Pragmatic Language: Implications for Intervention with Higher-Functioning Students

Erin Riojas

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ASHA Course Number: ACEF0453
Course Credits: 0.3 ASHA CEUs (3 hours); Intermediate Level, Professional Area
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School-based SLPs play a strategic role in the assessment and treatment of students with deficits in pragmatic language skills. There are many factors that need to be considered following the assessment and determination of eligibility for services, including how school districts choose to utilize the skills and expertise of the SLP. Participants will review the defining characteristic of ASD and Social Language Disorder and have an opportunity to discuss strategies to assess and treat pragmatic language skills as part of a collaborative approach to intervention.

Instructor Information

Melanie W. Hudson
Melanie W. Hudson, M.A., CCC-SLP is the National Director at EBS Healthcare. She is an ASHA Fellow and a 2019 Distinguished Fellow of the National Academies of Practice (NAP). She has over 30 years of experience as a speech-language pathologist in public schools, private practice, and university settings. She served on the ASHA Board of Directors from 2016-2018 as Chair of the Speech-Language Pathology Advisory Council and on ASHA’s Board of Ethics. She also served on ASHA’s Board of Special Interest Group Coordinators as the Coordinator for Special Interest Group 11, Administration and Supervision, the 2013 Ad Hoc Committee on Supervision, and the 2018 Ad Hoc Committee for Governance Review. She is co-editor and chapter author for the 4th edition of “Professional Issues in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology” (Lubinski & Hudson; Delmar, Cengage Learning, 2013; Plural Publishing, 2018) and chapter author of “The Clinical Education and Supervisory Process in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology” (McCrea & Brasseur, Slack, Inc., 2019). She is a former President of the Georgia Speech-Language and Hearing Association and received their Honors of the Association, and the Hull Leadership Award. She currently serves on the Georgia Board of Examiners for Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology. Melanie presents nationally on a variety of topics related to professional issues including supervision, ethics, and service delivery in the school-based setting.

Financial Disclosure: Other than being paid as an employee of EBS Healthcare, Melanie has no other relevant financial relationships to disclose.
Non-Financial Disclosure: Melanie has no other non-financial information to disclose.

Learner Objectives

At the conclusion of this course, participants will be able to:

  1. Explain the difference between ASD and a Social Communication Disorder, as defined in the DSM-5.
  2. Use a checklist of pragmatic language skills as part of a dynamic assessment.
  3. Discuss intervention strategies for treatment as part of a collaborative approach to intervention.


  • 27 minutes: Introduction and Overview
  • 21 minutes: Differentiation: ASD and Social Communication Disorder
  • 22 minutes: IDEA and Eligibility for School-Based Services
  • 23 minutes: Identification and Assessment of Pragmatic Language Deficits
  • 26 minutes: Dynamic/Ongoing Assessment Using a Team Approach
  • 29 minutes: Intervention Strategies Using a Team Approach
  • 27 minutes: Group Discussion​
  • 1 minute: Wrap-Up