Pragmatics refers to the system that combines all language components for functional and socially appropriate communication. Children with pragmatic language deficits have a hard time understanding the rules related to use of language in social interactions.
Effective social communication requires the integration and use of verbal language components (semantics, syntax, phonology, morphology) with non-verbal language (facial expression, tone of voice, body language) for social or communicative purposes. Furthermore, it requires an ability to read various situations/contexts and understand that these rules change based on said context.
A student with pragmatic language weaknesses may have difficulty with:
-Understanding that different language is used to communicate for different purposes such as:
*informing others about something
-Code switching (understanding that we change language depending on the situation and who we are talking to.)
*we speak to babies differently than adults
*it’s appropriate to speak more loudly on a playground than in a classroom
-Understanding that there are rules to follow in conversation such as:
*taking turns speaking
*appropriately initiating, maintaining, and ending a conversation
*staying on topic
*using the right tone of voice to indicate a question or the emotion in our speech
*using appropriate non-verbal communication such as eye contact, facial expression, gestures, and body language
-Accurately interpreting and using non-verbal communication elements such as facial expressions, body language, and gestures
-Understanding causes, and generating solutions to social problems that arise during the school day-Using and understanding humor/figurative language