Imagine Health Weekly Blog - Pragmatic Language, A Quick Introduction (19/4/12)
By- April 19, 2012
A Speech and Language Therapy assessment evaluates a person’s understanding and use of language. As language occurs in social contexts, the ability to use language appropriately in social situations, (‘pragmatics’), is a crucial element of effective communication.
Pragmatics looks at three major communication skills:-
(1) Using language for different purposes, e.g. greetings, demanding something, persuading others, expressing emotions.
(2) Changing language according to the needs of a listener or situation, e.g. talking differently to a teacher than to a peer.
(3) Following rules for conversations and storytelling, such as taking turns, introducing topics, staying on topic, using verbal and non-verbal signals.
Pragmatic language rules are not explicit nor are they always easily explained except through lots of experience and practice. We start this at a very young age, with most children learning how to apply and navigate these social rules with increasing sophistication as they get older. Pragmatic skills develop well into adulthood.
Pragmatic difficulties may occur with speech and language impairments. It may be linked with environmental or emotional factors. It may be associated with High Functioning Autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or Psychosis.
Whatever the cause, an assessment by a Speech and Language Therapist can help pinpoint areas where therapy and practice may make a real difference. It can help improve the communication of children, teenagers and adults who struggle with pragmatic knowledge and skill.