Facts about Tweens and Teens Who Need an SLP

by Rolesha Harris, M. Ed., CCC-SLP, Wendy Lee, M.Ed.,CCC-SLP, and  Rhonda Maiani, M.A.,CCC-SLP (Speech-Language Pathologists in Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools)

There are a select number of 12 to 18-year-olds who continue to be eligible for speech- language therapy in the schools. Because students in middle and high school are expected to use advanced/meta-linguistic skills, write complex sentences, follow grammatical rules, infer and comprehend figurative language, the support of an SLP is sometimes necessary to access their curriculum.

Speech-Language goals may be related to reading comprehension, vocabulary, written expression, higher-level reasoning, organizational and sequencing skills, problem-solving, and social/pragmatic language skills.

The SLP and the exceptional children’s teacher often collaborate and determine the student’s areas of need and the academic goals that need to be targeted.  The therapist will work in the classroom or co-teach in the student’s various classrooms or pull the student in a small group or one-on-one sessions to target these specific goals. The frequency of service delivery will vary depending on the severity of the student’s needs.

The SLP supports the student by collaborating and consulting with all of the student’s teachers. As students get older, the SLP does not focus on one particular goal but rather supports the student across environments. For example, the SLP may provide support while studying for a specific test, completing a project or end of semester assignment, creating visual/graphic organizers to improve comprehension of class related material, or provide supplemental materials to aid in improving the understanding of specific concepts presented in class.  The Speech-Language Pathologist can provide information to teachers regarding how the student’s receptive or expressive language disorder is directly impacting their ability to perform in the classroom as well as where some of the student’s learning breakdowns may be occurring.

Speech therapy in middle and high school can also present with many challenges. Adolescents are “in the thick” of the maturation process.  Moodiness, raging hormones, and self-concept/self-esteem problems are just a few of the difficulties our students face on a daily basis and may make working with our teens challenging.

SLP’s strive to design programs and choose materials that are both motivating and enjoyable for the students while simultaneously helping them learn the curriculum.

The support services provided by an SLP in middle and high school is essential for the important transition from middle and high school to employment and adult life.

Kara VanHooser Wins Award for Excellence

Kara's Family
VanHooser at the awards ceremony with her husband, Mike Dodge and daughter, Grace Dodge

Kara VanHooser, M.S., CCC-SLP, a speech-language pathologist in Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools, received the 2017 Lara Jane Parker Award for Excellence along with two other winners.  VanHooser works primarily at McDougle Elementary School in Chapel Hill where she has over 20 years experience and serves as the Exceptional Children’s team lead.  The Lara Jane Parker Award Program shared,”Kara is proactive in engaging a child’s whole team, including families, private therapists, and physicians, to meet the student’s communication and other needs.  She organizes communication during reverse inclusion groups, where students from general ed classrooms join students in the adapted curriculum classrooms for activities promoting social and academic interactions.  Kara invites politicians to meet her students to better understand the challenges they face.  She is in regular contact with them to discuss issues that affect students like hers.”

The Lara Jane Parker Awards are sponsored by the New Voices Foundation (newvoices.org), a non-profit in North Carolina whose mission is to help children with communication challenges maximize their learning potential.

5 Myths and 1 Truth about Stuttering

by Theresa Menz, M.S., CCC-SLP and Rena Dadolf, M.S., CCC-SLP, Speech-Language Pathologists in Chapel Hill Carrboro City Schools

Stuttering is a communication disorder in which the flow of speech is broken by repetitions (li-li-like this), prolongations (lllllike this), or abnormal stoppages (no sound) of sounds and syllables. There may also be unusual facial and body movements associated with the effort to speak. A diagnosis of a disorder is more than just the speech characteristics. It involves a thorough assessment of the child’s self-perception and feelings surrounding their speech.

Here are some video examples of children who stutter: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rysVhDb3qKM

Myths about Stuttering:myth-fact

Myth: People who stutter are not smart.

Reality: There is no link whatsoever between stuttering and intelligence.

Myth: Nervousness causes stuttering.

Reality: Nervousness does not cause stuttering. Nor should we assume that people who stutter are prone to be nervous, fearful, anxious, or shy. They have the same full range of personality traits as those who do not stutter.

Myth: Stuttering can be “caught” through imitation or by hearing another person stutter.

Reality: You can’t “catch” stuttering. No one knows the exact causes of stuttering, but recent research indicates that family history (genetics), neuromuscular development, and the child’s environment, including family dynamics, all play a role in the onset of stuttering.

Myth: It helps to tell a person to “take a deep breath before talking,” or “think about what you want to say first.”

Reality: This advice only makes a person more self-conscious, making the stuttering worse. More helpful responses include listening patiently and modeling slow and clear speech yourself.

Myth: Stress causes stuttering.

Reality: As mentioned above, many complex factors are involved. Stress is not the cause, but it certainly can aggravate stuttering.

There is no “cure” for stuttering. Speech therapy focuses on compensation strategies and understanding the nature of the disorder and progress toward fluency.

 

Source: The Stuttering Foundation , Child and Adolescent Stuttering Treatment and Activity Resource Guide, P. Ramig and D. Dodge

Does the Spanish Speaking Child in My Class Need Speech Therapy?

by Jennifer Kirschner, M.S., CCC-SLP & Rebecca Fox, M.S., CCC-SLP (Speech-Language Pathologists in Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools

When native Spanish speakers are learning to speak English, many elements of their speech can sound “wrong” to native English speakers. It is important for English-speaking teachers and staff to recognize what characteristics of Spanish are normal to hear in English. Continue reading Does the Spanish Speaking Child in My Class Need Speech Therapy?