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Dynamics Therapy Centre for Kids
Issue 95 | May 2022
Social Communication Disorder

A child with a social communication disorder may struggle to communicate appropriately, both verbally and non-verbally, in social situations. He/She may have difficulties with social interaction and social understanding (Paul & Murray, 2015). Here are some signs of social communication disorder:

  • Has difficulty engaging in conversations with others (E.g. Asking relevant questions or sharing related ideas)
  • Has difficulty following unspoken social rules (E.g. Staying on topic)
  • Has difficulty observing and/or interpreting non-verbal cues (E.g. facial expression, body language, tone), spoken language and social context simultaneously
  • Doesn’t use appropriate verbal and nonverbal communication with others (E.g. Maintaining eye contact with others)
  • Doesn’t understand another person’s point of view
  • Talks only about things that he/she is interested in. Doesn’t talk about things that are of interest to someone else (American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, n.d.; Winner, 2007)

It’s unknown what causes Social Communication Disorder. But it frequently occurs with other conditions such as language disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and written language disorders (Paul & Murray, 2015). Social communication difficulties are a defining feature of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), in addition to restricted, repetitive behaviours.

Various Activities

A social communication disorder can lead to numerous problems, including difficulties participating in social settings, establishing and maintaining relationships with peers, succeeding in academic settings, and achieving career success (American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, n.d). A Speech Therapist can help children with social communication difficulties. You can approach a Speech Therapist if you have concerns about your child’s social communication skills.

Tips - How to Improve Attention

Below are a few tips to build your child’s social communication skills:

    Natural Teaching Moments
  • Model appropriate conversation and social skills in daily routines and situations:
    • Use naturally occurring teaching moments that happen during daily routines and interactions to demonstrate good social communication skills.
    • Teach your child social skills and talk about the social world by pointing out why you said or did things a certain way in the social context.
  • Help your child pay attention to nonverbal messages by exaggerating your actions, gestures, and wait. This will help your child understand that communication is more than words and there’s a lot of information in your non-verbals (Sussman, 2006).
  • Discuss how your child or other person feels during everyday activities and situations, and why they feel that way (Paul & Murray, 2015). Talk about the differences in what people like and think (Sussman, 2006).
  • Use Books
  • Use books to help your child tune in to the minds of the characters in the story. Talk about the character’s facial expressions, feelings, thoughts, and what they were doing. Talk about the different perspectives and ways to solve the problem in the situation. Relate the story to your child’s daily life experiences (Paul & Murray, 2015; Sussman, 2006).
  • Focus on your child’s appropriate behaviours (Winner, 2007). When you observe your child behaving in a socially appropriate way, praise him or her. By doing this, you will motivate your child and encourage appropriate behaviours.


Useful online resources:

Employee Spotlight

Carline Tan - Speech Therapist

Carline Tan
Speech Therapist

Carline is a bilingual Speech-Language Therapist with more than 5 years of experience working with preschool and school-age children. She graduated from the National University of Singapore with a Masters in Speech and Language Pathology.

Click here to get up close and personal with Carline!

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