Since 2014 postgraduate courses and workshops on ICRA Method and ICRA-A Battery (Minimum Communication Circuits at early ages) addressed to speech and language pathologists are carried out with the aim of providing them with information for clinical application, both in the stage of evaluation and treatment.
Specific conceptual and methodological resources are included to analyze quantitatively and qualitatively the pragmatic aspect of language with the same systematicity as in the phonological, lexical-semantic, morphological and syntactic aspects. It is an approach of critical discussion and theoretic and practical application that lays the emphasis on the following criteria:
The pragmatic aspect requires to be evaluated by the speech and language pathologist by taking into account validated measurements and systematic qualitative analyses from typical instruments of its discipline. It should not be limited to an overall observational analysis.
The pragmatic aspect may be affected in various languages compromises (specific language disorders; language disorders due to genetic, neurological, audiologic or psychological causes; ASD, etc.).
It is important to redefine the speech act (Austin, 1962) in clinical attention as the unit of the pragmatic aspect, with its verbal and nonverbal perspectives. The concept of pragmatic features and the analysis of the impact of its three forces (illocutionary, locutionary and perlocutionary) are added to the interaction dynamics when the latter is compromised. (Abraham and Brenca, 2003, 2014, 2016)
It is necessary to redefine the verbal level of the pragmatic aspect in clinical attention, both in speech acts and narrative skills. The fact that a patient “makes himself/herself understood” by gestures is not enough to attribute a proper pragmatic performance to him/her.
The fact that a patient has a pragmatic compromise is not sufficient for assigning an Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnosis, which is vital to be considered at early ages.
The occurrence of a pragmatic impairment does not always imply a pragmatic disorder. There may be a delay or a pragmatic disorganization (Abraham and Brenca, 2013, 2014, 2016).
The importance of a phonological evaluation in patients with suspected communication disorders is highlighted.