Pragmatic Skills in All Individuals With ASD Discussion

Please answer the following question:

What are pragmatics? Why do you think it is essential to address pragmatic skills in all individuals with ASD?

Respond to student discussion. DO NOT include discussion with question.

(Iwona) Pragmatic language refers to social language used on daily basis and looks beyond the literal meaning of an utterances. Pragmatics focuses on implied meanings. It considers language as an instrument of interaction, what people mean when they use language and how we communicate and understand each other. Pragmatics include not only what we say, but how we say it, as well as non-verbal communication (eye contact, body language, facial expressions).

Most individuals with ASD will miss these pragmatic cues during social situations. They tend to take things literally and do not understand the meaning behind words or phrases. This causes difficulties during group work with peers, and any social interaction at school, home, community and later on at a work place. It is essential to teach pragmatics to individuals with ASD through modeling, peer interactions, turn taking games, social-skills and life-skills.

What is Pragmatics?. Retrieved on May 27, 2019 from

(Krista)“Pragmatics is what helps individuals engage in social connection with others.” (Vicker, 2009). Pragmatics is what allows people to engage in conversation, build friendships and be social with other people. It is essential to address Pragmatic skills with ASD individuals because social interactions along with communication are skills that most ASD individuals are lacking. When using a device or another AAC pragmatics are lost due to the nature of the AAC. Teaching and addressing these skills help to create better communicators is essential. Even if it is with an AAC device teaching the individual how to engage in a social interaction.

Vicker, B. (2009). Meeting the challenge of social pragmatics with students on the autism spectrum. [online] IIDC – Indiana Institute on Disability and Community. Available at:

(Jessica)This question made me giggle because I was just discussing pragmatics with the SLP-A that I work closely with and pushes into my classroom often. We were discussing how out of the 8 students on my roster she sees (I have 10 students total), all of them have a goal related to pragmatics. We were discussing students that will be transitioning into my classroom for next school year and how their pragmatic communication skills compare without having a pragmatic goal. I am the lead teacher of the life skills/vocational program for high functioning ASD students in 8th to 12th grade. Academically, my students range from a pre-kindergarten to 4th grade ability level but I can group them appropriately within my room. Socially, all my students are about the same level. With my students (most of them) having ASD or ID they have difficulty taking turns in conversations, participating in a topic that is uninteresting to them, ability to identify another tone (i.e. joking, sadness, happiness, etc.). Addressing pragmatic skills is important for ALL individuals to receive, but extremely important for individuals with ASD to have instruction and practice with, especially the older they get. An individual with ASD will need to understand in a basic form pragmatics to function in society.


Read “Meeting the Challenge of Social Pragmatics with Students on the Autism Spectrum,” located on the Indiana University Bloomington website.

Read “Social Skills Interventions: Getting to the Core of Autism,” by Foden, located on the Interactive Autism Network website.

Read “Social Skills and Autism,” by Kuster, located on the Austism Speaks website.