Social pragmatic language is also known as the way people use language to communicate for social purposes. Social pragmatic language is used in a wide range of environments so it can be difficult to explain the differences as it can vary from person to person.
This concept plays an important role in the overall success of a child or adult’s communication. Below are examples of when we use social pragmatic language and how to support it at home!
What are Pragmatic Language Skills?
Communication of personal thoughts, ideas and feelings is important for pragmatic skills. Children with difficulties in this area often misinterpret other people’s intentions, and therefore will have difficulty responding appropriately.
The ability to understand others is a fundamental skill that all children need to develop as they grow up. It enables them to interact successfully with their peers, teachers and parents. The development of pragmatic language skills can be seen from the age of two years when children begin to use simple sentences such as “I want” and “Give me”. By three years old, children start using more complex forms of communication including questions, requests, statements, apologies and explanations
Examples of times we use social pragmatic language:
- Greetings (e.g. hi, bye, how are you?)
- Sharing general or personal information
- Staying on-topic in conversation and topic shift with appropriate transitions.
- Conversation turn-taking with peers or adults
- Times when we use of sarcasm or idioms
- Gestures to communicate
How is Social (Pragmatic) Communication Disorder diagnosed?
Difficulty with both verbal and non-verbal social communication skills are what lead to the diagnosis of SCD.
These skills include:
- Using gestures to respond to others.
- Taking turns while playing.
- Talking about thoughts and feelings.
- Staying on topic
- Speech can be adjusted to fit different people or situations, such as talking to a young child differently than an adult.
Examples of how social pragmatic language can be supported in the home:
- Lead by example
- Teach appropriate topics to share with others
- Ask open-ended questions to encourage on-topic responses
- Provide reminders such as “was that on or off topic?”
- Ask your child how they feel and bring attention to their feelings. This can help with increasing empathy for others
What type of therapy is recommended for social communication (pragmatics) difficulties?
A Speech Therapist can help your child with their social communication.
Speech and Occupational Therapy can be used to address the functional areas of concern if there are more than just social communication.
The Speech-Language Pathologist will work with you, your family members or caregivers in order to develop a plan that is best suited for your child’s needs. The goal is to help them communicate effectively so they may participate fully in their daily activities.