Speech and language therapy can happen just about anywhere, and in some cases unfortunately does. We have all either heard or experienced having to do therapy in closets, in the hall or some other challenging part of a school. Given all that, I’m a big fan of switching up therapy and taking it out of the therapy room or the classroom. Some people may be reading this and thinking, I can’t do that. It can sometimes take more planning. It can make working on goals harder. What if what you are targeting you can’t find while out of the class/therapy room? How do you take data? Are you allowed to leave the building? What about confidentiality? I will admit that these can be challenges but with some problem solving, it can be a fantastic experience for you and your students.
Why do I like mixing up where I do therapy? There are a few answers.
You probably have had a student that can perform a skill when they are with you, and in the therapy room, but the minute you change something up, it’s like they have never done it before. It like taking a test, if you take an exam in the room that you learned the material, you are statistically likely to do better than if you took the test in another place. Changing up therapy will allow children to work on skills in other environments with supports and hopefully lessen the effects of the therapy room.
2. Makes the Activities More Difficult
Aside from generalization, it will make the activity harder. Odds are the places you may go for therapy may provide more visual or auditory stimulation. This makes the task even ones the children are very familiar with more challenging.
I will admit that I sometimes get bored working in the same room all the time and to be honest sometimes my students do too.
4. Therapy can look different when you are outside the therapy room
You may be moving around or don’t have access to your therapy materials. When I mix it up, I’m working on functional skills in more real-world situations.
5. It can provide some form of exercise
Depending on what you are doing, it can provide some form of exercise. I am a big fan of being outside when you can. Taking nature walks or walks around the neighbourhood, also allow children to get some exercise and move around which helps some children concentrate not only during your session but when they go back to class.
Next blog post will be about how to do therapy outside the therapy room, and the next one will be about where you do therapy.