Social Communication (Pragmatics)

Children with difficulties in this area may:

+ Have problems taking turns in a conversation or when playing games
+ Be unable to change the style of conversation to suite the listener
+ Be unable to interpret tone of voice in others
+ Have difficulty interpreting non-verbal communication (facial expression, gestures)
+ Have difficulty keeping to the topic of a conversation
+ Have problems with judging the amount of previous knowledge that the listener has when relating information
+ Have difficulty understanding other points of view
+ Have strengths in a specific area of the curriculum (such as maths, music)
+ Have a particular interest or hobby, which can sometimes act as a stimulus to learning
+ Have a good memory for rote learning

Activities to develop social communication:

Role-Play - adults and other pupils model social situations with the learner -these can relate to home, school and environmental activities.

Tell Me - Talk about personal experiences; subtle adult questioning to ensure the pupils keeps to the topic and gives relevant background information.

Puppets - Adults and other pupils model social situations through puppet plays and stories with the learner.

Making Faces - Miming activities, specifically teaching pupils how to show feelings through facial expressions. Older pupils may develop this as part of a drama session.

Board Games - Play games that involve turn-taking; some pupils will need to do this with an adult only, others with another pupil.

Parachute Games - Involve collaboration and introduce gradually in small groups.

Circle Time - Provide specific opportunities for pupils to learn how to listen to other points of view; ensure visual explanations are available.

Reactions - Pupils choose a reaction to a specific social situation (from a choice of three); talk about possible consequences of the chosen reaction.

Speech Bubbles - Read an extract from a story; pupils write in a speech bubble what the character might say at that point in the story.

Social Stories - Use these to help pupils engage with events forthcoming or already happened.

Comic Strip Conversations - Use these to support pupils' understanding of context and stages of a situation.