Pre-teens, teens, and language remediation

Girls“I don’t like to read!” says one pre-teen who is known to struggle with reading comprehension. “I don’t like to talk; I’m quiet,” says a pre-teen who struggles to formulate his ideas verbally. “Writing is stupid. Why do I have to do that? I will never use it,” says another teenager.

I have always worked with pre-teens and teens both as a SLP and before as a child care worker working with pre-teens and teens in residential treatment. I love this age group. They are struggling with acquiring critical thinking skills, social skills, and integrating all of their languages, in order to, express their new budding ideas about the world. So often, you hear negative stories about this age group, but I find working with them challenging and rewarding.

Work with this group is not simple. Not only can it be a challenge to identify the exact problem, but motivation, attitudes, and self-esteem play a vital role in what they can and will achieve at any given time. Getting a teen in the door to accept help can sometimes be the first problem. Once they are in the door motivating them to work on deficit areas can also be challenging. This group works best if they are in a relationship therapy model. A relationship built on shared respect which uses their strengths to help them deal with their deficits is the most effective way to address  learning differences in pre-teens and teens.