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Too Cool for Therapy

Posted Jan 10, 2018 - 11:27am

By Leanna Fox

Help! These teenagers are too cool for this therapist! What do I do? Suddenly I found myself with a caseload of teenage girls who are much cooler than I ever was.

Right, magic basic therapy rule 101 – use their interests and make them your interests also.

For example, ‘romance’, ‘love’ and ‘James Arthur’ were identified as interests. Goal: teach unity via these interests

  1. Icon Families: Pick an icon. Unsurprisingly the first selected was the ‘love’ icon. Figure out the words that come from this icon. Colour code it. I use paper and different coloured pens in therapy sessions. Make a narrative with some of these words around a topic of interest. I read the story and the teenager told me the words in capitals.

love words

‘Once upon a time there was a LOVELY teenage girl. She was BORN to marry James Arthur. Her LIFE until now had been very boring.’

Mix it up? Make it into a cloze passage whereby the student has to read the passage and identify the correct words to add in. If needed use write with icons to have some more visual supports for where the words can be found.

  1. Pretend you understand the cool music of today. Print out the lyrics to a preferred song. We did a James Arthur song. The lyrics started as ‘I met you in the dark, you lit me up, you made me feel as though I was enough’. My goal this part of the session was pronouns. Her goal was to hear the whole song without me stopping it or even worse, singing along and RUINING it. She had to tell me the pronouns before we played each line, then verse. Step up? Find all the words using word finder.

  2. Make them listen to one of your songs, with the lyrics changed ala Gail VanTatenhove style. I chose ‘Ice Ice Baby’ because I am that cool. My icon family was ‘stop’ – this has been highly reinforcing for a number of clients and is probably best to do this one at the end of a session… ‘STOP collaborate and listen, I want to FINISH with my speech session, Sometimes I want to QUIT badly, then I COMPLETE my work daily and nightly.’

  3. ‘Drill and Kill’ – it can be boring but it works. Print out the target words, with icon sequence if needed on individual cards. Play a board game, each turn pick up a card. If they have the language skills make them say it as a phrase/sentence. If you need to make it a bit more fun put some twists in by sticking post it notes along the boardgame with instructions like ‘got caught stalking James Arthur at his house, miss a turn as you go home embarrassed’.

An example of a narrative:


Stories and Strategies fo...