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Social communication disorder: a narrative review on current insights

Authors Topal Z, Demir Samurcu N, Taskiran S, Tufan AE, Semerci B

Received 14 August 2017

Accepted for publication 16 May 2018

Published 13 August 2018 Volume 2018:14 Pages 2039—2046

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/NDT.S121124

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Colin Mak

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Roger Pinder


Zehra Topal,1 Nuran Demir Samurcu,2 Sarper Taskiran,3 Ali Evren Tufan,4 Bengi Semerci5

1Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Hakkari State Hospital, Hakkari, Turkey; 2Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Izzet Baysal Hospital for Maternity and Pediatric Disorder, Bolu, Turkey; 3Department of Psychiatry, Koc University Medical Faculty, Istanbul, Turkey; 4Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Abant Izzet Baysal University Medical Faculty, Bolu, Turkey; 5Department of Psychology, Bengi Semerci Institute, Hasan Kalyoncu University, Istanbul, Turkey

Abstract: Social communication disorder (SCD) is a novel diagnosis listed under the rubric of communication disorders within the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-5 (DSM-5) and it is reported to be characterized by impairment in use of verbal and nonverbal communication for social aims. This review attempts to summarize the current understanding of the SCD concept along with its evolution and presents data from previous studies conducted. Suggestions for further research are also delineated. As listed in DSM-5, the criteria for this novel diagnosis are vague, display elevated comorbidity with other neurodevelopmental disorders and other childhood psychopathologies, and show partial overlap with autistic spectrum disorders both in terms of genetics and family histories. Data on cross-cultural presentations and temporal stability are also limited. The social communication model proposed by Catani and Bambini may help integrate the neurobiological findings pertaining to SCD. Valid and reliable assessment methods need to be developed for SCD. This may involve either development of novel instruments capturing the DSM-5 criteria or application of statistical methods such as item response theory to existing instruments. The relationships between broad autism phenotype, pragmatic language impairment, nonverbal learning disorder, learning disorders, autistic spectrum disorders, and SCD should be evaluated with further studies.

Keywords: social communication disorder, pragmatics, autistic spectrum disorder, neuro­development

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