Pragmatics Therapy for AutismRichmond, TX
Pragmatics therapy addresses speech delays in autistic children. Autistic children may have issues with using language, changing their language as needed, and following the social rules of language. Pragmatics therapy may help your autistic child integrate better socially and boost their overall quality of life.
Pragmatics therapy for autism is available at Small Talk Therapy Services in Richmond. We understand that speech delays may be distressing. Our therapist and team can help your child receive the care they need.
Call us today at (832) 900-1198 to learn more about our services or to schedule an appointment.
What Is Pragmatics
Pragmatics is one of the many components of social communication skills. It is the ability to “read between the lines,” or follow unwritten social rules and cues. Other building blocks of social communication include social interaction, social cognition, and language processing. Social interaction refers to navigating social situations based on context. Social cognition encompasses emotional competence and executive functioning, while language comprehension has to do with language comprehension and expression. All these elements include understanding and expressing both verbal and nonverbal methods of communication.
It is the same with pragmatics. There are three main components of pragmatic speech, such as using language, changing language, and following rules. Children know how to use language when they know how to use it for different purposes (such as greeting, informing, demanding, et cetera). They understand how to change language when they know how to adapt their speech based on who they are speaking to. The following rules refer to the unwritten social rules mentioned earlier: maintaining eye contact, staying on-topic, et cetera.
The Relationship Between Autism and Pragmatics
Most autistic children will have trouble with pragmatics to some extent, especially if they are nonverbal. However, even highly verbal children will likely need help developing their pragmatic skills. Just as every autistic child is unique, so are autistic speech patterns. In general, however, they will typically need help understanding how to follow social rules. Autistic children tend to express themselves in ways that neurotypical children do not.
For instance, it is not uncommon for an autistic child to be louder or quieter than expected. They may speak in different intonations, repeat entire chunks of scripts, or go on seemingly off-topic tangents. They may dominate conversations: talk about topics that only they are interested in, say the same things repeatedly, ask questions just so they can give their own input, and intrude into or leaving conversations at inappropriate times. These behaviors may make others view them as rude or bizarre.
However, other behaviors make it more evident that it is a matter of lacking social awareness and pragmatics skills. Autistic children often unapologetically approach taboo or sensitive topics, have a hard time recognizing jokes and figures of speech, use context-inappropriate language, tell harsh truths, and have trouble with (or outright refuse) engaging in small talk.
Assessing Your Autistic Child’s Pragmatic Skills
Evaluating a child’s pragmatic skills is often difficult, as social communication is dynamic by nature. As such, it is crucial to have the child assessed only by a qualified professional, especially one that will make the child feel comfortable and safe enough to express themselves. Our therapist may help reach a diagnosis through observations, interviews, checklists, formal assessments, and more.
Depending on the child’s unique situation, the parents may benefit from consulting with both a speech therapist and an occupational therapist. This approach is generally called for when there are multiple areas of concern and pragmatics is not the only issue that the child needs to address.
Improving Your Autistic Child’s Pragmatic Skills
Therapeutic intervention with the right speech therapist may significantly enhance the child’s overall quality of life further down the road. Improved pragmatic skills can help them better make and maintain friendships and relationships, navigate social situations with strangers and professionals, and understand social cues and rules.
Our team will work closely with you to create an individualized treatment plan for your child. After assessing their capabilities, we will do our best to determine which interventions best serve your child’s specific needs. We understand that the goal is to empower your child as much as possible. Research suggests that both autistic children and their parents must be actively engaged in pragmatic intervention for maximum benefits. We work closely with our clients and their families to eventually manage on their own.
Call Us Today
For many autistic children and their families, pragmatic intervention is a huge benefit to their overall quality of life. Our team at Small Talk Therapy Services may be able to help. Call us today at (832) 900-1198 to learn more about our services, therapists, or to schedule an appointment.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I help my autistic child develop pragmatic skills at home?
You should always take your child to a professional if you suspect they have problems with pragmatics. Still, there are many simple play activities you can do at home that can encourage pragmatic development. For instance, roleplaying can help children understand how to react appropriately in social situations. Turn-taking games can teach children how to deal with impatience and negative emotions (such as losing).
Can pragmatic struggles lead to other difficulties?
Absolutely. Social communication is key to everyday life, making children with pragmatic struggles vulnerable to struggling in other aspects. It may be difficult for them to complete academic work, remember things, articulate words, and more.
Do all children express pragmatic struggles in the same way?
No. Social communication varies across cultures; accordingly, so do pragmatic skills. Different cultures have different social expectations, even within the United States. The right speech therapist knows how to work with and respect your child’s specific needs.
Are all children with pragmatic struggles autistic?
No. There is a range of language and social communication disorders and even risk factors that may contribute to pragmatic struggles. However, all autistic children struggle with social communication on some level.
Can pragmatic struggles be “overcorrected”?
Yes. Autistic children sometimes have their language so corrected technically that it begins to sound off-putting socially. Our team works to create the proper interventions to try to ensure natural-sounding results.
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