J Korean Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry.  2017 Oct;28(4):192-196. 10.5765/jkacap.2017.28.4.192.

Clinical Implications of Social Communication Disorder

  • 1Dr. Shin's Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinic, Seoul, Korea. leeshin@netsgo.com


Social (pragmatic) communication disorder (SCD) is a new diagnosis included under communication disorders in the neurodevelopmental disorders section of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-5. SCD is defined as a primary deficit in the social use of nonverbal and verbal communication. SCD has very much in common with pragmatic language impairment, which is characterized by difficulties in understanding and using language in context and following the social rules of language, despite relative strengths in word knowledge and grammar. SCD and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are similar in that they both involve deficits in social communication skills, however individuals with SCD do not demonstrate restricted interests, repetitive behaviors, insistence on sameness, or sensory abnormalities. It is essential to rule out a diagnosis of ASD by verifying the lack of these additional symptoms, current or past. The criteria for SCD are qualitatively different from those of ASD and are not equivalent to those of mild ASD. It is clinically important that SCD should be differentiated from high-functioning ASD (such as Asperger syndrome) and nonverbal learning disabilities. The ultimate goals are the refinement of the conceptualization, development and validation of assessment tools and interventions, and obtaining a comprehensive understanding of the shared and unique etiologic factors for SCD in relation to those of other neurodevelopmental disorders.


Social communication disorder; Pragmatic language impairment; Autism spectrum disorder

MeSH Terms

Autism Spectrum Disorder
Communication Disorders
Learning Disorders
Neurodevelopmental Disorders
Social Communication Disorder*
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