Taking Therapy Outside

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When the weather gets nice and your students’ classes are going out, you don’t stand much of a chance of having happy students inside, sitting at your table. With a bit of planning, you can have some therapy ideas ready that will let you take your therapy session outside! 

The Frenzied SLPs are taking therapy outside this week!

When I worked with preschoolers, I used this as an opportunity to generalize skills for requesting. Swings and roundabouts are the best! You can push just hard enough for a short ride, requiring your students to ask for ‘more pushes,’ ‘again,’ or maybe descriptive words like ‘higher!’ or 'faster!'

Slides are useful for eliciting ‘my turn.’  All you have to do is stand at the bottom of the ladder, looking at the student and waiting for them to say ‘my turn’ before getting out of their way. Do your students need some extra help to talk about the playground? Click here.
When I was working with nonverbal students with autism, this was a great opportunity to apply the skills of looking at a peer and giving an object to them, which I had worked on all year long. I did this by introducing a very modified version of tag. I’d point at the student they needed to find, saying “Give it to __ ” using the same ‘give’ visual that I had taught inside the classroom. The student had to run with a small object, like a ring (the kind that is used in relay races) and give it to the named student. 

Some students needed me to run with them to learn the new game. Using the ring was nice because it made it easy to hold their hand and the ring at the same time, fading to both of us holding the ring, to doing it independently. Besides getting a small edible reinforcer for completing the task, it also provided negative reinforcement naturally- once their turn was done, they were left alone to run around! My bonus? It got me extra exercise!

Some students, however, may not benefit from sessions outside, no matter how appealing it seems to us. For example, some students have too much difficulty attending for you to be able to keep their attention when a wide-open space beckons. Other students I’ve had will try to run away when outside, becoming a safety issue. So, join me next week for bringing the outside into your therapy room! In the meantime, be sure to link up with the rest of The Frenzied SLPs for some great ideas!


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