Social Communication Disorder (SCD) is a new diagnosis in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition (DSM-5). The criteria indicate a problem with pragmatic language skills, which is a struggle with the use of verbal and nonverbal communication. Those with SCD struggle with being able to read others’ or their own body cues, struggle with matching communication to the context or the listener, struggle to follow social rules for conversation, and struggle to make inferences. Here’s is the DSM-5 criteria for SCD.

Those with SCD do not have the ability to do inductive reasoning or cannot do it well. Most of us know what deductive reasoning is—finding all the details in a story. Inductive reasoning is where a person puts details together to make meaning. We do it all the time but are unaware that we are doing it.

Most of us see/hear a group of body cues (facial expression, body movements, or how one holds the body and the tones in the voice), and we make the inductive leap of defining that group of body cues as a single meaning, such as mad, sad, glad, scared, confused, etc. We attach a level of importance to the meaning about it that allows us to store and recover the memory easily. And we do it without consciously thinking through it all. It happens for us in a moment or two.

Those with SCD can’t easily make meaning of what they see, hear, touch, taste, and smell. So, they have to look around and log each person’s response, correlate it to what they know about that person, and determine where each person is emotionally. If they don’t know the person, it can take them a long time to figure it out, or they may never figure it out. They have inductive reasoning issues (IRI).

My book, Inside the Mind: Understanding and Communicating with Those Who Have Autism, Asperger’s, Social Communication Disorder, and ADD can help you to understand and work with those who have SCD more effectively, whether you are a parent, significant other, teacher, therapist, other professional, or other family member.

You can view a few short videos from my book to begin to understand IRI and how it creates SCD.