Social Skills & Pragmatics 

An individual may say words clearly and use long, complex sentences with correct grammar, but still have a communication problem - they may not have mastered the 'rules for social language' known as pragmatics. Pragmatic skills are important for building social relationships with other children, and involve three major communication skills:

 

Using language for different purposes

  • greeting (e.g., hello, goodbye)

  • informing (e.g. I'm going to get a biscuit)

  • demanding (e.g., Give me a biscuit)

  • promising (e.g., I'm going to get you a biscuit)

  • requesting (e.g., I would like a biscuit, please)

 

Changing or adapting language according to the needs of a listener or situation

  • talking differently to a baby than to an adult

  • talking louder where there is lots of noise

  • being aware of the listener’s knowledge and giving more information or less when needed

  • giving background information to an unfamiliar listener

  • speaking differently in a classroom than on a playground etc.

 

Following the 'unspoken' rules for conversations and storytelling

  • taking turns in conversation

  • introducing topics of conversation

  • staying on topic

  • rephrasing when misunderstood

  • using verbal and nonverbal language

  • standing an appropriate distance from the speaker

 

It is not unusual for children to have pragmatic problems in only a few situations. However, if problems in social language use occur often and seem inappropriate considering the child's age, a pragmatic disorder may exist.

 

Assessing your child for an Social Pragmatic Disorder

A diagnostic assessment for a Social Pragmatic Disorder may be recommended if there are concerns regarding your child's pragmatic language and/or social skills. In May 2013 a new fifth version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM)  was launched – the DSM-5 See diagnostic criteria for SPD

 

Treating your child's social pragmatic language difficulties

At Brain & Language Connections, we offer our unique About Face! Friendships social thinking and social skills training for children and adolescents.

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