Pragmatics

What is it?
Pragmatic language refers to how a child uses his or her communication skills to interact with others.

What are the symptoms?
Symptoms include difficulties with social interaction skills, such as the following:

  • Nonverbal Language, Including Facial Expression, Eye Gaze and Gestures
  • Topic Maintenance
  • Initiation of Speech
  • Requesting
  • Relating Experiences
  • Answering and Asking Questions
  • Turn Taking
  • Greetings

How is it treated?
Pragmatic therapy, by a speech pathologist, is an approach to language intervention. For children with language disorders of all ages, manipulation of the environment, especially in play situations, is important to a successful treatment. A variety of activities will be used to reinforce interactive language skills. It is in manipulating the environment that “the clinician can encourage the learning of effective communicative strategies" (Friel-Patti & Lougeay-Mottinger, 1985). In addition to concentrating on play as a therapy context, capitalizing on scripts and routines in both the home and classroom encourages generalization. When a clinician incorporates naturally occurring scripts into language therapy, sensitivity is shown to each child’s preferences, she shows sensitivity to the individual client, his preferences, home-life, culture and ethnicity. With a speech pathologist’s direction, parents play a critical role in the pragmatic language intervention program.

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