Friday, July 1, 2022

Game Adaptations: Let's Go Fishing


In every therapy room I've ever inherited, there has been Let's Go Fishing (affiliate link). It's definitely NOT my favorite, but my students and patients usually love it. It pairs well with an ocean theme. It is definitely a staple in my therapy room. Here are some ways that I have adapted it to use with patients who use AAC or are minimally verbal. 

1.) Labeling colors - catch a fish and label the color. 

2.) Commenting - "I got one!" or "I caught one!"

3.) Stop/Go or On/Off - After each catch, we turn the game "off" while labeling "off." Then they can comment "on" to get me to turn the game back on. You can do this with "stop" and "go" also as you tell the fish to "stop" or "go." 

4.) Answering questions - I will ask patients what color they want to catch before they take their turn. Other questions I ask include: "did you catch one?," "what color did you get?," "where do fish live?" "what else lives in the ocean?," etc. 

5.) Help - This game is hard for many of my patients, so it creates a natural scenario to request "help." 

6.) Swim - I will work on the verb swim by having my patients tell the fish to swim before I start the game. 

7.) In/Out - I put some fish in the spots and leave some out. I have my patients practice telling me which fish are in or out while I point to them. They can then tell me "fish in" as we practice putting them in the water. 

8.) No Bite/Ouch - Sometimes we ditch the fishing poles. As the fish move around, we stick our finger in their open mouths. After they "bite" our finger, we practice telling them "no bite" or exclaiming "ouch!" Many of my patients love this because it's so silly. 

9.) Loud/Quiet - This game can be very loud. We will label it as "loud," then shut it off and label it as "quiet." When I turn it back on, we say "so loud!" and practice covering our ears. Then we tell it to "be quiet." 

10.) My turn/your turn - as with most games, this is a great game to target my turn/your turn as you take turns catching the fish. 

I hope you found some ideas you can use with your students/patients! Thanks for stopping by! 

Monday, June 20, 2022

Activities for Themed Vocabulary Flashcards

I often include vocabulary flashcards in my themed language packets. I love working on vocabulary related to the themes being used in the preschool classrooms, the seasons, etc. I feel like it helps to give children the vocabulary they need in specific situations. But just labeling flashcards is no fun! Here are some fun things I like to do with those vocabulary flashcards. 

1.) Hedbanz - We play the Hedbanz game, but I substitute the vocabulary flashcards for the cards that come with the game. 

2.) Flashlight Search - Hide cards around the room, then shut off the lights. Give you students a flashlight to help them find the cards in the dark. Sometimes I have them simply label the picture. Other times I have them label the picture and then tell me a characteristic of the item. This is an easy activity to scale up or down depending on your students' skills. It's also great for those kiddos that have a hard time staying in their seats! 

3.) I Spy - Lay out the cards and play I Spy - you can name the item for a simple identification task or describe it to them so that they have to label. Allow them to take turns to work on labeling and describing. 

4.) Wind Up Toys - Lay all the cards out. Start a wind up toy on top of the cards. Have your students label the item that wind up toy lands on.

5.) Guess the Item - Give them a few choices (2-5 depending on how difficult you want it to be). Then start describing one of the items for them to choose. 

6.) Make Up Sentences/Stories - Give your student 1-3 cards. Have them make a story or sentence that contains all the words in a way that makes sense. 

7.) Correct the Silly Sentences - Make up a silly sentence and have them correct it using one of their vocabulary words. For example, "you wear shoes on your head." Oh no! "You wear a stocking cap on your head!" 

8.) Make a Board Game - Let your students line up the cards any way they want to make a giant game board. Then add a dice and some game pieces to play the game.

9.) Play Card Games - Go Fish, Old Maid, and Memory are easy to do - just print two sets of the cards. 

I hope you can use some of these ideas in your therapy room! Thanks for stopping by! 

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Book Review: How to Raise a Wild Child

I am a nature-loving person. We live in a rural area and are blessed to have several hundred acres of land that we are free to roam. I am determined to raise my son to enjoy the outdoors and to take care of it. I have read several books on the topic since he was born. Every once in awhile, I find one that I feel has some implications to us as Speech Pathologists. I reviewed  "Last Child in the Woods" by Richard Louv here

In "How to Raise A Wild Child," Scott D. Sampson (affiliate link), raises the question of how we are supposed to teach a generation of children to value and preserve nature when they are largely disconnected from it. The book is obviously written for parents, but there are some great tidbits for educators in there, too. He hypothesizes that kids need to know HOW nature works to truly appreciate it. That got me thinking of all the ways I can incorporate these concepts into therapy. Can we work on sequencing using natural events (plant growth, butterfly cycles, etc)? Can we work on story re-tell using books about nature? Can I use nature-based crafts to target following directions? Can we compare and contrast various wildflowers, leaves, or bugs?

I also do a lot of play based therapy with my Early Intervention and preschool-aged children. Dr. Sampson reported that "Wired" magazine reported that the 5 best toys were: sticks, boxes, string, cardboard tubes, and dirt. They can be used in a variety of ways to encourage imaginative play. I am definitely guilty of using toys with specific purposes. Dr. Sampson also discusses the benefits of unstructured play for the development of problem solving, social skills, etc. Can we go outside to create some play opportunities? Can we build things in the snow? Can we play in a sandbox? Can we go on a nature walk?

Furthermore, nature provides tons of benefits for mental health and physical health (especially immune system and obesity). This got me thinking about things like serving on committees to plan playgrounds or parks or starting a Family Nature Club in my school district. Can I have my students plant flowers or vegetables? Can we simply have our therapy session outside? Can we play more physical games outside? Can we watch birds outside and narrate their movements to work on verb vocabulary (eating, hopping, flying, sitting, etc). Can we imitate these movements? Can we gather rocks and hide them in various places - describing where they are to work on spatial concepts?

Because I live in a rural area, I think I tend to think of "nature" as big spaces. But Dr. Sampson points out all the different places that nature can be - backyards, parks, ditches, etc. Can I coach parents to use these places to target language skills while getting their child immersed in nature - thus teaching language skills while instilling a love of nature? How can I help parents to take advantage of these place, view them as nature, and find them in their communities? 

Another common mistake I make is viewing nature experiences as big productions that will take a lot of time and money. But they don't have to be. He discusses the "sit and see" that literally only takes minutes per day and can be done in your backyard. How can we incorporate this into school settings? How can I coach parents to do this as well? How can I incorporate language skills?

While this book definitely isn't for speech pathologists, it can help us incorporate nature into our therapy sessions. It has certainly given me a lot to think about! I know it will be a process, but I am working hard to find ways to incorporate nature into speech therapy - and this book gave me lots of ideas. With a little problem solving and critical thinking, I think anyone can find a few ideas they can incorporate into therapy sessions. If you are a nature-loving SLP that wants to encourage that love in your students, check this book out!