There is an expectation for young people to be organised, independent learners, and good listeners with the ability to “switch learning gears” frequently.

As speech pathologists and occupational therapists we work with areas that include:

– Literacy competency needed for effective learning
– Complex timetables, range of subjects, range of classrooms and teacher teaching styles
– Incompatible learning/teacher styles
– Big emphasis on written assignments, tests and exams
– Different teacher/different rules
– Inconsistent homework
– Handwriting legibility
– Significant pain when writing during exams
– Posture at the table
– Supporting documentation for special provision applications
– Reduced volume of written work
– Difficulty completing written tasks

All these areas mean that a young person may be struggling for the first time in high school or as a continuation after primary school. We tell parents it is never too late to assess and treat young people at this age.

If anything below relates to concerns you see with your young person or you have other questions, we are here to have a chat with you on the phone and talk about any next steps.

We work as a multidisciplinary profession and will work with other professionals to make good clinical decisions. Here are some we often work with.

We are passionate about supporting high school students to unlock potential and set them on the path of success.



A young person should be well understood by peers, family, and unfamiliar speakers.

Some young people may still present with:

  • Disfluent speech (ongoing stuttering patterns)
  • Voice concerns (monotone, lack of voice use)
  • Pitch and volume concerns
  • Inability to monitor speech in various situations

For a young person, clear and precise speech is important to their everyday environments within school, home and activities. Should there be any concerns regarding clarity or pitch or volume, these should be addressed in a referral to us.


Putting language goals into practice results in more classroom participation, such as asking questions and greater motivation to learn

When considering language skills for a typical developing student, we would expect them to be using:

  • An adequate range of language both academic language and for social reasons.
  • Ability to define word meanings appropriately as well as use a variety of sentence structures.
  • Understand a variety of vocabulary meanings in sentences
  • Understanding in the context of longer listening passages and navigating social communication with peers and adults.


Use of Language

  • Shows word finding difficulties; uses lots of ‘ums’ searching for words, lots of fillers e.g. ‘you know’, ‘its the, oh the, that, um’, and non-specific words, e.g.’thing’, ‘that’, ‘stuff’
  • Reluctant to speak or talkative, but talk contains little real substance
  • More grammatical errors than peers
  • Problems explaining the whys and wherefores of things – can’t put the complex grammar together
  • Only deal well with concrete and here-and-now matters


Understanding Language

  • Abstract language and ideas are very problematic
  • Gets frustrated when others don’t follow their instructions.
  • Taking a long time to respond; problems processing the information
  • Seems unable to follow verbal instructions and difficulty understanding cause and effect relationships
  • Using efficient language memory to comprehend information to use later in learning.


At the high school level we cannot separate literacy from learning.

At the high school level we cannot separate literacy from learning. Difficulties may be seen in reading:

  • Poor comprehension of exam questions and interpreting what is read
  • Frequently loses place while reading while demonstrating poor memory for printed words
  • Shows slow pace and guesses at unfamiliar words rather than using word analysis skills
  • Substitutes or leaves out words while reading


Difficulties may be seen in writing:

  • Has difficulty preparing outlines and organising written assignments
  • Fails to develop ideas in writing so written work is incomplete and too brief
  • Expresses written ideas in a disorganised way
  • Dislikes and avoids writing and copying

Other errors are outlined in our literacy concerns post.

Life Skills

Our vision is to see students equipped in their own learning to better prepare for school life and beyond.

Executive functioning issues can produce a wide range of symptoms. Depending on which skills your child struggles with the most, and the particular task they are doing, you might see the following signs:

  • Finds it hard to figure out how to get started on a task
  • Can focus on small details or the overall picture, but not both at the same time
  • Has trouble figuring out how much time a task requires
  • Does things either quickly and messily or slowly and
  • Fails to pay close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, work, or other activities
  • Has difficulty sustaining attention in work tasks or play activities
  • Does not follow through on instructions and fails to finish schoolwork, chores, or duties in the workplace
  • Has difficulty organising tasks and activities
  • Avoids, dislikes, or is reluctant to engage in tasks that require sustained mental effort such as homework and organising work tasks
  • Loses things consistently that are necessary for tasks activities (e.g., toys, school assignments, pencils, books, or tools)
  • Is easily distracted by outside influences
  • Is forgetful in daily/routine activities