A child with a pragmatic language disorder has trouble using spoken language in socially appropriate ways. The constructing of sentences and the pronouncing of words are often well enough, but the child struggles to hold conversations and to initiate contact.
There are a few requirements that are important for communication:
- Eye contact
Making eye contact is one of the most important factors of communication. By looking at someone, the conversational partner knows that you are listening. Some children have difficulties making or keeping eye contact. The speech therapist will work playfully on making and keeping eye contact with the child.
- Taking turns
Taking and giving turns are important skills for communication. A child has to understand when it is their time to speak, and when it is time to wait for an answer. This can also be practiced with children that barely speak, by playing games that make sure it is important that the child waits for his or her turn.
Children learn almost all the language and speech by imitating what they hear. By speaking to the child on a level that suits the stage of development, the child can imitate that and learn a lot. Also, children who are very shy, can often be provoked to say something by imitation.
- Concentration/joint attention
Concentration and joint attention are important to learn a language. By playing with the child in a way that the speech therapist or parent and the child are completely focused on the same thing, this can be practised.
- Listening skills
To learn a language, it is important to listen carefully. Some children must be alerted on sounds and language around them, more than others.