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Importance of Pragmatics:

Pragmatics is defined as the set of rules governing conversation and the social use of language.  This can include using polite words instead of demanding an action, learning how to express feelings.  It also aids in deciphering the true feelings behind what others are saying. Now most people do not think about the social rules of a society when they communicate with other people.  Pragmatics just come naturally to most people, we understand when to make eye contact and when not too.  We know to say please and thank you when we ask something.  But people with Autism do not instinctively know to do these things.  A person with autism may lack eye contact, or change a topic of a conversation quickly without the other person following.

         Pragmatic problems are the main communication problems that people with autism face.  In fact most of the diagnostic markers for diagnosing autism deal with pragmatics.  These markers that were found in Autistic Spectrum Disorders by Rita Jordan are as follows:

(a) marked impairment in the use of multiple nonverbal behaviors such as eye-to-eye gaze, facial expression, body postures, and gestures to regulate social interaction

(b) Failure to develop peer relationships appropriate to developmental level

(c) A lack of spontaneous seeking to share enjoyment, interests, or achievements with other people.

(d) Lack of social or emotional reciprocity (ASD appendix 2)





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This site was last updated 04/22/05