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Pragmatics: Social Communication

What is Pragmatics (Social Communication)?

Social communication or pragmatics refers to the way in which children

use language within social situations. Social language includes

three different components:

  1. The ability to use language for different purposes;

  2. The ability to adapt language to meet the needs of the

 listener or situation;

  3. Following the often “unspoken” rules of conversation.


How can I tell if my child has problems with Pragmatic skills?

  • Difficulty making friends

  • Difficulty staying on topic during conversation

  • Inappropriately gaining attention of others (e.g. interrupting)

  • Standing too close to a person; lack of personal space

  • Conversations are disorganized

  • Inappropriate eye contact during conversations

  • Not listening during a conversation

  • Dominating the conversation

  • Not knowing how to ask for clarification

  • Inability to interpret the tone of voice of others

  • Limited use of language (e.g. only making statements)

  • Difficulty in "perspective-taking"

Why should I seek therapy if I notice difficulties with social communication (pragmatics)?


Therapeutic intervention can help a child:

  • Learn how to engage appropriately with others during play, conversation and personal interactions.

  • Learn how to make friends 

  • Learn how to respond appropriately during interactions with both familiar and unfamiliar people;

  • Be aware of the social norms of social conduct and social interaction

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