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Social Communication Disorder

Social Communication Disorder

Social communication disorder refers to difficulty primarily with pragmatic language. Pragmatics is the area of linguistics that has to do with how meaning is created and interpreted in verbal and nonverbal interactions. Children who have difficulties with pragmatics have significant challenges understanding social situations and reacting appropriately. This condition will remain throughout the child’s life. It is not uncommon that Social Communication disorder is identified later in life, even in adulthood. Studies indicate that early intervention is the best way to help a child to adapt to the different challenges he or she will encounter in everyday life.

Children with a social communication disorder primarily have difficulty using language in social situations, such as greetings, changing speech to suit different social contexts, sharing information, understanding things that are implied but not explicitly stated, and functioning in conversation and storytelling.

Often these difficulties are not clear until a child has developed enough expressive and receptive language and has reached an age where pragmatic language abilities become an obstacle to social interactions and daily routines at daycare or school.

How is social communication
disorder diagnosed?

If a child has a firm grasp of many communication and linguistic skills, but seems to have a hard time applying them in the context of certain social situations, it’s possible that they may have Social communication disorder. An evaluation by a speech-language pathologist is recommended if your child:

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  • has a delay in reaching language milestones and low interest in social interactions.
  • rarely initiates social interaction with others
  • responds very minimally or abnormally when social initiation
  • For a child to be diagnosed with social communication disorder, the symptoms of the disorder must be present in early childhood.

Treatment options for children with social communication disorders
What does intervention entail for children with social communication disorders?

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Speech and language treatments are more successful with family engagement and with the collaboration of the school or daycare setting. It is extremely important to provide many opportunities for your child to practice skills in real-life situations. Very often, new skills or strategies will be explicitly taught with the therapist. A very important part of treatment called “carry-over” implies that significant adults around the child help him put these abilities in practice in everyday situations. This ensures that the child becomes is able to solve problems with greater autonomy.

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If your child is struggling in social situations, particularly at school or daycare, an evaluation of their social and communication abilities can help define what is most difficult for your child. Social communication delay, or once confirmed disorder needs to be supported through the collaboration of the childcare team, the family and a speech language pathologist. The speech-language pathologists at the Centre Mosaïque de Québec have developed an expertise in assessing and working with families with diverse cultural and linguistic background.

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The Centre Mosaïque is committed to providing prompt care to meet your needs. Feel free to contact us to find out how our speech therapists can help you.