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Supporting Social Communication

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.

1. Social Stories

Social StoriesTM were created by Carol Gray in 1991. They are short descriptions of a particular situation, event or activity, which include specific information about what to expect in that situation and why.

2. Visual Aids

Visual aids can be used to help children understand spoken language as they provide extra visual clues. Visual aids can be particularly useful for children experiencing hearing and attention difficulties as well as difficulties understanding and using language.


3. Top Tips for Using People Games

People Games offer a special advantage for children with social communication
difficulties, who learn best through structure and repetition. As People Games are played the same way each time and often have a ‘script’ to say while playing, children with social communication difficulties can learn many things during these predictable games.

Who Can Help?

You can contact the Norfolk & Waveney Speech & Language Therapy Service by calling Just One Number on 0300 300 0123. Our opening hours are 8am-6pm Monday-Friday (excluding bank holidays) and 9am-1pm on Saturdays.

You can speak to other Norfolk parents and carers by clicking our online community forum below. 


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