Sunday, January 25, 2015

Speech-Language Success Stories- # 3

Welcome Carly Fowler! 

Today, I will share successful tips for providing speech-language services for adolescents. 

Why Following a Child’s Lead Isn’t Just for Early Intervention

Hi I am Carly Fowler, a Speech Language Pathologist in Nebraska. A big thanks to Tamara for letting me join in her blog celebration! Now a little about myself: I live in Omaha, Nebraska with my husband and two cats. I have been a SLP for three years and I love what I do. I especially enjoy creating materials for my students.  I work with students elementary up through high school. It is quite an unusual caseload as I stay at just one school, but it also means I have to stay on schedule, plan ahead and know what I am up against.

Today, I want to share my tips when working with teenagers. It is not an easy population, nor do I claim to have all the answers. But I want to share with you what works for me.  Many times working with elementary students they are thrilled to see you and are willing to work for a token or a sticker. It is not that easy with high school students, trust me sometimes I feel like I am pulling teeth in order to get any kind of data.

When working with my teens, I follow their lead. This is probably making you think of early intervention kiddos but I recommend it with any age. I find that following my high school students' lead will allow me to gain more effort from them.  Teens are searching for more control of their lives. Many times their days are dictated for them; they are told when to go to school, what they need to do and they are not often given the freedom to choose. By allowing your teens to run the session they will give you more respect because you are treating them more like an adult.

When following the lead of a teen it is important to listen to them. Often times, my students want to chat about life or sports. Let them! You can target a lot of goals by doing this, plus it is functional. I am often able to target grammar, sentence formation, pragmatics and articulation when talking about sports.

Another thing a student may lead you to is school work.  I see many students during their study hall and I encourage them to bring their homework. I also ask how classes are going which may reveal their struggle with homework. School work and homework are functional activities and a great therapy target. I know many of you may say “I am not good at science” or “Math is like a foreign language”.  I encourage you to step outside of your comfort zones and encourage students to bring homework or materials from classes they need help with. It is okay to learn with your student- in fact I encourage it! By helping them with homework it shows you are a valuable resource and they will begin to see your time as more valuable.

Another way to follow your high school student’s lead is by allowing them to play with some of your toys in your speech room. You may be thinking that they would never be caught dead playing with toys but you are wrong. They often need a fiddle such as a ball to concentrate or playdoh as sensory stimulation. As long as it doesn’t become a distraction is a perfect outlet to the energy they may have.

These are tips that I have found successful when working with teens during their speech-language therapy sessions. Thanks for reading the blog today! 


  1. Thanks for the tips. They can be a "tough" group =) But are my favorite

  2. I'm glad you thought the information was beneficial!

  3. Nice article. There are few well-known Speech Language Pathologists in Kolkata who provide speech therapy. Looking forward to more informative articles from you.