Years ago, when my oldest son was getting ready to go to middle school, he was very concerned about his locker. I thought it was because he was worried that he wouldn’t remember the combination to his lock, but that wasn’t it. His biggest worry was that he would be stuffed into his locker by older kids…for real. He was not a small kid by any means, and the lockers were maybe 3 feet high by two feet wide. In talking with him, this idea originated from watching too many Disney and Nickelodeon pre-teen shows, where locker stuffing and wedgies were daily occurrences. Yikes.
I hear many of my kids in speech, that are getting ready to transition to middle school, worry out loud about lots of different things. I created a survey this year to see what issues they were excited about (wow), nervous about (worry) or needed more information about (wonder). They didn’t put names on it, just indicated if they were a boy or a girl. The results were very interesting!
The worries ranged from meeting new teachers and going into new schools, to navigating friendships and dating. These same topics were also rated as things that they were excited about too. It really does come down to perspective, doesn’t it? Several of the kids that I have worked with have significant anxiety in addition to learning disabilities and social language impairments. One of the most effective therapy tools that I have is information (knowledge is power), and that’s why I created this language packet “Wow, Worry or Wonder”
Included in the packet:
- visuals for wow, wonder and worry topics
- a student survey
- a launchpad checklist to prepare before school starts
- locker etiquette 101 ( personal space anyone?)
- personal hygiene with social scenarios of think/say/do
- friendship, frenemies and dating
- social media scenarios to determine the best solution
- extension activities
- a problem/solution worksheet.
Talking through these concepts (especially when they can be shared with parents, teachers and counselors) will help alleviate the anxiety of the unknown and better prepare our kids for some of the social challenges to come. As we know, the only constant in life is change, but with information and preparation, change can be a wow and not a worry!