| | posted on:Learning Disability


“Pragmatics is the area of language function that embraces the use of language in social contexts (knowing what to say, how to say it, and when to say it- and how to “be” with other people). (Caroline Bowen, 2001)

Semantic Pragmatic Disorder (SPD) is a linguistic term used to describe a set of abnormal language and communication developmental features, whose behaviours may “shade into autism at one extreme and normality at the other”, with “unclear boundaries and differing outcomes over time” (Bishop and Rosenbloom, 1987, Bishop and Norbury, 2000).
Children with semantic and pragmatic disorders may use their language for a more restricted range of purposes than the rest of us, such as asking, directing, recounting experiences, imagining and predicting. They may also display some mild behaviours and features of autism coupled with the language difficulties too.


  • poor language processing, use and understanding
  • literality
  • parrot talk (echolalia ) and copied phrases (scripted language )
  • repetition (perseveration ) and incessant chatter
  • poor turn taking and difficulty maintaining a topic of conversation
  • social difficulties, knowing how to be with people

  • difficulty responding to questions
  • talks around a subject rather than about it
  • • younger children tend to speak in jargon with wrong or inadequate words (semantic paraphasias) or made up words (semantic neologisms )