Well, it’s January and by now all the school funds for materials or mini-grants are like my Christmas decorations, gone for another year. However, we have a whole five months of school to go and the winter blahs are upon us. Gray, dreary days mean it’s time to shake up our lesson plans as both the kids and the therapists get a bit squirrelly (especially when there is no outdoor recess for a week *shudder*). What to do when the all your shelves hold are the same old, same old staring back at you and even the treasure box is running low on fun?
My wonderful CFs (clinical fellows-first year speech language therapists that I supervise) always inspire me with their creativity! No one knows better how to stretch a dollar than a new grad. I watched a lot of great therapy this week with my genius SLP newbies and wanted to share some free ideas to brighten up your therapy. I am happily surprised when they grab onto the concepts of Social Thinking (Michelle Garcia Winner) for their students with social communication impairments. This is a paradigm shift for most new grads (I still don’t understand why this is not included coursework in the communication disorders programs, but that is a topic for another day) and most have taken the information and run with it! One activity I saw was the use of “expected/unexpected” visuals and videos to talk about perceptions and behaviors. You can download the free therapy ideas with visuals here or from this great website here .
You can extend the ideas using these free printables for jigsaw puzzle pieces (great for cause/effect activities or contrasting unexpected/expected behaviors) or making your own free game boards with social scenario questions (or using videos) here and here . One more great free social activity packet from Speech2U on TPT, has visuals, video links and great descriptions to use, making it a Slam Dunk.
Are you sensing a pattern here? Free falls right into the sweet spot of our budget-woohoo!
Last but not least, if you have older students or just really want some great insight into our students with ASD (autism spectrum disorder), check out www.wrongplanet.net . Youtube has many videos by Alex that are worth a few minutes to watch! This is a treasure trove of ideas and understanding of the social world from the point of view of people who have social language impairments. Alex Plank and friends delve into insightful discussions about dating, work, and what it means to be a person with ASD. It offers great talking points (and ideas that can work into therapy) for our students in middle, high school and beyond.
What are your favorite freebies for social language therapy? Don’t be shy, share them here!