Human communication depends mostly on the conversion of ideas into language, involving the interaction among all its components – phonological, semantic, syntactic and pragmatic. Pragmatics studies the relationship between the social meaning of language and its semantic content, expressed by the communicative act itself. Auditory neuropathy spectrum disorder generates a dyssynchrony in nerve conduction, contributing to an impairment in speech perception. In hearing impaired children the language acquisition and development process can be stimulated with intervention. The aim of this study was to present a longitudinal follow-up of the use of pragmatic communication abilities by a child with auditory neuropathy spectrum disorder. The child received speech-language pathology therapy during three years in the Educational Audiology area. Video recordings of spontaneous conversation were made in the beginning of each year. These recordings were transcribed and analyzed according to the verbal communicative abilities protocol. In the initial recording, the most frequent ability presented by the child was the direct response; however these were extended to more complex responses during the intervention. In the last recording the child proposes new topics of discourse, produce narratives and arguments. The emergence of more sophisticated communication skills is justified by the language development, which benefits from language therapy with hearing impaired children. This suggests that, for the case study described, speech-language pathology therapy contributed to the improvement of pragmatic communication abilities.
The aim of this research was to describe the language intervention process of two brothers with pervasive developmental disorders, through a longitudinal clinical case study. Two brothers – one nine and the other 11 years old – participated in the study. Subjects had diagnosis of autism (Case 1) and pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified (Case 2), respectively. As a procedure for data collection and analysis, a longitudinal study was carried out through a follow up of the cases during the four years of language therapy. The procedure included filmed therapy sessions, documental analysis of information contained in the patients’ records regarding anamnesis, assessments and therapeutic reports, and multidisciplinary evaluations and exams. In both cases there was an improvement on visual contact, social interaction, vocabulary and symbolic play. For Case 1, there was an increase from 2.0 to 6.2 communicative acts per minute; for Case 2, an increase from 3.5 to 8.0 acts. Both subjects demonstrated predominance of the verbal communicative mean and greater variety of communicative functions. Other factors influenced these results, such as the intellectual deficiency, the family dynamics, the conflicts on the relationship between the brothers and the school environment in which they were placed. The study confirmed the relevance of the speech-language pathologist in interventions of pervasive developmental disorders, along with multidisciplinary teams, for the discussion of diagnoses and of the most appropriate procedures. Longitudinal studies can contribute for more detailed and reliable analysis of therapeutic intervention in these cases, in order to clarify gaps existent in literature and to support the role of clinical speech-language pathologists.