Social Communication Disorders

Social Communication Disorders

Social Communication Disorders

Social communication disorder (SCD) is characterized by persistent difficulties with the use of verbal and nonverbal language for social purposes. Primary difficulties may be in social interaction, social understanding, pragmatics, language processing, or any combination of the above (Adams, 2005). Social communication behaviors such as eye contact, facial expressions, and body language are influenced by sociocultural and individual factors There is a wide range of acceptable norms within and across individuals, families, and cultures. Specific communication challenges may become apparent when difficulties arise in the following:

  • communicating for social purposes in ways that are appropriate for the particular social context
  • changing communication to match the context or needs of the listener
  • following rules for conversation and storytelling
  • understanding nonliteral or ambiguous language
  • understanding that which is not explicitly stated
  • sentence grammar and lexical semantics
  • inferential language
  • discourse comprehension
  • misinterpretation of contextual meaning

Intervention is designed to

  • capitalize on strengths and address weaknesses related to underlying functions that affect social communication;
  • facilitate the individual’s activities and participation in social interactions by helping them acquire new skills and strategies; and
  • modify contextual factors that serve as barriers and enhance facilitators of successful communication and participation.

Adams, C. (2005). Social communication intervention for school-age children: Rationale and description. Seminars in Speech and Language, 26(3), 181–188.
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. (2016). Scope of practice in speech-language-pathology [Scope of practice].

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