Perception of Nonverbal Emotion Cues by Children with Nonverbal Learning Disabilities

  • Victoria L. Petti
  • Sylvia L. Voelker
  • Douglas L. Shore
  • Susan E. Hayman-Abello


The purpose of this study was to document deficits in the perception of nonverbal emotion cues that have been implicated as a cause of social maladjustment in children with nonverbal learning disabilities (NLD). Thirty-three children between the ages of 9 and 14 identified as having NLD, verbal learning disabilities (VLD), or as nonlearning disabled psychiatric controls were administered the Diagnostic Analysis of Nonverbal Accuracy and Personality Inventory for Children – Revised (PIC-R) to measure social perception and social adjustment, respectively. The NLD group was significantly less accurate than were the VLD and control groups in interpreting adult facial expressions and gestures, and significantly less accurate than was control group in interpreting subtle (i.e., low intensity) adult facial expressions. There was a nonsignificant trend toward more social skill deficits demonstrated on the PIC-R by the NLD group than the other study groups. Children with NLD were twice as likely as children with VLD to be diagnosed with an internalizing disorder. There were also consistent and compelling trends in the predicted direction with the NLD group showing the most impairment on measures of nonverbal perception.

nonverbal learning disability emotion perception 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Victoria L. Petti
    • 1
    • 2
  • Sylvia L. Voelker
    • 1
  • Douglas L. Shore
    • 1
  • Susan E. Hayman-Abello
    • 1
  1. 1.University of WindsorWindsorCanada
  2. 2.Hawthorn CenterNorthville

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