It is often thought that when young people start High School, they have fully developed their communication skills. However, these skills continue to develop throughout their teenage years. It may also be thought that by this time, all young people are on track with their spoken and written language. However, sometimes this is not the case, and difficulties can be hard to spot in a busy classroom and noisy playground. It may be the case that a young person has good communication skills, but is reluctant to use them. It could also be the case that they don’t yet have those skills to draw upon.
Some signs a young person may have trouble understanding spoken and written instructions and explanations include:
- difficulty with school work, reluctance to complete it, or disengagement from it
- not completing set tasks
- missing appointments
- taking longer than expected to process information
- being either overly compliant or uncooperative
- behaviours such as poor eye contact, shrugging shoulders, and responding in monosyllables (e.g. ‘yep’, ‘nope’), which could be masking communication difficulties
- acting out, acting the clown, or withdrawing
- responses that don’t match what was said or asked
- making overly literal interpretations
- misunderstanding jokes, metaphors, or abstract language.
A Speech Pathologist is equipped to determine the various language and communication skills a young person has already developed, and which ones they may find more difficult. They can tailor intervention to meet the specific communication needs of the young person, and help them overcome their speech and language difficulties. If you are concerned about your child’s or teenager’s speech and language development, please get in touch on (02) 9398 3020.
If you wish to know more about services read more at Therapy for School Aged Children.