Speech Therapy

Pragmatic Disorders – What Is It?

Even today I remember this small rhyme my favorite teacher taught us in class 4. It went like this ‘slip of the tongue is the fault of the mind, one who reminds is very unkind!’ Though I do not remember the context in which she said that, but to me it left an impression forever meaning that do not speak before you think twice. But, individuals with pragmatic disorders find it hard to do so. They fail to understand the purpose, function, and rules of interacting ideas, emotions, feelings, and thoughts socially.

Pragmatic Disorders:
It is an impairment of language that deals with the pragmatics. This area of communication deals with the relationship between the choice of the words, the way it is said, and the goal of these words spoken and the effect these words has on the listener.

In simple words pragmatics deals with the purpose, function and the rules of interaction and the effect it has on the listener.

Characteristics Of The Disorder:
The three basic components of communication i.e., the purpose of language – to communicate feelings and ideas, the function of language – how to choose correct words and use them, and the rules to be followed to use it – conversing on one topic at a time etc., are very essential for a healthy social life. Adults experience this condition after a stroke or injury on the brain. Individuals with this disorder find it difficult to follow and following are some of the symptoms of it.

  • These individuals have difficulty understand conversations.
  • They have trouble to share ideas, emotions, feelings, thoughts, information, and other messages with others.
  • They face problem following stories, and the moral lessons hidden in them.
  • It is hard for them to describe, explain, or tell an event, experience, or story.
  • They do not understand the contextual meaning of words.
  • It is difficult for them to make choices and decisions.
  • They randomly jump from one topic to another during a conversation assuming they are still talking on the same theme.
  • They fail to understand jokes, sarcasm, satire, and offensive remarks.
  • Even when they do not understand something, they do not ask for clarification or explanation until they get the point.
  • They blurt out whatever comes to their mind without thinking twice.
  • They have poor organizing skills.
  • When speaking they stare at the listener, or stand too close to the person making him/her uncomfortable.
  • They have a very limited social life because of their inability to hold an average conversation.
  • Their body language, eye contact, hand gestures, and other non-verbal communication modes are not positive.

Help At Home For Individuals With This Disorder:
For any person’s success and growth, personally and professionally, communication plays a very vital role. Patience, perseverance, and practice can actually help anyone understand and equip themselves with the nuances of decent conversation.

  • Create dummy set ups in the comfort of your home to teach and encourage the child to behave according to the occasion.
  • Teach them the difference between different tones. Request, demand, order etc., and make them understand that how important it is for us to be polite to others.
  • Allow them to practice the non-verbal communication too. When speaking one must not stare at the other person for too long, or avoid the eye contact altogether, and to stand at a comfortable and respectable distance when conversing, and to occasionally smile, laugh, and enjoy conversation instead of keeping a straight face, a good firm handshake etc.
  • Simple get-together for kids can provide one with enough time to assess and evaluate the behavior and see how successfully they can make friends.

This was a brief description about pragmatic disorders, its symptoms, and help that can be provided at home. If you the child or an adult is still facing hard time coping up, then a speech and language therapist can always help.

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