SLP Corner: The Benefits of Having Speech Therapy Outside of the Speech Room
by Erik Raj, M.S., CCC-SLP
As a speech-language pathologist, sometimes I have a difficult time dreaming up new and exciting speech therapy ideas. Don’t get me wrong, most of the time I’m okay, but there are those other times when it’s obvious that my creative juice tank is just plain empty (grrr!). However, whenever I feel myself hitting a creativity block, I always make it a point to stand up and go outside for a refreshing walk. Personally, I have found that when I make the conscious decision to temporarily separate myself from the four walls of my speech therapy room, it tends to do wonders for my creativity. I believe that going outside for a moment breaks up the monotony and the new surrounding always gives my creative engine the jump start that it needs.
The same can be said for our students!
Day in and day out, we work our speech therapy magic in our speech therapy room, but what if we conducted speech therapy in a DIFFERENT room from time to time? Or what if we actually went outside to do speech therapy (if the weather permitted, of course)? Would the change in scenery help our students be more creative? More talkative? More motivated? My answer is yes, yes, and YES because I have seen this happen! I’ve temporarily relocated my speech students to other parts of the school campus on numerous occasions and each time it was a success. Let me take a moment to share with you how much fun “speech field trips” can be.
Speech field trips?! Huh?!
Yup, my students came up with the term of “speech field trips” and it describes this speech therapy approach perfectly. Here are some examples:
Speech field trip to the hallway? Sweet!
You never know who you will run into while walking down the hallway. You might see a secretary, art teacher, parent, or even the principal of the school! Why not take the opportunity to practice your articulation sounds while speaking to someone other than Mr. Raj? It’s a fun way to “get out of your comfort zone” but still be in a safe environment. My students really embrace the challenge and I know yours will, too.
For added laughs, have your students use my I Dare You Articulation app to challenge random people to perform some silly dares!
Speech field trip to the gym? Score!
I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, I love taking my students to the gym room whenever possible. All you have to do is get to know the gym teacher’s schedule. If there’s a moment in the day when the gym room has no classes in it, why not take one of your small groups there? With an endless amount of possibilities to target all of your students’ goals and objectives, your small group will thank you BIG TIME for this educationally amazing adventure.
Speech field trip outside? Solid!
If you have access to a tree, sit under it with a picture book and tell your students a story. If you have access to a playground, have your students describe the different types playground equipment WHILE playing on said equipment. If you have access to a parking lot, put some laugh tickets on a car or two. The list goes on and on, so get outside and get creative!
In closing . . .
I’m a firm believer that taking yourself out of the usual almost always brings on some “unusual” results that might really surprise you. Leaving the speech therapy room not only helps me become more creative, but it does the same with my students. If you are looking for an exciting and interesting spin on speech therapy, take my advice and leave your speech therapy room RIGHT NOW. Got it? Cool!
Featured Contributor: Erik X. Raj, M.S., CCC-SLP
Erik X. Raj, M.S., CCC-SLP is a practicing speech-language pathologist and app developer living in Detroit, Michigan. Originally from Jackson, New Jersey, he received his B.S. from Richard Stockton College of New Jersey and was awarded a M.S. from Misericrodia University.
You can learn about Erik’s apps for speech-language therapy and read his blog on erikxraj.com
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