Pragmatics and Autism

Pragmatics is the study of language in context and how it influences meaning. It is a subset of linguistics and has many applications in everyday communication. It also contributes to our understanding of autism and how children with social pragmatic deficits interact with others. Pragmatics includes the nonverbal aspects of communication such as facial expressions, eye contact, body posture, and tone of voice. In addition, it incorporates the use of slang and idioms in conversation as well as how a speaker intends to be understood.

Pragmatism became popular between 1880 and 1930 as linguists began to study language in the context of conversation and life. They argued that language is action and a part of human activity and that to understand it we must examine the context of its use in speech and action. They also claimed that a word has no intrinsic meaning but only a functional value and that the meaning of a word is determined by its context.

A pragmatist is one who uses practical considerations to make decisions. They are concerned with what works and what will have the best results in a particular situation. They are also concerned with achieving goals. This is a positive concept as it means that people are motivated to achieve results rather than to simply satisfy their own intellectual curiosity.

However, it is important to note that pragmatism has several flaws. The first is that just because something generates acceptable results doesn’t mean it is true. For example, telling a child there are invisible gremlins living in electrical outlets who will bite them if they touch them “works” by keeping the child from touching the outlets. It does not, however, imply that the gremlin theory is accurate.

Another flaw of pragmatism is that it is a form of relativism. It claims that there is no objective truth, and only what works for a particular person or group of people is the right way to do things. This translates to morality, politics, and business. For example, some slave owners used a pragmatic approach to morality to justify the treatment of Africans as property rather than as humans.

If you think your child has a pragmatic communication disorder, it is important to talk with your Speech-Language Pathologist. They can help evaluate your child for pragmatic language difficulties and recommend an appropriate plan of action. Keep in mind that pragmatic language evaluation is a difficult task because it requires a naturalistic approach that is not easily assessed by traditional standardized testing. It is also important to remember that not every child who has a pragmatic language deficit needs intervention. It may be better for your child to focus on their receptive and expressive language skills and that is okay!