Pragmatic skills and socio-emotional needs in children with developmental language disorder

Sabrina Turker, Debbie Pu, Kirrie Ballard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleOtherpeer-review


Children who exhibit severe difficulties in the expression and/or comprehension of language are considered to have a developmental language disorder (DLD). The language of children with DLD is characterized by numerous errors, demonstrated most frequently and severely in the areas of phonology and morphosyntax. Recently, it has been revealed that aspects of language not directly related to grammar, such as the social use of language, i.e., communicative skills, may pose difficulties as well. Therefore, the assessment of pragmatic and social emotional skills in these children is a rather recent and highly intriguing field of study that needs further investigation. In the present article, we discuss the necessity of assessing pragmatic and social emotional skills in children (especially with DLD). Moreover, we advocate for the consideration of individual differences in the social use of language in affected children and suggest that, primarily, skills that require the active use of language, e.g., the various aspects of turn taking and topic selection/maintenance/change, seem to be most challenging. Last, we discuss how teachers, parents, and peers can help prevent and overcome socioemotional needs of children with DLD.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)52-58
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 25 Aug 2021

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