Social or Pragmatic Skills

Social pragmatic language is the language we use when we are in another person’s presence, even if we do not directly interact with them. Social pragmatic language includes verbal and nonverbal communication. Many of these skills come naturally to some people, but not everyone excels with understanding social pragmatic language.

 A diagnosis of Social Communication Disorder is fairly new because it just recently entered the DSM-V in 2013. Before this point, it was difficult to diagnose social communication disorders in children and adults, and for a lot of people, social communication disorder can be linked with autism. If your child struggles with social communication, they may need therapy to better develop the skills. Here are four ways therapy can improve social pragmatic skills.

How does Therapy Help Your Child’s Social/Pragmatic Skills

1. It teaches the skills and gives the child an opportunity to practice them.

The major benefit of therapy for social pragmatic skills is that it provides the child with an environment to practice these skills with peers in small groups. Connect Teletherapy offers online group therapy sessions with only two students so that both children can work on their skills.

2. It targets all levels of social skills.

Social language is complex, and when it comes to communicating and understanding social cues, there are many factors to consider at once. These factors can be the environment, nature of the relationship between individuals, length of time since the individuals last saw each other, and the current behavior of the other individual. Social communication addresses all of these different factors and assists the child with building well-rounded social awareness.

3. It offers safe opportunities to role-play through interaction.

Building on these social skills takes role-play and consistent practice with peers, strangers, and people of different age groups. Therapy provides a variety of opportunities to practice and assess different social interactions.

4. It helps children think about others and recognize intent.

Finally and most importantly, therapy can help children think about others, develop compassion, and acknowledge intent with certain interactions. For some people who have social communication disorder, it can be difficult to assess aspects of verbal communication that are not explicitly stated, for example, indirect use of language, metaphors, and humor. Therapy equips the child with coping mechanisms, so they can better decipher these more indirect social cues.

Social communication disorder has only recently been entered into the DSM-V. Before this point, symptoms of this disorder were inaccurately diagnosed, and people with this disorder were often classified as having a general pervasive developmental disorder or a general communication disorder.

Sometimes this disorder overlaps with autism spectrum disorder because both conditions present challenges in verbal and nonverbal communication. However, if someone demonstrates autism spectrum symptoms and social communication disorder symptoms, they will be diagnosed with autism rather than social communication disorder. Despite a formal diagnosis, if you find your child struggling to interact with others, they may be delayed in their social pragmatic skills. The best method to combat this is by combining an intellectual understanding of social skills with many opportunities to practice them in a safe and friendly environment.