friends stopped hanging out with me, and I noticed why I was not learning anything while copying down notes in class.

From then on, the next few years turned into a social experiment between watching what works socially, and what doesn’t. This really took an emotional toll on me, as I was fed up with feeling like I did not fit in. So I took the initiative to get one on one Non-Verbal Communication therapy, and I also began to practice Mindfulness Meditation. With the help of a wonderful speech pathologist, and practicing mindfulness meditation daily, my struggles with NVLD have essentially vanished into thin air. I am now able to recognize body language, and understand what people are communicating almost instantaneously. My focus has increased tremendously, as my visual spatial skills have fixed themselves. I have made a lot of friends, and my love life has greatly improved.

I am now a happy, fulfilled, 21 year old sophomore at Arizona State University. But most importantly; you, or your child can reach your potential just as I have, even if at the moment it seems impossible.

Thomas Cunnington

I live in Tempe, Arizona and I am currently a Sophomore at Arizona State University. I am studying to be a Film Major and I work at Respite Care for Arion Services. I love to go to concerts, ride my BMX bike, and hang out with friends! I am also big into my relationship with God, as I lead Junior Highers and go to a College Aged ministry at my church!

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