Integrating language, pragmatics, and social intervention in a single-subject case study of a child with a developmental social communication disorder.


Purpose: This clinical focus article presents an illustration of a complex communication intervention, the Social Communication Intervention Programme (SCIP), as delivered to a child who has a social communication disorder (SCD). The SCIP intervention combined language processing and pragmatic and social understanding therapies in a program of individualized therapy activities and in close liaison with families. Method: The study used an enhanced AB single-subject design in which an 8-year-old child with an SCD participated in 20 therapy sessions with a specialist speech-language pathologist. A procedure of matching assessment findings to intervention choices was followed to construct an individualized treatment program. Examples of intervention content and the embedded structure of SCIP are illustrated. Observational and formal measurements of receptive and expressive language, conversation, and parent-teacher ratings of social communication were completed before therapy, after therapy, and at a 6-month follow-up session. Results: Outcomes revealed change in total and receptive language scores but not in expressive language. Conversation showed marked improvement in responsiveness, appreciation of listener knowledge, turn taking, and adaptation of discourse style. Teacher-reported outcomes included improved classroom behavior and enhanced literacy skills. Parent-reported outcomes included improved verbal interactions with family members and personal narratives. Conclusions: This clinical focus article demonstrates the complexity of needs in a child with an SCD and how these can be addressed in individualized intervention. Findings are discussed in relation to the essential nature of language support including pragmatic therapy for children with SCDs. Discussion of the role of formal and functional outcome measurement as well as the proximity of chosen outcomes to the intervention is included.