As we start a new and unique school year, you may find yourself wondering if your child is equipped to interact virtually with their peers and adults. Does the following scenario sound familiar to you? Your child is logged-on to their virtual classroom and you notice they are interrupting their peers, responding off-topic, or don’t appear to know how to ask questions or request help. Perhaps a neighbor asks your child how they are feeling about the new school year and your child responds by stating, “I like minecraft.” without making eye-contact with the neighbor. These are breakdowns in effectively communicating within social situations. These breakdowns may indicate that your child needs explicit instruction and practice to support their social communication.
Social communication, often referred to as “pragmatics,” refers to skills in the following areas:
- The ability to use language for a variety of purposes. We use language to greet, ask questions, inform, request, protest, and more. Your child may know how to have their needs met, but struggles to use language to share their feelings and thoughts.
- The ability to change language in accordance with the situation. As effective social communicators, we are also charged with adapting to the social situation. This means we communicate differently with our teachers than with our peers. This also means that we provide adequate background information to someone who may not know what we are talking about (often a difficult skill for kiddos).
- The ability to follow rules for conversations and story-telling. There are rules to conversations that many of us pick up on naturally; however, sometimes our children need us to explicitly teach these rules. The rules include taking turns while conversing with others, staying on-topic, using appropriate gestures and facial expressions, and even standing an appropriate distance from our listener.
How is your child developing and demonstrating these social skills? If you have concerns about the quality of your child’s social interactions, consider an evaluation by a Speech-Language Pathologist! SLP’s are your go-to experts in providing the analysis and instruction that your child needs. Connect with our Parent Representative at Triton Support Services and access the support that you’re looking for!