Educational advocacy, learning disabilities advocacy     Internet Special Education Resources
Special Education & Learning Disabilities Resources: A Nationwide Directory

Better Conversation Week

by Stephanie Barry, M.S., CCC-SLP of Independent Speech, LLC.
Better conversation week is November 22-28. When interacting with friends, family, coworkers, etc., there are many subtle, underlying communication skills needed to have effective social communication or conversations. These skills are known as pragmatic language. Pragmatic language skills can be broken down into three areas:

1) Using Language - this refers to the different ways we use language to communicate including (but not limited to);

  • Informing - providing information to our listener
  • Requesting - asking our listener for something
  • Greeting - saying "hello" or "goodbye"
  • Promising - letting someone know we are going to do something for them

2) Changing Language - this refers to the way we adjust our communication to fit our listener.

  • We would speak differently to a toddler than we would to an adult by:
  • altering our voice, word choice, level of explanation etc
  • We also change our communication style to fit the situation as we would speak differently in a nice restaurant than we would on the playground. We would speak differently at a football game than we would at the library.

3) Following Rules of social language help us interact appropriately in a variety of situations and people. These include things such as:

  • taking turns during conversations
  • staying on topic or changing topics
  • reading facial expressions, gestures, etc.
  • using verbal and nonverbal cues
  • making appropriate eye contact
  • repairing communication breakdowns

Of course, these are just a few examples of social interaction skills. We are always working to improve our communication skills and may feel awkward or unsure in a new situation or with a new person. Most people are able to read the social cues and are able to adjust their communication skills to fit the situation and listener.

If these awkward conversations happen frequently and/or in more familiar situations or with familiar people the person may be experiencing a pragmatic language disorder/deficit. If this is a concern, a speech-language evaluation can determine if a pragmatic disorder is present and if so what areas the person would benefit from therapy. Body Content

Stephanie Barry, M.S., CCC-SLP
Speech-Language Pathologist and Educational Consultant
Tel: 602-793-2958

Disclaimer: Internet Special Education Resources (ISER) provides this information in an effort to help parents find local special education professionals and resources. ISER does not recommend or endorse any particular special education referral source, special educational methodological bias, type of special education professional, or specific special education professional.


Educational advocacy, learning disabilities advocacy     Return to ISER Home