Speech Therapy

Pragmatic Impairment – Symptoms And Help At Home

It is a disorder that affects and reduces the purpose and the function of language, and also interferes with the basic rules of social interaction is called Pragmatic Impairment. An individual with this problem faces difficulty with his or her social life, and people tend to avoid being much associated with them. Brain injury or stroke can result in pragmatic impairment in adults.

Pragmatics is basically composed of three communication skills, they are purpose of language, using it, and following the rules of it.

1. Using language for different purposes like sharing information, greeting, promising, demanding, requesting, telling etc.

2. Knowing how to use language in different places, situations, and with different people so as to make the interaction more understandable and interesting. Voice and tonal modulation to suit the situation is very important. For example, it would be highly inappropriate if someone falls and we laugh.

3. Following the rules of conversation to avoid randomly drifting from one topic to another, knowing how to start and maintain a good conversation on the same topic, holding the eye contact appropriately, and having right facial expressions and body language. Picking up verbal and non-verbal cues, maintaining a good interaction and a dignified space while conversing etc.

Symptoms Of Pragmatic Disorder:

  • Individuals with this problem find it hard to continue a decent conversation and have difficulty interacting with others.
  • They do not filter their language and end up saying anything inappropriate to any one.
  • They have a very limited social life.
  • They face difficulty when taking turns to hold a decent conversation.
  • When they are unclear about something they presume to have understood it, but do not ask for explanation or clarification when in doubt.
  • They find it troublesome to explain an event, story, or an experience in a flow.
  • They are not organized when explaining. Their speech is full of random and irrelevant chunks of information, which is hard to understand.
  • They face a problem when presented with choices and are troubled to make a decision.
  • Body language and facial expressions are not understood by them clearly.
  • They cannot differentiate between sarcasm and joke.

Help At Home:
Parents with a little patience and perseverance can actually help a child with this language disorder. Following are some of the easy steps to make the child understand the importance of having a healthy social life.

  • Create different social situations in the comfort of your home and encourage your child to understand and use appropriate language in those situations. This practice will help them understand what to say and what not to say. For example, create a set up of some formal party and ask teach your child how to behave.
  • Practice everyday how to ask for things rather than demanding. Teach them how to ask. For instance ‘may I have a glass of water please!?’ rather than ‘give me water’, or in a more authoritative tone ‘I want water! Now!’
  • Teach them that to persuade someone it is better to request than be demanding most of the times.
  • Make them understand that being impolite towards people will only push them away from him or her.
  • Working on the facial expressions is important for maintaining a good social life. For example, we cannot smile when someone is hurt and be sad or jealous when others are celebrating.

These simple pragmatic impairment lessons when practiced can go a long way in making the child not only good at social interactions but will also help him or her become a good person too. For more help it is always better to consult a speech and language therapist who would assess the condition and design a program accordingly for the child’s benefit.

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