Social communication problems

How we can help people with social communication problems

Social communication is the communication we use to appropriately interact with others around us. Individuals with social communication problems will find it difficult to interact and get on with others. Speech and language therapy helps to support and treat individuals with social communication problems, and can be very beneficial.

What is a social communication problem?

A social communication problem is a difficulty in getting on with others and understanding what they mean.

Communication is a means of expressing or receiving a message, idea, or thought. This can be through spoken, written or non-verbal (body language, tone of voice and facial expressions) forms of communication.

Social skills are a set of skills used by an individual in order to produce socially acceptable behaviour when interacting with others.

Individuals with social communication problems will have a difficulty in using social skills when communicating with others. Individuals with social communication problems often have difficulty with:

What conditions can cause social communication problems?

There are many conditions or disorders which can cause social communication problems in both children and adults, conditions in adults can include:

How is a social communication problem diagnosed?

Social communication problems are identified and diagnosed by a team of professionals including the speech and language therapist. An initial assessment will be carried out by the speech and language therapist. This initial assessment will identify if an individual has a social communication problem and also the severity of their social communication problem.

How can speech and language therapy help with social communication problems?

Speech and language therapy can treat and support individuals with social communication problems. Speech and language therapy will focus on maximising the individual’s ability to communicate effectively and appropriately with others.

The speech and language therapist will work with the individual, parents, carers and other professionals in helping to support an individual with social communication problems.

The speech and language therapist will deliver individualised treatment plans for each client. The type of treatment given will depend on many factors such as, the individual’s current and past communicative ability, their overall ability and their underlying condition or disorder.

What speech and language therapy treatment can benefit social communication problems?

There are many forms of speech and language therapy which can benefit social communication problems. The type of treatment given will be tailored to the individual’s specific needs and abilities.

Types of speech and language therapy treatments that are available for individuals with language delay and impairment can include:

Training

Training involves training for individuals, parents, carers and other professionals involved in the individual’s care, regarding their speech, language and communication needs.

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Consultative role

A consultative role will include advice and support for the individual, their parents, carers and other professionals involved in their care regarding their speech, language and communication needs. The speech and language therapist may also provide information on compensatory strategies for the patient and their carer or parent to help support and maximise their communicative abilities.

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Home programmes

Home programmes will include take home activities, which will help the patient and their parents or carers practise skills learnt in therapy. The speech and language therapist can provide home programmes on communication, for parents, carers and the individual, in helping them to maximise their communicative ability. School programmes can also be given to help support the individual in their educational environment.

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One to one therapy

One to one therapy will provide intensive one to one treatment for the individual. One to one therapy will work on individual tasks in helping to maximise the individual’s communication. One to one therapy can include receptive tasks, which work on the individual’s understanding of spoken language. One to one therapy may also work on expressive tasks, which work on the individual’s expressive communication including gesture and writing.

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Total communication

A total communication approach works on all available communicative forms the patient has including, verbal, written and non-verbal communication.

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Group therapy

Group therapy is where the individual and other clients with similar difficulties receive therapy together. Group therapy can often help in later stages of therapy and increase the individual’s motivation, social skills and also help generalise the skills learnt in one to one therapy.

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Augmentative and Alternative Communication

Augmentative and Alternative Communication systems will be used for patients with severe communication problems, or if the patient is non-verbal. Examples of alternative forms of communication include, alphabet charts, sign language and hi-tech voice aids.

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Speech and language therapy may also include the following:

Summary

A social communication problem is a difficulty in getting on with others and understanding what they mean. Social communication problems can affect children and adults of all ages and can be caused by a variety of conditions. The speech and language therapist will support and treat individuals with social communication problems. They will also support and advise parents / carers and other professionals to help maximise the individual’s social communication.

If you feel you may benefit from speech and language therapy or would like any more information on our services please email office@slt.co.uk or call 0330 088 5643.

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If you would like any more information on our training for other professionals or any of our other speech and language therapy services, or would like to book an appointment with one of our speech and language therapists then please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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