Speech & Hearing - Social Skills

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Children with language disorders may have problems with social language and social skills. For example, they may be overly direct or blunt; they may change topics abruptly and interrupt each other often. They may not understand turn taking in conversation.

It is not unusual for children to have pragmatic problems occasionally or in a few situations. However, if problems in social language use occur often and seem inappropriate considering the child's age, a pragmatic disorder may exist. Frequently, pragmatic disorders co-exist with other language problems such as vocabulary/concept development or grammar or other developmental disorders.

Pragmatics involves three major communication skills:

  1. Using language for different purposes (for example: such as greeting, informing, demanding, promising, and requesting)
  2. Adapting or changing language according to the needs or expectations of a listener or situation
  3. Following rules for conversations and narratives (e.g., telling stories, giving book reports, recounting events of the day); there are rules for taking turns in conversation, introducing topics of conversation, staying on the topic, rephrasing when misunderstood, and telling a story. There are also rules for appropriate use of nonverbal signals in conversation: distance between speaker and listener, facial expressions, and eye contact. Rules may vary depending on language and culture.
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Ear, Nose & Throat Clinic
University Hospital Clinics Building
1005 Harborside Drive
Galveston, Texas

Ear, Nose & Throat Consultants
Brittany Plaza
1600 West League City Parkway, Suite D
League City, Texas

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Mainland Crossing
9300 Emmett F. Lowry Expressway
Texas City, Texas

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