Dear Jacqui, My child is now at Upper school. I have concerns about him because he lacks confidence, and finds it hard to get his thoughts down on paper. I think this will hold him back but school aren’t concerned because he is getting C and D grades. He had a lot of ear infections when he was young, and some early speech and language therapy in the NHS but was discharged. Can anything be done to help my son?

Yes, it is never too late! Although the focus is on early speech and language therapy intervention, what you are describing is very common. Speech, language and communication skills continue to develop throughout life into adulthood. They remain essential skills at Key stage 3 for higher order thinking, essay writing across subjects, emotional and social development. I suspect that your son’s early ear infections caused some delay with his speech and language skills. At the point that he was discharged, he was coping with underlying difficulties. It seems that the higher demands of language across the curriculum, listening in background noise, and subtle social cues in teen conversation, are a challenge and affecting his confidence. I would recommend an assessment for his language and verbal reasoning skills, auditory processing skills (listening related to early ear infections), and a screening for his written skills (in case there is an aspect of dyslexia). We can then devise a therapy plan for individual and/or group sessions, and strategies for school.