Outdoors Push In Therapy for SLPs

These are times of adaptation. Many parts of the US and some parts of Canada are on-line, where SLPs are doing their best to adapt. Others are in school trying to manage services with all the adaptations that we have to do. I’ve noticed that there seems to be an increase in stories about having school outside or increasing the amount of time spent outdoors.  As I have done push-in therapy outdoors, I thought I would share some tips. 

Title of the Blog post, "Doing Push-In Therapy Outdoors" and a picture of four children sitting in a circle on the grass.


Figure Out the Logistics

There are lots of logistics you need to think about before going out with a class. Find out

  1. Are they staying on school grounds or going elsewhere?
  2. If you are going elsewhere, how is the class getting there?
  3. What is the plan when the classes are there?
  4. What are the potential hazards for your students? Lakes? Rivers? Fires? Wildlife?  
  5. What are the conditions that would cause the outdoor class to be cancelled?
  6. Who will be there?
  7. How will the children be dressed? Mitts? Snowpants? (can you tell I live in Canada?)

Answering these questions will help you plan more effective push-in therapy outdoors.

Keep it Simple

When planning your therapy, you want to keep it simple. It can be awkward to carry around a bunch of therapy materials. Try and use as much of the environment and the activities that you can. If you are out in nature, you can do a scavenger hunt or bingo looking around in your environment. Talk about the texture of different materials. If you are doing activities in your yard, then you can target prepositions or following directions on the playground. 

If the class is making s’mores, then with your students, you can go over the sequence on how to make them. You can practice your “or” or “sm” blend.  

If there is snow, there are almost endless goals you can target. For some suggestions, see a blog post, I wrote a couple of years ago about doing therapy out in the snow.  Click here.

Target the goals beforehand, if possible

I like to preteach/target the goals before we are outside. This allows the children some familiarity with the vocabulary, classroom expectations, and activities beforehand. This can help students understand the lessons more effectively. Artic therapy that targets words used can help a student feel more confident or more easily understood.  

These are three tips that can help you be more effective in push-in therapy outdoors. Do you or have you done therapy outside?

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  • Thanks for these tips! We’ve also been encouraged to do therapy outdoors, to be on the land. May I share this on my IG feed?
    – Lynette, Maskekosak Kiskinomatowikamik in Enoch, AB


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