Social communication refers to the social use of language and the ability to use and interpret language and behaviour with others, in order to have successful communication. This can be divided into verbal or non-verbal communication (e.g. body language, eye contact), social understanding and being able to use and understand language.
Not all children who have difficulties with communicating and interacting with others have a diagnosis of Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD). ASD is a neurodevelopmental condition that can affect a child’s ability to relate with the world impacting their communication, their social interaction, their behaviour and interests as well as sensory difficulties (restrictive and repetitive behaviours). It can include a wide range of developmental differences and looks different in every child; this is why it is commonly referred to as a spectrum. Some children can present with social communication difficulties but do not have other features associated with a diagnosis of ASD.
A social communication difficulty can affect a child’s speech, social communication skills, their ability to understand others and their ability to express what they are thinking or feeling.
A child’s speech, language and communication difficulties may be more complex and therefore other means of communication may need to be introduced such as Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC). This is any other form of communication besides speech such as signing, pictures, symbols and technological aids.