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Pragmatics is part of linguistics and studies the ways in which context contributes to the meaning of language. Unlike semantics, which looks at how meaning is contained in the words of a language, pragmatics studies how the meaning depends not only on knowledge of the words and their structure, but also on the context, and pre-existing knowledge.

The ability to understand another speaker's intended meaning is called pragmatic competence.


Children who have pragmatic language impairments have difficulty with language comprehension, telling stories and participating in conversations. They also have difficulties with jokes, puns and sarcasm. This can lead to further problems with integrating into the peer group and in keeping up in the classroom. Semantic pragmatic disorder affects knowing what to say and when to say it. Semantic pragmatic disorder may be part of Autism spectrum or Aspergers or an entirely separate condition.

How we can help

Our therapists can work with the teaching staff and sometimes directly with your child to provide advice and support to build on strengths and develop strategies to build social skills. If you are concerned about your child's social development it is important that you get them help. The longer you wait the further behind they will fall. Fortunately social skills can be learned so the earlier you get help the better.
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