Speech Therapy

Research on Semantic Pragmatic Language Disorder

Semantics refers to the use of meanings of words and their functions in a sentences and also including understanding of abstract words conveying emotions.

Pragmatics is the quality of pointing the central idea, or the implied meaning. In simple terms Pragmatics refers to rules of conversation, (e.g. how to properly ask qusetions and answer, voice inflection, meaningful exchanges, and effective usage of language instead of repeating meaningless phrases or monologues.

Semantic Pragmatic Disorder is a linguistic term which describes abnormal language and communication traits.

Generally, children show difficulty understanding the meaning of what others say and understanding approapriate usage of speech. Basic Symptoms includes:-

  • delayed speech development
  • memorising phrases to learn talking without freely putting words together
  • repating phrases out of context (echolalia or parrot talk), generally those from the television programmes
  • puddling up or getting confused with ‘I’ and ‘you’
  • difficulty in understanding ‘how’ and ‘why’ qusetions
  • unable to follow conversations

SPLD is originally defined as a kind of Language Disorder in 1983, by Rapin and Allen and was called a syndrome. The term ‘Semantic Pragmatic Disorder’ is existing since around 15 years. Originally it described only children who were not autistic.

Current Thinking on SPLD:
A better understanding of the Disorder is known to us today. SPLD children just not suffer from speaking and understanding difficulties but a lot more than that. So was called a Communication Disorder’ .

Yielded 2 important findings from research and practical experience:

  • Many people who definitely are autistic have this kind of language disorder (Dustin Hoffman’s character Raymond in the film ‘Rainman’ being a typical example).
  • Most of the children diagnosed as having semantic pragmatic disorder do also have some mild autistic features. For e.g., they usually have difficulty understanding social situations and expectations, they like to stick fairly rigidly to routines, and they lack imaginative play.

Creative Play:

A 18 months child may switch from abstract to concrete easily. E.g., Pretending a toy cup to be a telephone even after knowing that it is a cup. Toddlers’ take their teddies quite seriously even resulting fighting for them. a 3 years old knows switch to reality, develops story lines also.

Where as the children with SPD find these much difficult.

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