Care Speech Pathology

Social Communication Disorder

It is estimated that Social Communication Disorder (SCD) affects up to 7.5% of children. Males are diagnosed more frequently than females. If your child is diagnosed with Social Communication Disorder, it is important to know you are not alone. Families around the country are supporting children or adolescents with Social Communication Disorder every day. The good news is, speech pathologists in Australia are specially trained to improve social communication skills, by using evidence-based intervention.

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Social Communication Disorder

At Care Speech Pathology, we know how to help.

You have probably noticed a range of subtle (and some not-so-subtle) signs if your child has Social Communication Disorder. These might include some or several of the following:

  • Difficulty initiating or continuing conversations

  • Difficulty sticking to a topic in conversation

  • Difficulty responding to others in a socially appropriate way

  • Difficulty expressing themselves in a socially appropriate way

  • Difficulty joining or leaving conversations in a socially appropriate way

  • Using limited or repetitive vocabulary in social interactions

  • Difficulty taking turns in conversations (they may interrupt others)

  • Difficulty interpreting and using non-verbal communication and cues (such as body language, facial expressions, gestures and emotions)

  • Difficulty understanding humour, sarcasm or non-literal language

  • Tendency to interpret things literally

  • Difficulty adjusting their language to different social contexts

  • Difficulty viewing things from another person’s perspective

  • Difficulty making and keeping friendships

  • Using particular words or phrases repetitively

  • Difficulty with changes to routine

  • Difficulty with terms of politeness (apologies, greetings)

  • Difficulty using appropriate tone of voice

What is Social Communication Disorder?

What is  Social Communication Disorder?

Social Communication Disorder is a communication disorder that is characterised by persistent difficulties with using verbal and nonverbal language for social purposes. These difficulties might relate to social interaction, social understanding, language processing, or a combination of these.

Children and adults with Social Communication Disorder may experience emotional effects, such as frustration, anxiety or relationship challenges, due to their social and communication challenges. Daily tasks and occupations that require effective or collaborative communication can also be impacted. Overall, an individual’s wellbeing can be significantly impacted. It is not uncommon for people with Social Communication Disorder to have other conditions as well, such as learning disorders or anxiety disorders.

How can we help People with  Social Communication Disorder?

At Care Speech Pathology, our therapists play a crucial role in the assessment and treatment of Social Communication Disorder.


We will start by completing an assessment to evaluate the child or adolescent’s social communication skills, the severity of any difficulties and how they are impacting their ability to socialise and connect with others. This assessment may include interviewing or surveying people close to the person, standardised or informal assessments, and observations of their social communication in different contexts.


We can then plan individualised goals and treatment for based on the individual’s specific strengths and needs. Treatment may target conversation skills, understanding nonverbal cues, using appropriate social language, adapting communication to different contexts and understanding others’ perspectives and figurative language. This may be done through various approaches such as explicit teaching, role-playing, social stories, video modelling, and other interactive techniques. We will adapt intervention to meet your child’s interests and attention abilities.


We can work collaboratively with the child or adolescent, their family, their health team and their educators to provide strategies for support at home, at school or even at work.

Remember: Early intervention, tailored support, and appropriate therapy can help individuals with Social Communication Disorder develop coping strategies, improve their communication skills, and enhance their overall quality of life.

The Hagen Program
Speech Pathology Austrialia
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