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Difficulties with Using Language Appropriately in Context

There are lots of complicated rules about how we use language.

These rules can be quite subtle. Sometimes the rules can change depending on the situation or who we are talking with.

This area of language is called 'pragmatics'.

Non-verbal skills

Non-verbal skills are an important part of communication. These include:

  • Making appropriate eye contact.
  • Not standing too close or too far from someone.
  • Doing things like nodding to show we are listening.
  • Using appropriate body language and facial expressions.

These skills become more sophisticated as children grow older and have more experiences.

Some children have difficulty in understanding or using non-verbal skills. This can affect their communication development and impact on them socially.

Conversational Skills

When talking with others, there are many things we need to consider. For example, we need to:

  • Be able to start and finish a conversation well.
  • Take turns and not interrupt.
  • Be aware of what our listener already knows or how they might be feeling.
  • Change the conversation well.
  • Be relevant.
  • Be aware of the situation and who we are talking to.

Some children may have difficulty understanding and using these 'rules'.

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