Pragmatic language impairment (PLI) or social (pragmatic) communication disorder (SCD), is an impairment in understanding pragmatic areas of language. The pragmatic components of language include both context and function. Language context involves the listener-speaker connection and the meaning behind speech.
The purpose of the words being spoken is referred to as the function of speech. PLI is a diagnosis given to children who have difficulties with putting language into proper context and function.
Speech language pathology assists children with PLI to improve their pragmatic skills. While these skills will depend on social norms, a Sydney-based speech pathologist will ensure that your child develops improved listener-speaker skills, eye contact, distinguishing varieties in speech (e.g. jokes, sarcasm and criticism) and other communication skills that are the norm in Western culture.
About the common symptoms of pragmatic language impairment
PLI, or social (pragmatic) communication disorder (SCD), is an impairment in understanding pragmatic areas of language. PLI was previously called semantic-pragmatic disorder (SPD). Pragmatic language impairments are related to autism and Asperger syndrome, but also could be related to other non-autistic disabilities such as ADHD and intellectual disabilities. People with these impairments have special challenges with the semantic aspect of language (the meaning of what is being said) and the pragmatics of language (using language appropriately in social situations).
The symptoms of pragmatic language impairment to be aware of include:
- Difficulty with the exchange of conversation
- Difficulty initiating and maintaining a topic of conversation
- Difficulty comprehending indirect questions (e.g. difficulty responding to a question such as “Who wouldn’t want to go out for ice cream?” instead of a direct question such as “Do you want to go out for ice cream?”)
- Limited variety in language use
- Difficulty in “conversational repair strategies” (the individual does not understand what a person has said or the meaning behind the words, and is not sure how to ask the speaker to repeat their words or to explain their words)
- Difficulty understanding non-verbal hints and body language
- Difficulty making decisions
- Greater interest in facts rather than stories
- Poor organizational skills (i.e. sentences are not in the correct order, stories are told with parts missing)
- Difficulty explaining events or stories
- Difficulty distinguishing sarcasm or jokes
- Delayed language development
It is important to address pragmatic language impairment with speech language therapy because this type of language disorder can compromise a person’s social life, their educational development, and their career success. Fortunately, there are many opportunities for speech and language pathology in Sydney.
If you have questions or concerns about pragmatic language impairment contact your local doctor, who will arrange for you to see a speech pathologist. We‘ll provide you with a straightforward, efficient and very effective treatment plan targeted to your concerns.