During a large family gathering, while all the adults were eating dinner, we suddenly noticed that the kids were suspiciously quiet. Between us, we had 7 children under 8 years old at the time, so the typical sound track to dinner was much more likely to be wild laughter and screeching than silence. It was time to investigate. Given the choice between a play room filled with toys, an iPad, DVDs, an outdoor playhouse, bikes, cars, and lemons, the kids chose lemons. We found them in a factory line on a stone bench in the corner of the yard pounding, squeezing, and drinking lemon juice out of a bucket. We hid and giggled watching them busily chatting to each other, assigning tasks and executing them with great importance. New words and concepts were emerging: "sour!" "deeelicious!" "empty" "no more" "my turn!" They smiled, they whined, they laughed, they screamed, they had fun, and they learned.
Moments like these remind me to never rely on tools or toys for teaching. Kids (and adults!) learn the most when things are fun, interesting, and when we are engaged together. As a Speech-Language Pathologist, part of my job is to set goals and create lesson plans. An even more important part of my job is to be adaptable and responsive to my client's needs. When my client only wants to play with lemons, it gives me an opportunity to be creative and engage in a collaborative learning experience.
On April 14th, Echo Speech Therapy will be presenting the workshop "Let's Make Lemonade! Becoming a Creative and Resourceful SLP" to graduate students at California State University, Northridge (CSUN). We are excited about sharing our experiences and therapeutic strategies and learning from student clinicians simultaneously. In preparation, we are asking students and fellow clinicians to share their creative therapy moments with us on twitter and instagram using the hashtag #CreativeSLP. Do you want to be part of the conversation? Click on the links above and share your favorite lemonade-making experience!