Social communication therapy
Social communication therapy is used to support children who struggle to use their language in a socially appropriate manner. Social communication therapy can be used to increase children’s understanding and compliance of the unwritten rules of social language. Social communication therapy can be individualised to cater for each child’s specific difficulties.
Social communication therapy can help children develop the skills needed to communicate with others appropriately. Social communication therapy can help children with social interaction and making meaningful relationships with others.
Who is suitable for social communication therapy?
Social communication therapy is suitable or any child who has difficulty using their language appropriately to express their thoughts and feelings. Some conditions that social communication therapy may be suitable for include:
How to spot a child who needs social communication therapy
A child who struggles with social communication and would benefit from social communication therapy may present with the following:
- Delayed language skills.
- Lack of interest in social interaction.
- Difficulty staying on topic during a conversation.
- Struggles to or unable to take turns during conversation.
- Unaware when a conversation has broken down or how to amend the breakdown.
- Difficulty maintaining conversations.
- Difficulty adapting language to different listeners i.e. uses the same style of informal language with the head teacher and peers.
- Difficulty adapting language according to the situation i.e. speaks in assembly as they would in the playground.
- Does not give background information about what is being discussed to the listener.
- Does not understand to use their language appropriately.
- Struggles to understand non-literal language such as sarcasm, idioms, jokes and metaphors.
- Difficulty understanding and using non-verbal language e.g. eye contact, facial expressions and tone of voice.
- Difficulty understanding others viewpoints or feelings.
- Difficulty maintaining meaningful relationships with peers and adults.
What’s involved in social communication therapy?
Social communication therapy would involve working on improving your child’s specific difficulties. This could be done in a one to one setting with the speech and language therapist or as part of a social communication group facilitated by the speech and language therapist. Activities carried out in therapy would vary according to what areas of social communication your child struggles with. The speech and language therapist will consider your child’s needs, abilities goal and interests to create an individualised therapy programme that is engaging and constructive.
If your child struggles with changing their language according to where they are, the speech and language therapist may choose to work one to one with your child using social stories. If your child is struggling with conversation skills, the speech and language therapist may choose to set up a social communication group where your child is taught about conversational skills and given the opportunity to practice these skills in a safe and supporting environment.
Often the speech and language therapist may choose to work with you and the school to put into place resources and techniques that may help your child develop appropriate social communication skills.
Improvements made through social communication therapy
Social communication therapy can provide many benefits to your child’s communication, social interactions and daily activities. Benefits include:
- Aiding children to interact appropriately with others during play, conversation and in interactions.
- Helping children to develop meaningful friendships and relationships with peers.
- Increase in appropriate responses to situations and people.
- Increased understanding and use of non-verbal communication such as eye contact, tone of voice, volume and facial expressions.
- Increased awareness of social norms.
Social communication therapy can have a range of benefits for your child. It can help provide them with the necessary skills needed to communicate appropriately with others as well as understand the environment around them.