Struggling to motivate children and teens with speech and language disorders is an on going concern. Many learn to navigate around their deficit using strategies, but others avoid learning risks at all cost. In therapy using interests and games is a popular motivator, but using these tools does not teach students how and why they should take learning risks. Carol Dweck’s research on growth mindset has demonstrated that children with a growth mindset do better in school. They develop a positive attitude toward learning and enjoy working on difficult tasks. These children believe their intelligence can be developed. Many children with speech and language disorders believe their abilities are fixed. This is called a fix mindset. Tools that help children develop a growth mindset are a valuable tool.
My new favorite therapy tool is the book, Your Fantastic Elastic Brain: Stretch It, Shape It by JoAnn Deak, Ph.D. The book provides a general description of the function of the major parts of the brain. It discusses ways we train our brains from practicing difficult tasks to making mistakes and facing our fears. Geared to children under 10, I find that young adults also appreciate the books simplicity. This book has been an important addition to my growth mindset tools.