Social communication disorder is a “new” diagnosis that was recognized in 2013. It includes a few, but not all the symptoms commonly associated with autism spectrum disorder. Social communication disorder is often considered a milder version of autism.
Here are some of the criteria for diagnosing social communication disorder
- Deficits when using communication for a social purpose, like greeting a person or sharing information, in a manner which is appropriate for that particular social context.
- Inability to change the communication for matching the context or according to the requirements of the listener, like speaking differently on a playground than inside a classrrom environment, avoiding the use of extra-formal language.
- Difficulty to follow the accepted rules for storytelling and conversation, like taking turns to speak, rephrasing the words if they are misunderstood, and knowing the use of both nonverbal and verbal signals for regulating the interaction.
- Difficulty to understand what is not clearly stated, like drawing an inference.
- Difficulty in understanding humor, metaphors, idioms, and words that may have several meanings.
All these deficits lead to functional limitations to involve in social participation, carry out effective communication, and in academic achievement and occupational performance. The symptoms of social communication disorder manifests in the early development period. The deficits, however, usually don’t become apparent at a later stage when the social demands of communication exceed the limited capabilities.