Let’s face it, being a teenager can be hard! Especially for teens with social communication challenges.
At Early Start Speech Pathology we created the Teen Connect Program as a safe place for teens to start to develop friendships and social skills in a small, but supported environment with kids who are not different, but the same as them.
What is the Teen Connect Program?
Teens Connect is a group for teenagers who are having difficulties socially. Some of the teens we see might have diagnoses, others might be shy, have low confidence or difficulties connecting with their peers. There are no set activities, but the dynamic and special interests of the group shape what we do. Throughout the weeks, we have underlying goals; to engage in meaningful conversation, understand different perspectives, think about what other people might be thinking about us and how we can make the peers who we connect with have good thoughts about us. We look at a lot of ‘hidden’ social rules that some teenagers can miss. Whether we achieve this through creating anime characters, doing the drink bottle flip challenge or using the latest app, I love the laughter that comes from the teens connecting with each other.
What’s great about working with teenagers?
Teenagers can sometimes “lock themselves away” as they are trying to figure out their own identity. We love unlocking their curious and quirky side through interests that they have and really getting to know their personality. Through the occasional sarcasm and one word answers, teenagers are really funny and we love encouraging them to accept and be themselves socially.
Any suggestions for parents that may have children that are struggling socially?
We always treat teenagers like ‘adults’ and be really open and honest. We like to give teenagers we work with some choices and let their feelings and thoughts be heard. If you are considering a social group, my number tip is to have that open conversation. Address your concerns, say that you’ve found group and talk about what aspects it can help. We like to bring up “I don’t want to make you do something… but let’s give it a try” and do some negotiation so that both teens and parents feel that they are being heard and making choices.
Early Start Speech Pathology’s Teen Connect Program runs at different times throughout the school holidays and terms. Call us today if you’d like to register your interest.