According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), Social Impairment Disorder may have manifested from Social (Pragmatic) Communication Disorder. Using DSM criteria and extracts from various scholarly reports, veterans with Social Impairment Disorder showed signs and behavioral symptoms while on active duty communicating effectively with peers, subordinates and superiors. There seemed to be a disconnect in that veterans were unable to pick up communicative inferences, and lacked the ability to adjust their communicative style.
The following criterion is from the 2013 Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Fifth Edition, DSM-5 illustrates how Social (Pragmatic) Communication Disorder may present in childhood.
DSM 5 315.39 (F80.89)
Veterans with Social Impairment Disorder [Social (Pragmatic) Communication Disorder] as children may have shown:
A. Persistent difficulties in the social use of verbal and nonverbal communication as manifested by all of the following:
1. Deficits in using communication for social purposes, such as greeting and sharing information, in a manner that is appropriate for social context.
2. Impairment in the ability to change communication to match context or the needs of the listener, such as speaking differently in a classroom than on a playground, talking differently to a child than to an adult, and avoiding use of overly formal language.
3. Difficulties following rules for conversation and storytelling, such as taking turns in conversation, rephrasing when misunderstood, and knowing how to use verbal and nonverbal signals to regulate interaction.
4. Difficulties understanding what is not explicitly stated (e.g., making inferences) and nonliteral or ambiguous meaning of language (e.g., idioms, humor, metaphors, multiple meanings that depend on the context for interpretation.)
B. The deficits result in functional limitations in effective communication, social participation, social relationships, academic achievement, or occupational performance, individually or in combination.
C. The onset of the symptoms is in the early developmental period (but deficits may not become fully manifest until social communication demands exceed limited capacities).
D. The symptoms are not attributable to another medical or neurological condition or to low abilities in the domains of word structure and grammar, and are not better explained by autism spectrum disorder, intellectual disability (intellectual developmental disorder), global developmental delay, or another mental disorder.
Social Impairment Disorder may be a clear indication of a veteran’s inability to have reached certain developmental and language milestones as a child and as a result morphed into the disorder later in life. Such that, the behavioral patterns exhibited as a child are the same behavioral patterns used in adulthood.
Compensation for Social Impairment Disorder
As is the case for all service-connected disabilities, a veteran must show that his/her communication problems existed while on active duty.
For example, the veteran would show that he/she had great difficulty directing and leading subordinates. Difficulty in following suggestions and directives from superiors. Also, the veteran would show a lack of social support in the workcenter, problems engaging in social functions, and lack of interest in connecting with others.
The complexities of Social Impairment Disorder vary greatly. To get a clear understanding of a history of Social Impairment Disorder, it may be in a veteran’s best interest to discuss with a mental health professional before submitting a claim for the disability.