How speech-language therapists can support secondary school students whose behaviour needs affect their ability to build positive relationships with others, manage self, and engage in learning : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the degree of Master in Speech Language Therapy, Massey University, Albany, New Zealand

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The link between speech, language and communication difficulties and behaviour needs in young people has been widely established within the literature. Young people with behaviour needs at secondary school are likely to have underlying communication difficulties which can contribute to behaviour. However, limited literature exists on speech-language therapists' (SLT) support for young people at secondary school who have behaviour needs. Currently, there is a key focus on early intervention for SLTs working in New Zealand. Limited scope exists for SLTs to work with young people at secondary school, their teachers, and their whānau. The aim of this research study was to understand how SLTs can support the communication skills of young people, aged 13-15, whose behaviour needs affect their ability to build positive relationships with others, manage, self, and engage in learning within a team environment. The research sought to understand: the communication skills and lived experiences of young people with behaviour needs (question one), how the communication skills of the young people could be supported in a team environment (question two), and finally, the team's perspectives and experiences of SLT involvement (question three). Using a case study research design, the researcher worked in a dual role as researcher and Ministry of Education employed SLT. The young people were identified within one secondary school in an Aotearoa New Zealand city. The research project included two teams of participants as the units of analysis. The teams included the young people, their whānau, teachers, and other Ministry of Education professionals. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews, field notes, clinical notes, previous documentation, formal assessments, and checklists. Two global themes arose from question one: Extent of Communication Difficulties and Impact of Communication Difficulties. Question two had two global themes: Challenges and Facilitators. Finally, question three had one global theme: Positive Insights and Steps for the Future. This study provides insight into how SLTs could support young people at secondary school with behaviour needs. The findings have implications for future research and for the wider SLT community to advocate on behalf of the profession and for young people with communication and behaviour needs.