High school language therapy: Do we still have time to make an impact? (with Tiffany Shahoumian-Ruiz)

Language therapy often focuses on early intervention; but what happens if students continue to struggle with language in the high school years? 

Many SLPs are pressured to drop students from their caseloads or move to a consult-only model when students transition to secondary school.

Yet that often means many students enter adulthood lacking skills that have a significant impact on their ability to access advanced education or job opportunities. 
If students don’t have a solid grasp on complex syntax, they’ll continue to struggle:

…Getting the “gist” of things and explaining/recalling past events.

…Writing extended responses or forming cohesive narratives for academic reports, job applications, and work-related communication.

…Understanding temporal or causal vocabulary that supports time-perception and future thinking.

…Engaging in inner dialogue for strategic planning and self-regulation.

Building sentence structure is NOT just a skill for students in late elementary school doing Language Arts assignments. It’s a LIFE skill, and students who don’t have a solid foundation will continue to struggle in adulthood. 

That’s why I invited Tiffany Shahoumian-Ruiz to the De Facto Leaders podcast to share success stories from her experiences with language therapy at the high school level. 

Tiffany is a bilingual high school SLP from Southern California who has primarily worked in the school systems. 

She’s also a member of Language Therapy Advance Foundations, and many of the strategies we discuss in this conversation are things I cover in that program. 

In this conversation, we discuss:

✅What if everyone else is working on high-level comprehension, but our students still need work at the word and sentence level?

✅Does therapy have to mimic classroom activities to be aligned with the curriculum? 

✅Can we make a dent in language for high school students, or is it “too little, too late’?

✅Will students be bored and disengaged if they’re still going to speech in high school? 

✅How complex syntax can impact daily functioning and future career opportunities. 

You can connect with Tiffany by searching her name on Facebook.

We also discussed the Expanding Expression Tool by Sara Smith, and you can learn more about that resource here: https://www.expandingexpression.com/

In this episode, I mentioned Language Therapy Advance Foundations, my program that helps SLPs create a system for language therapy that supports syntax and vocabulary students need to thrive in school and beyond. Learn more about how to become a member here: https://drkarenspeech.com/languagetherapy/

We’re thrilled to be sponsored by IXL. 

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High school language therapy: Do we still have time to make an impact? (with Tiffany Shahoumian-Ruiz)