Pragmatic impairments are a result of difficulties using verbal, written and/or non-verbal language for social purposes, and can be due to a range of reasons. Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Developmental Language Delay (DLD) are both commonly associated with co-morbid pragmatic impairments within the Speech Pathology profession (Bryan, Burstein & Ergul, 2004; Paul & Norbury, 2011). The DSM-5 has recently identified “Social (Pragmatic) Communication Disorder”; a pragmatic disorder where pragmatic impairments are identified with no co-morbid ASD diagnosis (American Psychology Association, 2013). The table below lists how these impairments may present:
Young people with pragmatic communication needs often have reduced social networks, which can lead to loneliness, loss of identity, increased social isolation and depression, (Raghavendra, Newman, Grace, & Wood, 2015). For speech pathologists these implications are important to consider when working with clients with pragmatic impairments, particularly adolescents; especially now, with the identification of Social Communication Disorder and the continuing development of technology and social media (boyd, 2011; Paul & Norbury, 2011).
This leads us into our next topic of discussion – social media!