Child in speech therapy virtually.

Although language is a natural part of our communication skills, it doesn’t always come easy. Speech therapy can play an influential role in helping individuals with pragmatics, which are necessary skills to have for person-to-person communication. Let’s take a deep dive into what pragmatic language skills are and how you can use services like speech therapy and ABA therapy to improve your skills.

What Are Pragmatic Language Skills?

Pragmatics is the rules that govern our language system and explain the relationship between words and word use. Language is essential to effectively communicate, especially with children working to develop their language and speech skills. Speaking and understanding is a huge part of how we effectively communicate with one another.

Pragmatics is the way we use language to connect with others. This can include verbal and non-verbal language such as body language, eye-contact, using or understanding jokes, asking and answering questions, repairing communication breakdowns, or getting the attention of others.

Some examples of pragmatics include the following:

  • Verbal communication
  • Reciprocal play
  • Social behavior necessary for communication
  • Imitation
  • Joint attention
  • Turn-taking

Though the definition of pragmatics can seem complicated, the idea is more simplistic in practice. A lack of pragmatic language skills can be found when the speaker cannot effectively communicate what they say to what they mean. Learning pragmatics can be challenging on your own – we recommend seeking assistance from a therapist specializing in speech or ABA therapy to get started.

Mother and child on computer in virtual speech therapy.

How Speech Therapy Helps with Pragmatics

Language rules and functions are essential in childhood development and learning, but sometimes, children need additional help through speech therapy to help with pragmatic language skills. A speech-language pathologist works towards addressing the various challenges a child may have with language and communication, including pragmatics.

With the assistance and support of a speech therapist, individuals can use these techniques to strengthen and learn pragmatics:

  • Reciprocal play
  • Peer to peer interactions
  • Conversational turn-taking
  • The body orientation and proximity
  • Theory of mind
  • Understanding non-verbal language and body language of others

There are so many benefits that speech-language pathologists can help provide in teaching pragmatics and strengthening other areas of this discipline. Without intervention, these language issues can persist, making classroom learning and interaction extremely difficult. When your child learns the skills to strengthen their language and communication, you will see their confidence soar.

If issues with pragmatics are just one bump in the road of autism disorder, see how ABA therapy can help.

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Therapy

Pragmatic language impairment or pragmatic language issues can be a common issue in children with autism. ABA therapy can help children and individuals learn pragmatics with a variety of language stimulation strategies. A therapist’s skills can help alleviate several issues beyond language, such as understanding the link between mindfulness and autism. Early intervention is critical when it comes to language issues in children with autism.

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