Pragmatic/Social Communication Disorder

Pragmatics refers to the rules that govern social language. An individual may say words clearly and use long, complex sentences with correct grammar, but still have a communication problem if they have not mastered the rules for social language.

Pragmatics includes:

  • Using language for different purposes:
    • greeting (e.g., hello, goodbye)
    • informing (e.g., I’m going to get a cookie)
    • demanding (e.g., Give me a cookie)
    • promising (e.g., I’m going to get you a cookie)
    • requesting (e.g., I would like a cookie, please)
  • Changing language according to the needs of a listener or situation:
    • talking differently to a baby than to an adult
    • giving background information to an unfamiliar listener
    • speaking differently in a classroom than on a playground
  • Following rules for conversations and storytelling:
    • taking turns in conversation
    • introducing topics of conversation
    • staying on topic
    • rephrasing when misunderstood
    • using verbal and nonverbal signals
    • understanding how close to stand to someone when speaking
    • understanding how to use facial expressions and eye contact

Source: American Speech-Language-Hearing Association