What are pragmatics?
Pragmatics are the way a child uses language socially. Pragmatics are typically acquired through observation however, for some children pragmatic language skills are difficult to learn. Pragmatic skills include the following
  • Initiating/ maintaining and terminating a conversation
  • Greetings and farewells
  • Initiating¬†and maintaining eye contact
  • Understanding of body space and proximity
  • Using correct rate and tone while talking
  • Understanding non-verbal language(i.e- facial features, gestures, etc)
  • Rephrasing if misunderstood
  • Switching their language(i.e- talking different to a teacher than to a sibling)
  • Using stress to emphasize emotion( “I REALLY love cookies!)
  • Commenting and requesting
What other difficulties would be evident in a child with poor pragmatic skills?
  • Difficulty sustaining conversation
  • Preference of playing alone
  • Not a lot of friends
  • Difficulty with social skills such as saying “excuse me”, “please”, “thank you”
  • Difficulty understanding what is socially appropriate and what is socially inappropriate
  • Difficulty initiating or participating in the classroom
  • Difficulty with problem solving
  • Difficulty with inferencing
  • Difficulty with detecting and understanding emotions
What do you do in speech therapy if my child has difficulty with pragmatics?
Speech therapy would address the individualized pragmatic needs of the child. Initiating conversation and understanding when to ask questions or how to ask questions to sustain a conversation is a skill that is addressed. For some children, basic eye contact or turn taking skills are necessary to start. Every child is different therefore, if you have concerns, please schedule an appointment or contact me