Social language, also called pragmatic language, refers to the use of language in social situations. Social language skills include the ability to use language for different purposes, such as to greet others, make requests, ask questions, and make comments. Social language also includes the ability to understand the rules of conversation, such as taking turns, introducing a topic, and staying on topic. Using non-verbal communication appropriately, including eye contact, body position, and facial expression, during social interactions is another critical aspect of social language. All of these important social language skills are built upon an awareness of the listener’s perspective during social exchanges. Social language deficits frequently co-occur with other speech and/or language disorders. Often, children who are challenged by speech and/or language disorders require additional support and guidance to initiate and maintain a social interaction and to communicate effectively and confidently with peers.
Because children encounter a variety of social situations in everyday life, social language deficits have a significant impact on a child. Forming friendships, participating in play dates, and being an accepted member of a classroom can all become difficult in the face of a social language disorder.
We are committed to helping children improve their social language skills at Children’s Speech and Language Services. For our young children with social language deficits, opportunities to socialize with similar-aged peers in therapy rooms or in our sensory-motor room are provided whenever possible. During a ten to fifteen minute social time, therapists help children with greetings, non-verbal communication, simple conversational skills, cooperative play and turn-taking. Similarly, for older preschoolers and school-aged children, we address social language skills such as conversational skills, non-verbal communication, perspective taking, turn-taking and flexibility during conversations and cooperative games. We also offer social skills groups for preschoolers and school-aged children.
A child with a social language deficit may:
By age twelve months, your child should:
By age twenty-four to thirty six months, your child should:
By age thirty-six to forty-eight months, your child should:
American Speech-Hearing-Language Association website (2012). Social Language Use (Pragmatics). http://www.asha.org/public/speech/development/Pragmatics/
Greenspan, S. I., & Lewis, D. (2002). The Affect-Based Language Curriculum (ABLC): An Intensive Program for Families, Therapists and Teachers. Bethesda, MD: Interdisciplinary Council on Developmental and Learning Disorders.
Wolfberg, P. (2003). Peer Play and the Autism Spectrum: The Art of Guiding Children’s Socialization and Imagination. Shawnee Mission, KS: Autism Asperger Publishing Co.
If you have questions or concerns, please contact us at our Falls Church office.