School counsellors often receive referrals for students who are having difficulty fitting in due to issues involving communication. These issues can be related to conditions such as Asperger’s Syndrome, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, Pervasive Developmental Disorder or other disorders. Recently, I read an article that addressed the importance of collaborating with other professionals to address these types of deficits. The article pointed out that tackling problems related to communication can require ongoing support and that interaction with school counsellors is typically time limited, so having ongoing professional supports in place is vital for any lasting change. Two groups of professionals were singled out in the article as essential supports for students with communication difficulties. Speech Language Pathologists were mentioned for their expertise on the social use of language and Special Education teachers because they are likely in a position with the student to implement, practice, and reinforce communication skills and strategies.
The article outlined six common skill deficits as well as strategies school counsellors could follow when working with students on communication issues. In preparation for working on the communication issues it was noted that the school counsellor should identify the student’s social strengths and weaknesses and then prioritize which areas of deficits to target and subsequent strategies would be most beneficial to tackle during the counsellor’s time with the student. Additional strategies can be delegated to other professional members of the support team or assigned to parents or caregivers.
*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA