Questions and Answers

If you have any questions or concerns that relate to speech language pathology in any way, at any level....just ask.
I will answer them to the best of my ability on my blog.
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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Improve that Vocabulary!

     A friend of mine showed me a couple of books she thought I might be interested it.  The 100 Most Beautiful Words in English and The 100 Funniest Words in English.  Both book are written by Robert Beard.  After glancing through the words I think this would make the perfect gift for any student in middle school, high school and college.  I find vocabulary development lacking in even some of the brightest students, especially with the higher level descriptive vocabulary words.
     I'll guarantee you'll learn some new vocabulary too.  I knew about 1/2 the words on the most beautiful word list and about 3/4 on the funniest word list.  I really liked the funniest word list because not only were the words silly but a lot of them were well accepted slang words.  Any student could use these books to spice up their writing and oral language.  (At the very least, get the books and throw them in the bathroom.)  
     Check out alphadictionary for a complete review of both books.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Social Skill Development Programs in Teens

     I don't usually get inspiration for this blog while at the hairdresser or from people magazine.  However, a few weeks ago People Magazine highlighted a unique program developed at UCLA to help teens gain awareness, understanding and improved use of social pragmatic skills.  Given my extensive work with middle school and high school students, I know exactly they type of student the program is designed for.  The People article

talks about a 17 year old boy and his lack of understanding on how to act and interact with peers.  It briefly describes the program he went through.  
     The program is called PEERS, Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relationship Skills. PEERS is a manualized, social skills training intervention for adolescents and young adults. 

     This is a program that addresses a critical skill that is rarely addressed within the public school setting.  It's difficult to understand that social skills do not develop in some people because social skills are usually acquired in such a natural fashion.  I've never seen a developmental chart guideline for the development of social skills.  Social skills are not concrete skills like acquiring good grammatical skills.  We can measure and assess grammatical usage with ease.  With social skills, professionals can tell something is wrong and we can describe it.  Very few pragmatic language tests are out there and I've never reviewed one that was able to really identify a pragmatic issue without detailed observation and analysis from a professional.  As a matter of fact most older students will test within the average range on formal pragmatic assessments.  This leaves kids similar to Joey basically in limbo.  
     I was excited to read about this program.  I'm glad someone has identified this as a significant need.  The recent law suit in Massachusetts, (see previous post) highlights that more needs to be done in the area of social skill development for adolescents and young adults.  Frankly in my opinion it should start a lot earlier.

Social Skills for Teenagers with Developmental and Autism Spectrum Disorders: The PEERS Treatment Manual