What is a Pragmatic Language Disorder? Pragmatic Language Disorder

Pragmatics are the rules that govern the use of language in various social situations, i.e. the social skills of language (when, where, with whom, and how language is used). Pragmatics encompass the components of language: context and function. Context of language refers to the meaning in the message/situation and the listener-speaker relationship. Function refers to the purpose and goal of the language being conveyed. Social norms have expectations for proper pragmatic usage in language, such as topic maintenance, turn-taking in conversation, eye contact, and providing the listener with information. These rules may vary depending upon cultural norms.

What are some symptoms of a pragmatic language disorder?

Symptoms  of a pragmatic language disorder include: Difficulty with conversation exchanges, difficulty telling a story, difficulty responding to indirect requests (e.g. “Wouldn’t it be nice if I had a toy?” as opposed to “Get me a toy,” as a form of politeness), difficulty with topic initiation, difficulty with conversational repair strategies (e.g. asking “What did you say?” or “Can you explain?”), and demonstrating little variety in language use.

Why is it crucial that my child develop good language skills?

Pragmatic skills are important for social, educational, and career success. A pragmatic language disorder may harm social relationships and social acceptance by others.

How might I help treat my child’s pragmatic language disorder?

Treatment for a pragmatic language disorder involves teaching appropriate strategies for social awareness. Therapy can focus on using language for different purposes, changing language based on a given audience, and practicing conversation/storytelling.

Our approach at North Shore Pediatric Therapy:

North Shore Pediatric Therapy offers different programs based on the child’s pragmatic language disorder needs. Treatment involves helping the child acquire necessary, functional social skills. Social groups are formed to help the child receive guidance and practice with his/her peers.