Social Language Skills

Social language skills (also known as social communication or pragmatics) are crucial language skills that children need in order to navigate this world.

I feel these skills are getting a bit weaker with each generation due to increased technology use; however, we are here to help!

On this page, I will give a brief overview of different areas of social language skills and then some FREE and paid treatment materials that both therapists and parents can use. 

The American Speech and Hearing Association does a great job explaining the importance and use of social language. For those looking for a more in-depth review, please click here. For those short on time, I will do a quick review right now!

Social Language Skills Overview

In order to have strong social communication, a child must develop the following skills:

How/Why To Use Language

A child must know how to use language for a variety of purposes. These purposes include: greet, request, comment, share ideas, ask questions, etc...

This area needs to be directly taught to some children. For example, some children may be excellent at using language to greet friends/family and to ask questions; however, they may need intervention to teach them how to comment or share ideas.

Adapting Language (for people and or environment)

Adapting language can be especially difficult for some. When I say adapting language, I am referring to changing language (even grammar and vocabulary) when speaking with different people or speaking at different locations.

For example,

  • we talk differently to a toddler than we do to adults. 
  • we talk differently to our friends than a doctor.
  • we talk differently to a colleague about speech therapy (lots of jargon) than a new client or parent (a lot more background information/less jargon)
  • we talk differently to a colleague when out for coffee than when sitting in an IEP meeting

Following Social Rules

Many children pick up on and learn social rules just by going through life. Some children need to be directly taught these rules. 

Some examples of social rules include:

  • How to start/join a conversation
  • How to take turns in a conversation
  • How to maintain a conversation
  • How to use and read gestures/body language
  • How to use/read facial expressions

Social Language Treatment

Now, we have arrived to the good stuff!

A child or adult may need help in one or all three of the areas listed above. This information would come from informal observations across environments and/or a formal speech/language evaluation. 

Personally, social language is best taught in groups or within the least restrictive environment possible. However, the building blocks can also be taught in a very concrete manner during in-person and/or remote therapy. 

No-Print Social Language Resources

I have many new resources over at my Membership Site using real-life images! I have been using these resources to work on identifying emotions and formulating comments/questions as well expressive grammar and vocabulary. The real-life photos have been a hit and I like the ease of planning (same resources to target many different goals!)

If you are a member, please log in here.

For being here, I have 2 free resources for you! Click the images below to grab a free deck!

Need more materials?

Membership !

If you want to become a member and access the other 8 decks AND 1,200 other materials for ONLY $10, please click the link below. 


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