Communication, Language and Speaking – The Social Skill Art of Conversation – Occupational Therapy Family Services, LLC
Before we dive into this topic, we must define a few key words.
What is communication?
- The definition according to the oxford dictionary is “the imparting or exchanging of information or news.”
What is language?
- The definition according to the oxford dictionary is “the principal method of human communication, consisting of words used in a structured and conventional way and conveyed by speech, writing, or gesture”
What is speaking?
- The definition according to the oxford dictionary “the action of conveying information or expressing one’s thoughts and feelings in spoken language”
These three are essential for human interaction. How we speak and communicate varies depending on the audience i.e., how we speak to our family differs from how we speak to friends which differs from how we speak to coworkers, colleagues or strangers. Think about this for a second – how differently do you speak to each of these audiences? Think about how you speak to your children?
Do you find communication difficult? Communication is often hard for children with social difficulties such as those children who identify on the spectrum or with ADHD.
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Social skills are the skills we use to communicate and interact with each other each and every day. Communication isn’t just verbal but also nonverbal through gestures and body language.
Communication has seven components
- To greet individuals
- To inform people about things
- Make demands
- Request or make needs known
- Adaptability – adapt the language to meet the needs of the listener or situation
- Following the unspoken rules of communication – taking turns, eye contact with the speaker, standing/sitting at an appropriate distance, using appropriate tone and pitch
How can you tell if your child has problems with social communication?
If a child has difficulties with social communication, they might
- Interrupt others when talking
- Have poor eye contact
- Have difficulty understanding another person’s point of view
- Dominate the conversation
- Tell stories in a disorganized way
- Be unaware of personal space and standing too close
- Have difficulty remaining on topic in conversation
- Easily distracted with the environment
- Have difficulty understanding the other person’s point of view
What can be done to improve social communication skills?
- Social Skill Groups work on building the skill of communication through role-play, engagement with peers and practice
- Occupational Therapy Family Services, LLC has 4 week social skills class on the topic of communication skills.
4 Week Series on Conversational Skills April 15-May 6
5:30-6:15 Ages 5-8
6:30-7:15 Ages 9-13
4 Week Series on Conversational Skills April 10-May 1
9:00-9:45am on Saturdays Ages 5-8
10-10:45am on Saturdays Ages 9-13
What other activities can help improve social communication?
- Taking turns through games: Taking turns through board games is a great way to teach the child about winning and losing. Here are some of our favorites.
- Facial Expressions: Utilize facial expressions to help convey emotions and feelings
- Puppets: Puppets can help child children act out various situations and activities
You could also make your own puppets out of paper bags and craft supplies.
- Social Stories: Social stories can help show child how to behave or respond in certain situations
- Books: Here are a few of our favorite books about communication
- Role Play: Engage in role play activities that act out various social activities such as going to the park, visiting grandparents or going to the doctor
Kid Sense. (2020). Retrieved from: https://childdevelopment.com.au/areas-of-concern/play-and-social-skills/social-communication-pragmatics/
Occupational Therapy Family Services, LLC