Sometimes children are quick to make friends, but building friendships through communication doesn’t come naturally for every student. If you’re a parent, you are about to discover the top 5 ways that you can help your child develop social skills and build friendships!
Pragmatic language is the way we understand and use language in our daily routines and interactions with others. What have you noticed lately about your child’s pragmatics?
You may notice regression in your child’s pragmatic language compared with one year ago, due to the effects of distance learning. Without the dynamic interactions children regularly have with their friends, teachers, caregivers, extended family, and even strangers in public, social communication has declined.
Language pragmatics involve verbal and nonverbal elements. Verbal communication involves using basic skills like initiating conversation and forming appropriate questions and responses, as well as higher skills such as interpreting sarcasm, jokes, and metaphor, and using language to reason, negotiate or persuade.
Difficulty with pragmatic language can look like interrupted thoughts or difficulty maintaining a topic, starting or ending conversations, or difficulty using appropriate body language. These pragmatic issues can sometimes show when a social communication disorder is present.
There is no known cause or “cure” for a social communication disorder (SCD), but skills can be enhanced with speech language therapy.
Students with a SCD work on mock situations they find particularly challenging within the safety of therapy. They may practice the following:
- interpreting social situations through stories
- identifying what is “right” or “wrong” about a mock social situation
- role playing
- being exposed to new social situations that enhance their skills
Speech Language Pathologist, Heather Ismay, gives her tips for parents looking to help their children at home.
- Have a family game night
This should involve all members of the family and require everyone to contribute. Something as simple as playing Candyland brings everyone together and requires group effort.
- Plan weekly playdates
Social interaction with a peer is crucial for each individual child. These should be no less than once a week, even if a child has siblings at home. Being in a new environment allows your child to experience situations that may not come up at home.
- Include children in visits with family members
Allowing your child to take part in visits that involve people of all ages is a great way to expose them to novel situations. These provide opportunities for growth.
- Plan family outings
Changing the place of where children spend time exposes them to situations in which they need to use different reasoning skills, as well as see different types of people. Get fun ideas for outings, recipes, games, and more at www.macaronikid.com!
- Talk to your child about social communication
Sometimes children need explicit instruction to understand proper social communication. Teaching etiquette in the safety of the home will give your child the tools they need to apply it to a real-world situation.
Watch Heather’s interview here.