Play Works for Social Communication Disorders

Social Communication Disorder: What is it and how is it diagnosed?

SCD encompasses problems with social interaction, social understanding and pragmatics. Pragmatics refers to using language in proper context. For example, it's important for children to develop the ability to use language differently when playing with, say a younger child versus a teacher. SCD is diagnosed based on difficulties with both verbal and non-verbal social communication skills. These skills include:

  • Responding to others
  • Taking turns while talking or playing
  • Talking about emotions and feelings
  • Staying on topic
  • Adjusting speech to fit different people or situations- for instance, talking differently to a young child versus an adult or lowering one's voice in a library
  • Asking relevant questions or responding with related ideas during a conversation
  • Using words for a variety of purposes such as greeting people, making comments, asking questions, making promises, etc.
  • Making and keeping friends

Gesturing is an important form of nonverbal social communication. A red flag for social communication disorder (and autism spectrum disorder) can be identified by just 12 months of age- the absence of gestures such as pointing and waving. Learn more at

Play Works provides individualized social communication therapy in both individual and group therapy environments, as well as our ongoing Play Social- Preschool and Play Social- School Aged intensive camps. Our social language programs are based on the work of Michelle Garcia Winner and team's The Incredible Flexible You and We Thinkers curriculum.

For our preschoolers, this interactive social learning group teaches children how to play with others, develop social skills, share an imagination, and improve attention.  Our school aged children with social language deficits including those diagnosed with high functioning autism, verbal and nonverbal learning disabilities, ADHD, and/or social anxiety may benefit from our school aged program. Social thinking skills ranging from perspective taking and interpreting and responding to the nuances of verbal and non-verbal communication will be taught.

Contact us to learn more regarding our programming!

Sarah McDonnell, MA CCC-SLP
Emily Mashburn