A Love for Words, a Passion for Pragmatics I have always loved words. What fascinated me was the manipulation of words to give the right amount of meaning and flavor to what I wanted to express. Words can be used to create connections between people, reflect emotions, promote goodwill, make strong statements, and soothe anger. In graduate school ... First Person on the Last Page
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First Person on the Last Page  |   January 01, 2009
A Love for Words, a Passion for Pragmatics
Author Notes
  • Adina Soclof, MS, CCC-SLP, is a parent educator and workshop instructor at Bellefaire Jewish Children’s Bureau and Team Communication Ventures in Cleveland, Ohio. Contact her at ateam6@mac.com.
    Adina Soclof, MS, CCC-SLP, is a parent educator and workshop instructor at Bellefaire Jewish Children’s Bureau and Team Communication Ventures in Cleveland, Ohio. Contact her at ateam6@mac.com.×
Article Information
Language Disorders / Social Communication & Pragmatics Disorders / First Person on the Last Page
First Person on the Last Page   |   January 01, 2009
A Love for Words, a Passion for Pragmatics
The ASHA Leader, January 2009, Vol. 14, 47. doi:10.1044/leader.FPLP.14012009.47
The ASHA Leader, January 2009, Vol. 14, 47. doi:10.1044/leader.FPLP.14012009.47
I have always loved words. What fascinated me was the manipulation of words to give the right amount of meaning and flavor to what I wanted to express. Words can be used to create connections between people, reflect emotions, promote goodwill, make strong statements, and soothe anger.
In graduate school I learned that my interest had a name—pragmatics, the use of language in social contexts by knowing what to say, how to say it, and when to say it.
As a new speech-language pathologist in hospital and preschool settings, I was drawn to SLPs, teachers, and professionals who formed an immediate rapport with clients and students. By observing their techniques and skills, I discovered the secrets of their success. For example, instead of asking, “Do you want to color?” an SLP said to a 4-year-old, “It’s time to color. Do you want markers or crayons?” Providing information and offering choices allowed the clinician to be in control and the child to feel engaged, and resulted in a more productive session.
After my husband and I had our first child, a friend recommended the book How To Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk. The authors, Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish, stress the importance of words in enhancing relationships with your child and provide techniques to accomplish this, such as reflecting feelings and using “I” statements instead of “you” statements.
When I decided to stay home after my fourth child, my home became my laboratory in using the tools outlined in this book, which had a tremendous influence on the well-being of my family. I joined a discussion group based on this book at the local Jewish child welfare organization and was later asked to lead a group.
Now I offer parent education workshops and teleconferences based on the original How to Talk book as well as How to Talk So Kids Can Learn at Home and at School. These tools give students the opportunity to develop higher-level language skills such as problem-solving and asking and answering questions. Many participants are teachers, physicians, SLPs, occupational therapists, and mental health professionals who want to use these techniques at home and work.
My love of words and background as an SLP has provided a professional niche as a parent educator and the reward of helping parents and professionals communicate more effectively with children.
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January 2009
Volume 14, Issue 1