Working at the middle and high school level can be so very rewarding! Seeing my students become young adults and go into the world is an amazing feeling. Making sure to provide functional speech therapy services can be a bit overwhelming as students at this age can have a variety of needs. You may work with some students who spend most of their day in the school environment and you may work with some students who divide their time between school and a vocational setting. Knowing how to goal set for our students can feel tough! (Make sure to scroll to the bottom to get your life skills goal bank).
I am here to help! I have been working with kids at this age level for almost 10 years. I feel so very lucky to divide my time with older students in a school setting and toddler/preschool students in my private practice- ABA SPEECH. At the middle and high school level, we need to make sure that we are helping to support our students in the larger school and at times community environment. This service delivery at times may feel a bit outside of the box. There was the time that I would visit a student at their work site to observe how they were applying the receptive language skills that they had worked so hard on in therapy. Or the time that I would plan a weekly vocational group for my students about settings they would experience in a vocational rotation the following year. I love this age group for how very functional it is! Planning therapy for students across environments will help them generalize these skills into their daily lives!
Each student will have their own unique set of strengths and areas of need. Starting with a robust assessment is a good start! I always try my very best to include an observation is appropriate for the student. Observing my student communicating in the classroom or larger school environment can provide me with so much information when I am goal setting! At the middle school and high school environment I try to focus on vocational skills, social skills that are tied to the vocational setting and life-long leisure skills and receptive language skills that are tied to the larger school environment.
When I am goal setting for my students at this age level, I always make sure that I touch base with parents to see what concerns they may have! Parents are such an important piece to the IEP team puzzle. Ongoing communication with parents and other team members prior to the IEP, will make for a more cohesive plan for our students.
Below find my life skills goal bank. It is divided into sections regarding skills that you may target in therapy with your students. I hope that this is a wonderful resource for you when goal setting for your older learners.