Sunday, April 17, 2016

Implementing Therapy Outside of your Speech Therapy Room~ A Frenzied SLPs Link-up


Happy Spring!!  Here's hoping that you are seeing some spring-like temperatures in your neck of the woods!  We are finally enjoying warmer days as we pack away our winter coats in the Midwest. The Frenzied SLPs want to help you celebrate new beginnings this Spring by hosting this linky party about taking therapy outside.  Be sure to check out the links below for more inspiration!  We also welcome you to join us by linking your post at the 'Add Your Link' tab on the bottom, left-hand corner of this post.

As you may already know, I have been in private practice for a couple years now in my home office: Naperville Therapediatrics. Life is good as my days are filled with a nice balance of work, home management, play time with my puppy, and quality time with our ten year old, sweet son.  At first, I struggled with coming up with ideas for this topic of taking therapy outside because I do not have the luxury of a fenced-in yard or safe space to play outdoors with my active clients.  Then, it dawned on me that I could put my own spin on working "outside" of the four walls in my therapy room.  In fact, I have been doing this for quite some time.  Here's what a typical entry looks like at my practice:

No matter how old you are or what you are working on to enhance communication, everyone can benefit from practicing using eye contact, gestures, words, or sentences when greeting each other at the front door.  Next, it's time to follow directions to remove shoes and place them either under a bench in the entryway or in a hallway closet.  Sometimes, clients need to use the bathroom, so there may be an opportunity to make a request using speech or even a speech generating device. Otherwise, we head down the hallway to the closed speech room door with the child safety lock and wait until the client initiates a request for help to open the door.  If we look at this scenario that typically takes place in the five minutes before we walk into the actual therapy room, then you can count up to four communicative opportunities (greeting, responding to directions, requesting, asking for assistance.)

Then there's this guy...,
Gryffindor the Vizsla at 15 months old



Most of my clients enjoy seeing my overly friendly puppy.  Some even head from the door straight to the treat cabinet in the kitchen to reward Gryffindor for following commands such as, "Go to your bed", "Sit", "High-Five", and "Down."  Even the shyest of all my clients lights up with a big smile when she hears Gryff barking and she also tends to be more vocal around him than she is when it's just me at the door greeting her on arrival. The best part about my pseudo clinical dog is that he helps me with transitioning clients from the therapy room to the entryway door at the end of our sessions.  I don't mean to brag, but many little ones protest when our session is over.  Guess that's a good sign that they are having fun while learning!  I have found it to be rather effective to say, even in the mist of a tantrum, "Do you want to see Gryff and give him one more treat?"  Works.  Every. Time.  Before we can say, "Speech is over", kids are heading to the coat rack and getting jackets on so they can see that crazy puppy again!  As luck would have it, Gryff is happy to comply with more attention.  It is pretty handy having him around to break the ice, practice speech skills, and make for smooth transitions!!







15 comments:

  1. I found the hallway time was so beneficial---especially for students working on articulation to see what their carry over is like.

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    1. Yes!! What a great way to see if students are generalizing!!

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  2. Gryffindor seems like a very helpful therapy assistant! There's nothing like natural situations for eliciting language!

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  3. Having a dog for therapy sounds like a lot of fun! Letting your students give your dog commands sounds like a great way of flipping the 'following directions' goal around!

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  4. Good spin on the topic! I wish I was that creative! Gryffindor is adorable!!!

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    1. Thanks, Mary! He has his moments 😉

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  5. I love your dog! How motivating for your clients!

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  6. Awesome post. Gryff looks like our dog Oscar who we believe is part Vizsla. Very smart animals and faaaaaast!

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    1. Thanks, Annie!! Yes, our boy is fast and I've read that this breed can average 40 mph. It's interestimg trying to get him to leave the dog park.

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  7. Love the dog, love the name! What a great transition tool and I bet he takes his job very seriously too!

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    1. Thank you! Yes, he doesn't mess around when it comes to attention and treats!!

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  8. Gryffindor's so cute. That is so clever, using a dog in transitioning clients from the therapy room up to the end of your sessions. Great work and looking forward to more of your posts.

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