Not Medical Advice: Symbolic dysfunction is more commonly known as social impairment. It may manifest in a number of ways involving speech and other forms of social interaction.
Social impairment refers to a broad range of social problem behaviors including difficulties in understanding social information, inability to adjust behavior to fit in social situations, reduced social interest, and lack of meaningful relationships.
These impairments are prevalent in social functioning of children and adults who have ADHD, and are further aggravated in individuals who have shown aggressiveness at early age. Antisocial behavior leading to social impairment is influenced by several factors, such as genetic predisposition, parental psychopathology, socioeconomic status, neurocognitive impairment, school failure, substance abuse, and other psychiatric disorders as mediators.
A person with such a condition may experience a lack of ability to initiate and/or terminate a conversation, as well as difficulty with other forms of communication such as body language. Many of these characteristics are also seen in subjects with Autism.
Social impairments themselves have been widely recognized in many fields. Such deficits range from early social markers, called communicative functions/intents, to more advanced social skills.
Newborns and infants show an interest in people, seek eye contact, and cry to get attention. These early precursors are the building blocks to higher social communicative skills.
Social impairments may involve the more basic precursors such as establishing joint attention with a communicative partner, turn taking in simple mother-child interactions (vocal play) or demonstrating overall reciprocity in interaction. Basic skills for such act as requesting objects/actions, giving, calling attention, commenting, and showing may be reduced or absent.
To learn more, see http://www.childspeech.net/u_iv_k.html.