Pragmatic disorders and their social impact
Pragmatic disorders in children and adults have been the focus of clinical investigations for approximately 40 years. In that time, clinicians and researchers have established a diverse range of pragmatic phenomena that are disrupted in these disorders. Pragmatic deficits include problems with the use and understanding of speech acts, the processing of non-literal language, failure to adhere to Gricean maxims in conversation and discourse deficits. These deficits are found in several clinical populations including individuals with autistic spectrum disorders, schizophrenia, traumatic brain injury and right-hemisphere damage. However, what is less often investigated is the social impact of pragmatic disorders on the children and adults who are affected by them. In this paper, I examine what is known about pragmatic disorders in these clinical groups. I then consider the wider social consequences of these disorders, where consequences are broadly construed to include factors that act as indicators of social adjustment.
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