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Guest Blog: What's in your Therapy Bag?: Early Intervention - featured October 14, 2010

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What's in your Therapy Bag?: Early Intervention

By: Shareka Bentham, SLT copyright 2010. Shareka Bentham, SLT

This blog post has been reprinted with express permission of the author as it appeared on her blog Easy Speech and Language Ideas

Anyone who has seen me going into work knows I have a huge therapy bag. It's one of those fancy bags on wheels that you pull along by a long handle. You don't only see me coming, you hear me as well. I tend to get strange looks, and often the question "What in the world is in that bag?"

I also remember while being a grad student frantically searching the web for cool gadgets, toys and other resources that were commonly used by speech therapists.

Out of this I've decided to introduce my readers to 'My Therapy Bag!'
I've decided to do 2 posts on this and separate my early intervention goodies from the other therapy resources.

Cue the music as I slowly unzip the EI bag, building suspense as I go, and take a look inside:

the feely bag
very essential to every EI bag. It does not have to be fancy. Currently I'm using an old pillowcase, which I may eventually decorate and stick on some sparkly bits. However, once you use it right it will have the same effect. Great for exploring, manipulating, building anticipation etc. Children always get excited about this new exciting object that they are going to pull from this magic bag. Paired with a therapists enthusiastic expression and a "what's inside?" It gives lots of fun times. Also good for developing the preposition 'in'.

the hider
My feely bag also doubles as my hider. A hider is simply something that hides things. It's a piece of cloth that is key to developing object permanence in young ones. You can use it to hide the car while the child is playing with it, to see if he searches for it, or you can use it to hide a person during a peek-a-boo game.

bubbles
If you don't have bubbles you're not a speech therapist. Great for building vocab, artic activities (particularly /b/ and /p/ (pop pop)) and oro motor activities.

a car
Good for developing joint attention and turn taking skills, building those performatives (vrroom, beep beep), the classic "ready, steady........go", you can drive it over body parts etc. I also like to use a bus for this, as /b/ is an earlier developing sound and I find children tend to say bus before car.

a ball
Also good for similar goals to the car. I also do lots of 'ball up', 'ball down'

animals
classic vocab builders. Great to make the animal sounds as well. I also have a Noah's Ark that I put the animals 'in' and 'on' and say 'hello' and 'bye bye' as they go.

picture books
My favourite right now is 'brown bear, brown bear' because of it's repetition and need for lots of intonation. Great for joint attention and vocab building.

velcro food halves and knife
Children love cutting open the fruits and vegetables (so do I). There's something about that velcro noise that gives good sensory stimulation. I always associate it with me saying "cut, cut, cut, open!" With some younger ones I let them roll across the floor to get the food and pull it open with both hands. Also good for offering a choice.

blocks
I have the fisher price peek-a-blocks which children always love. We build towers 'up up up' then knock them down.

balloons
Nothing gets a child more excited than running after a deflating balloon. I also like to let the air out slowly on body parts "I'm gonna get your tummy" ...

a baby (doll)
[Lots of /b/ words in my EI bag, have you noticed?] Good for dressing, feeding, washing, sleeping, and all the verbs.

puppets
Be careful when using these, as all children do not like puppets. It can make or break your session. I have experienced both. Finger puppets also work well.

Stacking rings
I like to put these over my mouth when making a sound, then put them to the child's mouth when it's his turn to make a sound. I also put them to my eyes to say "I see youuu" Great for a wide range of activities.

I think that's all I can think of right now in my handy EI bag. I feel like I'm missing a few more. Maybe I'll make them 'resource of the week' if I remember later.

Featured Author: Shareka Bentham, SLT

From her blog: My name is Shareka Bentham, I'm a Speech and Language therapist (also known as a Speech Pathologist in some countries), working in private practice. I earned my Masters in New Zealand and returned to Barbados to practice. I'm quite a newbie in the field, as this is my first year practising, but I've learnt a lot thus far. There aren't many speech therapists in my country, one working in government, and the remaining 4 or so in private practice catering to a population of approximately 275,000. Needless to say I have a pretty hectic caseload with a range of communicative needs. I work with both paediatric and adult populations with speech, language, social communication voice, fluency, and feeding disorders and my settings range from clinic, hospitals, and house/school visits. I'm also the in-house therapist at one primary school, so yes it gets quite busy.

Tags: Newsletter Article Early Intervention SLP 15 October 2010