Navigating the realm of speech therapy for students in grades 7th through 12th presents a unique set of challenges and opportunities. Adolescents at this stage of development may face a variety of speech and language difficulties that can impact their academic success and social interactions. In this blog, we’ll explore some common struggles encountered by speech-language pathologists (SLPs) working with this age group, highlight the best speech therapy products available, and offer closing remarks to fellow professionals in the field.

Common Struggles in 7th-12th Grade Speech Therapy

  1. Articulation and Phonological Disorders: Many adolescents struggle with articulating sounds clearly or have difficulty with phonological processes, which can affect their intelligibility and communication effectiveness.
  2. Language Disorders: Issues with language comprehension, expression, and pragmatics may persist or emerge during adolescence, impacting academic performance and social relationships.
  3. Voice Disorders: Vocal nodules, vocal fry, and other voice disorders are not uncommon among teenagers, particularly those involved in activities like singing or public speaking.
  4. Stuttering and Fluency Challenges: Adolescents may continue to struggle with stuttering or develop fluency issues during this period, which can significantly affect their confidence and social interactions.
  5. Social Communication Difficulties: Adolescents with social communication disorder may find it challenging to navigate the complexities of social interactions, leading to feelings of isolation and frustration.

Best Speech Therapy Products for 7th-12th Grade

  1. Speech Therapy Apps: SLP Now has a very comprehensive blog on the best speech therapy apps for SLPs to target communication skills.
  2. Language Development Resources: We have a whole section dedicated to adolescent speech therapy resources. Check out a wide range of language-based activities, worksheets, and games tailored to the needs of older students here.
  3. Voice Therapy Tools: Tools like the Vocal Function Exercises (VFE) protocol and the Voice Therapy Companion provide structured exercises and strategies to rehabilitate and maintain healthy vocal habits.
  4. Fluency Management Programs: Programs like the Camperdown Program offer evidence-based interventions for adolescents struggling with stuttering and fluency disorders. You can also become an Ally of Stuttering with Spero Stuttering.
  5. Social Skills Practice: Many resources for social skills are geared towards younger students, but we do have some Tween & Teen products like Conversation Starters for Teens & Adults, Determining Meaning from Social Language Teens, and Pragmatics for Teens.

Closing Remarks

As a speech-language pathologist working with 7th-12th graders, your role is pivotal in supporting adolescents as they navigate the complexities of speech and language development during this critical stage of life. By utilizing the best speech therapy products and evidence-based interventions, you can empower your students to overcome their challenges and achieve their academic and social potential.

Remember, building rapport and trust with your adolescent clients is essential. Create a supportive and inclusive environment where they feel comfortable expressing themselves and working towards their goals. Your dedication and expertise can make a profound difference in their lives.

Keep up the excellent work, fellow SLPs, and continue to advocate for the importance of speech and language support in adolescent education. Together, we can help every student find their voice and thrive in school and beyond.