Social Communication Disorder

Impaired By Communication

Social communication disorder is a neurodevelopmental disorder that presents in early childhood. It involves persistent difficulties in the social use of verbal and nonverbal communication. Children have difficulties with social participation, relationships or occupational performance.

Academic achievement may also present as a difficulty; ineffective communication impairs the learning environment, increases distractions and makes it harder to properly learn. The symptoms may become apparent at a very young age, but may not fully manifest until social communication on a consistent basis is required.

Children with social communication disorder struggle to use effective communication that is appropriate for a specific social context. They may have trouble with greetings, sharing information or understanding non-literal uses of language and nonverbal communication. This behavior increases their chances of not making many friends from a young age.

Children may also have difficulty in adapting their communication to the appropriate environmental context, such as speaking differently in a classroom where learning is expected, versus a playground where having fun is expected. They may also speak with an adult in the same manner as they speak with other children, not knowing how to adapt their communication.

They also have difficulty taking turns in conversation; instead, they may keep talking at inappropriate and awkward times, annoying other children and making them lose interest. They may also have difficulty with expressions, not knowing how to use verbal and nonverbal signals to regulate interactions.

If not explicitly spoken to, children with social communication disorder struggle to make inferences and understand non-literal meanings of language, such as humor, jokes or metaphors. This usually causes awkwardness and may even make the child prone to bullying or teasing by his or her peers.

Social communication disorder is not caused by another medical or neurological condition and is not attributable to autism, intellectual disability or another mental disorder.

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