My friend lives in a world by himself.
Sometimes, he lets me join him.
Sometimes, he doesn’t.

My friend is like the sun.
Sometimes, he shines.
Sometimes, he disappears to a place I can’t see.

My friend is like a puppy dog.
Sometimes, he listens to what I say.
Sometimes, he just doesn’t understand.

My friend is like Abraham Lincoln.
Sometimes, people are amazed by his honesty.
Sometimes, they are angered by it.

My friend is like an Encyclopedia.
Sometimes, all his knowledge is very impressive.
Sometimes, I get bored and want to put him aside.

My friend lives in a world by himself.
Sometimes, I invite him to join my world.
Sometimes, he joins for awhile.


Interpersonal communication between people within a social setting involves both speaking and listening. Effective communicators also have an understanding of how body language, facial expression, intonation, volume, tone of voice, and all the non-speaking parts of communicating impact a message. Breakdowns in social communication occur when people are limited in their understanding and use of these aspects of social interchange. Basically, when teaching these skills, it is important focus how a person verbally and non-verbally is expressing him/herself as well as how he/she is comprehending the message other people are actually saying- not just the concrete meaning of the words selected. One great website for supporting social/pragmatic communication therapy is Also, check out the My Favorite Applications section of this website for lots of products regarding communication.


Verbal Expression

In terms of speaking, one big problem that occurs among some (but not all) of these kids is mumbled and unclear speech. In some cases, the child has difficulty with certain sounds or has difficulty moving from sound to sound. That is an articulation problem that must be addressed. But in many cases, kids are continually difficult to understand, although they can articulate clearly when pressured. These children lack an awareness of listener needs and assume listeners understand them. It often doesn’t occur to them that they are not being understood, unless the listener tells them. For these students, I have laid out four rules for clear speech. Beside each rule, I hand draw a picture. Then, when the child is speaking unclearly, I name the specific rule that he/she needs to follow based on the rule(s) being broken. The rules are:
Speaking Rules

A second problem that can occur with verbal expression is TOO MUCH!!!! There is so much detail without actually making a point. Here are a few tips:

  1. Talk to your child about this problem in a kind, non-judgmental way. Try to work out a plan for what to do. One idea is to agree on a signal that means “stop talking.” When you give that signal to your child, he/she will know to stop.

  2. Make a stop light. Red = STOP, you're talking too much. Yellow = START talking carefully and pay attention to the listener. Green/yellow stripes = continue talking, but remember to TAKE TURNS.

  3. Before your child starts talking about his favorite subject (or when you become aware that he/she is over-explaining), encourage him/her to back up and tell you, the listener, what general subject he/she is talking about. You are teaching him/her to name the “big picture” before going into detail, a much better way to communicate effectively.

  4. Make several file cards that contain the word LONG or SHORT. Ask a question about a favorite subject, and have your child select a file card. That’s the kind of answer he/she has to give (helps child distinguish long vs short). Make a game and reward when he/she executes the activity properly. You can pick file cards too, and model responses that match the word, or intentionally make mistakes and see if your child notices.

  5. Work on fun games that help your child chunk information. Tribond, Jr. and Scattegories Jr. are two board games that address categories. But you can just make up your own game. "Apples, oranges and bananas are…" OR "What is the title? Mouse, keyboard, modem, screen" (title: computer) or "McDonalds, Burger King, Taco Bell, Arby’s." (title: fast food restaurants)

  6. Check out the descriptive scales. There are a couple of scales that address the quantity of speech a person provides.

Another problem that occurs among some children (and adults) is having a very flat affect, rarely going up or down in intonation. It’s hard by the way they sound and look to accurately gauge how they are feeling. Here are a couple of ideas:

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Listening and Listening Comprehension

Many kids with social pragmatic language disorders have difficulty listening. Additionally, their body posture and eye gaze might give speakers the impression they are not listening, even if they are. This is an error in communication that leaves a poor impression. There are several ways to work on listening comprehension.

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