Kids social communication Brecksville speech therapists

How Our Brecksville Speech Therapists Help Boost Kids’ Social Communication

Social communication is the way we use language in social contexts, encompassing social interaction, social cognition, pragmatics and language processing. Our Brecksville speech therapists recognize that while many of us take the “rules” of these exchanges for granted, they can be tough for children with developmental delays, disabilities, and other challenges.

Most language is social. Social communication skills include the ability to:

  • Vary one’s speech style.
  • Recognize the perspective of others.
  • Understand – and appropriately use – rules for verbal/non-verbal communication.
  • Use the structural elements of language.

There is a fairly broad range of norms accepted across cultures, families and between individuals for social communication, but these skills are critical for effective back-and-forth conversations in a social situation. When a child struggles with verbal and non-verbal communication for social purposes, this may be diagnosed as social communication disorder.

Some of the things parents or Brecksville speech therapists might note when assessing whether one has a social communication disorder:

  • Does the child communicate for social reasons in ways that are deemed appropriate for the social context in question?
  • Does the child alter their communication to match the context or unique needs of a listener?
  • Does the child follow rules for conversation and storytelling?
  • Does the child understand language that is ambiguous or nonliterate?
  • Does the child understand messages that aren’t explicitly being stated?

There are some medical conditions closely associated with social communication disorder, including autism spectrum disorder (ASD), intellectual disabilities, Down syndrome, aphasia, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and traumatic brain injuries.

Strategies Brecksville Speech Therapists Use to Treat Social Communication Disorders

Intervention strategies designed by our Northeast Ohio speech-language pathologists are going to depend on the individual strengths and deficits of each child. Below are examples that have worked for many kids with a range of abilities:

  • Comic strip conversations. Conversations between two or more individuals drawn in a simple comic strip can help kids visualize the “rules” of social communication. It helps to break the conversation and communication down into individual segments, giving kids adequate time to grasp what information is being exchanged – and how. These can be very useful when we’re trying to teach communication of feelings and different perspectives, reflection on something that’s already happened, problem-solving and resolution of conflict.
  • Score skills strategy. This is a small group social skills strategy that involves spotlighting the sharing of ideas, complimenting other people, offering encouragement or help, nicely recommending changes and mastery of self-control. Therapy & Wellness Connection does offer a number of social skills groups for kids on a rotating basis.
  • Social scripts. These are scripted visual and verbal prompts that we use to teach kids how to use a variety of language during social interactions. We start by relying on them heavily early on, and then gradually fade them out as they become more natural.
  • Social stories. This is a type of intervention that’s highly-structured to help them understand responses and behaviors that are socially appropriate. Social stories take a given task or interaction and break it down into very small steps that are easier to grasp, and then they’re reviewed repeatedly until the child knows them well. The strategy was originally developed to help children on the autism spectrum, but they’re now used to help kids with a broad range of conditions.

If your child struggles with social communication, our dedicated Brecksville speech therapists can help!

Therapy & Wellness Connection – your connection to a life without limitations – provides speech therapy to children in Akron, Cleveland, Brecksville, Broadview Heights, and surrounding communities. We also offer summer camp, day programs, education services, vocational counseling and more. Call us at (330) 748-4807 or send us an email.

Additional Resources:

Social Communication, American Speech and Hearing Association

More Blog Entries:

How Brecksville Speech Therapists Treat Kids With Aphasia, Nov. 3, 2021, Brecksville Speech Therapy Blog