Therapy Ideas for the Middle/ High School Population

The Middle and High School population is wonderful to work with but can also be challenging. They can be suffering from therapy burnout or just be embarrassed to be in therapy at this time, and their classes are getting harder and are often needed for graduation.

  That said, they are some of my favorite age groups to work with, and I have found many ways to provide therapy and engage students.

  1. Try push in therapy or team teaching if you can.  In this case, the student or students do not have to miss a core class or important content, and often the goals align well with their curriculum, and you can support where the student needs it the most.  Added benefits I have found are that you learn from the teacher and the teacher learns from you, so even when you are not in the classroom, the teacher often uses the tips and tricks you use for your students to reinforce the skills you worked on.  Science class is great for group work/ pragmatics and fluency/ artic goals to see if the student is working well and being understood by others, and English is great for language goals, public speaking, etc.
  2. If pulling out, see if you can pre-teach.  For instance, if you know that the class will be reading chapter 3 of To Kill a Mockingbird next week, read and review some concepts with the students ahead of time.  The look of pride on both the teacher’s and student’s faces when they can answer a question correctly in class is priceless.  Even just previewing vocabulary can help with one hurdle to comprehension in class.
  3. Find articles of interest.  Newsela has been a great go to for me recently, and Teens Students News has some interesting articles, like one about the man who skateboarded and drank cranberry juice on Tik Tok.  We can connect to text and they find it interesting, as we work on vocabulary, sequencing, predicting, summarizing, and inferencing.  Best of all, some articles can be adjusted for different reading levels.  www.newsela.com  , www.teenstudentsnews.com
  4. Explore discussion games. These have been loved by my students.  Topics like Would You Rather and Who Would Beat Who ( ex. Who would win in a spelling bee, Miss Piggy or  Batman?) are huge hits and I always have the student give me the “why” for what they chose.  Sometimes I have them convince me to change my answer by giving supporting details, use persuasive language, etc, and the fluency, voice, and artic students get to practice their skills while they make their case. https://www.familyeducation.com/family-games/the-ultimate-list-of-would-you-rather-questions-for-students, https://www.amazon.com/Ridleys-Would-Beat-Coversation-Starter/dp/B07DX62YP1
  5. Try competitive games.  My students love these as well.  I often have them “compete” against me and allow groups of students to work together and they love to beat me.  We have played Jeopardy with categories such as multiple meaning words, idioms, figurative language, etc, or played categories, describing games, or even just bingo or a board game where they have to say a target sound or define a term before they have a turn.  https://www.jeopardyapp.com/create; www.quizlet.com

 

While it can be hard to work with these adolescent middle and high school students, there are ways to get them to engage and want to participate in therapy.  Using the techniques above, I have been successful getting my students to participate and carry over their progress, and I often have their non-caseload peers trying to participate as well!

 

Author: Elizabeth Dua, MA, CCC-SLP

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