Posts

games to promote social language

Games That Encourage The Social Use Of Language

As the English poet John Donne once wrote, “No man is an island,” and there is perhaps no place that this is truer than in the midst of an uninhibited child. When it comes to infants, toddlers, and children, social skills may be overlooked in greater anticipation of word production, following directions, and academic success. However, engaging with peers provides children a myriad of opportunities to build receptive, expressive, and pragmatic (social) language.

The use of social language, or pragmatic language, includes the following 3 domains:

  • Using language for different purposesgames to promote social language
  • Modifying language
  • Following rules for conversation

Some purposes of language include telling, requesting, and greeting (I have a ball/I want a ball/hello). Modifying language includes being able to change the message depending on who the communication partner is and where the conversation is taking place. For example, children greet their grandparents differently than they greet their friends. Rules of conversation include maintaining eye contact, taking turns in conversation, repairing communication breakdowns, using gestures and facial expressions, and maintaining a topic.

Here are some games that encourage social language and interaction with peers:

Games for younger children:

  • Pat-a-cake
  • Singing songs that include gestures (Wheels on the Bus, Itsy Bitsy Spider, Row Row Row your Boat, etc.)
  • Peek-a-boo
  • Duck Duck Goose

Games for school-aged children:

  • Go Fish
  • Zingo
  • Candyland
  • Chutes and Ladders
  • Tag

Encourage turn taking, requesting, asking questions, repairing communication break downs, and eye contact during play of these games.

Time spent with peers gives children the opportunity to utilize language in a social way. Other children can be great models of language and social skills. Your child will receive real-world practice with skills such as sharing, being flexible, compromising, taking turns, recognizing others’ opinions and feelings, and expressing their own thoughts and ideas.

New Call-to-action

NSPT offers speech and language services in BucktownEvanstonHighland ParkLincolnwoodGlenview and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!

Social Language Use (Pragmatics). Retrieved from

http://www.asha.org/public/speech/development/Pragmatics/

Peer pressure

Social Thinking: Improving social skills to enhance socio-emotional health

What is social thinking?

Social thinking is what we do when we interact with people. For successful social interactions, it is important that the individual take in and process information embedded in both verbal and non-verbal cues and process how to effectively respond based on the context and topic of presented material. Joint attention, knowledge of expectations regarding behavior, and mental flexibility are all key components for appropriate social relationships. When a child has difficulty with focus, understanding the context of the environment around them, and lacks knowledge of how their behaviors make others feel, social thinking may be impaired.

Social skills deficits can have profound effects on your child’s academic performance, feelings about self, ability to connect with others, and achieve desired wants and needs. Breaking down the components of the social uses of language can help children navigate their social environments and various contexts. For example, children talk differently to their siblings than they would talk to peers at school and might present their anger at mom differently than they would present to their classroom teacher. To enhance the social skills, pragmatic language and engagement in expected behaviors can be targeted by both social workers and speech-Peer pressurelanguage pathologists.

For pragmatic language development, the speech pathologist works towards child comprehension of the context and function of a message and how to use language in social situations, such as turn taking, staying on topic, and how to use verbal and non-verbal signals. In terms of enhancing social relationships, the social worker aids the child in understanding the context of their environment and provides education for impulse control, how to evaluate potential outcomes to enhance positive choice-making, and how various behaviors impact individuals around them.

What you can do at home to improve social thinking

  1. Teach expectations of behavior. If a child can begin to associate engagement in positive behaviors with positive responses from others, and overall enhanced feelings of self as the result, they can then come to recognize the impact of their behavior on others. This can foster increased positive decision-making as they begin to make connections with how their behaviors affect them and those around them. For example, if the child complies with an adult directive, the parent feels happy and may offer praise and positive attention thereby making the child feel good and reaffirms that this choice is the correct choice given the situation.
  2. Differentiate between contexts. Teach your child that what is permissible and “expected” at home may not always be the same across the board. Define what behaviors are appropriate in a variety of situations and explain to your child why these changes exist. For example, you may be able to negotiate your wants and needs at home with your parents but at school, you need to listen and follow teacher directives.
  3. Role Play Scenarios. Practice different situations that allow your child to see the implications of their behavior. Play with your child to model real-life scenarios that would elicit both positive and negative reactions to learn about the interrelation between behavior and emotion. For example, “How would you feel if Tommy took away your toys?” Asking your child how Tommy could make him feel happy or excited about spending time together can help teach appropriate decision-making and modes of interaction.






 

Child with speech bubble

What is Pragmatic Language?

How do you know where to stand when having a conversation? Who taught you to change your voice when talking to a principal or a baby? When did you learn about conversational turn-taking? These innate skills come naturally to some; however, others struggle with what is commonly referred to as pragmatic language. Pragmatics, expressive (or spoken) language, and receptive (or the understanding of) language comprise the three tiers of language. Pragmatic language can be thought of as the “rules of language,” and it is a group of skills some children need to learn, much like reading and writing.

WHAT ARE THE RULES OF LANGUAGE?

  • Child with speech bubbleUsing Language: We use language to greet one another (e.g., “Hi, how was your day?”), to inform or explain important facts (e.g., “I’m hungry”), and to request or make wants/needs known (e.g., “Can I have the iPad?”). Children will quickly learn that using language can be helpful to get wants/needs met, while yelling/screaming will not produce the same results.
  • Changing Language: It is important to alter our language depending on environment and audience. Children will adjust their message depending on their needs, the needs of their communicative partner, the age of their partner (e.g., talking to a baby differently than talking to your principal), and based on their environment (e.g., yelling on the playground is acceptable, but yelling in the classroom is not).
  • Following the Rules: Understanding the rules of conversation can be just as important as the message itself. Children will learn that we take turns in conversation and that it is important to wait for the right time to ask questions/make comments. During conversations it is important to stay on topic, read both verbal and non-verbal cues, and to understand personal space boundaries.

Children struggling with the rules of language may benefit from direct instruction on how to engage others in a social setting or how to participate in a conversation. The extent to which children follow the rules will relate to their success in a social setting. With so many things to think about during social interactions, it’s no wonder that some children struggle! If any of the aforementioned components sound like your child, a licensed speech-language pathologist can help!






Social Thinking: Improving Social Skills to Enhance Socio-Emotional Health

What is social thinking?

Social thinking is what we do when we interact with people. For successful social interactions, it is important that the individual take in and process information embedded in both verbal and non-verbal cues and process how to effectively respond based on the context and topic of presented material. Joint attention, knowledge of expectations regarding behavior, and mental flexibility are all key components for appropriate social relationships.

What happens when social skills are impaired?

When a child has difficulty with focus, understanding the context of the environment around them, and lacks knowledge of how their behaviors make others feel, social thinking may be impaired. Social skills deficits can have profound effects on your child’s academic performance, feelings about self, ability to connect with others, and ability to achieve desired wants and needs. Read more