Schools are out and hot weather is here to stay…it is SUMMER TIME! 🙂
Here at Skill Builders, we are gearing up to start our summer schedule next week. The summer can be a really busy time for families between camps and vacations, and it is easy for the weeks to fly by quickly! Now is a great time to shake things up in therapy. Here are 5 tips to help you get the most out of your summer therapy sessions:
1. Schedule a team meeting
– The summer can be a really nice time to schedule a meeting with both parents, the therapist(s) and even nannies or other caregivers. At our practice, we have both SLPs and OTs on staff, so we try to include both treating therapists when at all possible. This meeting can be used to talk about progress, share important updates from school and talk about any changes in the routines at home. I also use these meetings as an opportunity to modify or update goal areas.
2. Choose a focus
-Since you often only have about 8 sessions over the summer, it is a great time to select one or two goal areas to intensively focus on. This allows us to really make some progress in one area, and have the satisfaction of checking a goal off our list by the end of the summer. I like to get input from my kids. I will ask them “What is something you really want to work on this summer?“. One year, I worked with a kid on intelligibly saying his sister’s name. It was great to target something so functional and my client was extra motivated to work on this goal. How satisfying!
3. Pick a project
-For many kids, it can be fun to pick a project that will be worked on every week. I like to pick a project that is tailored to the child’s personal interests. Doing this can make the summer feel more like a special camp that is separate from the rest of the school year. At the end of the summer, the child has a finished project to show off all of his hard work! One of my kiddos wrote his own comic book over the course of 8 weeks, and we surprised his parents with it at the last session.
4. Change it up
-I have been seeing some of my kids for years! Even the hardest little workers can get demotivated by the same old routine over and over again. Try changing rooms, starting a new type of schedule, or playing music during the session. The summer is also a great time to try having the child work with another therapist once or twice. A new set of eyes can be really helpful in setting new goals, and it allows the child to practice generalizing skills with a whole new person. Shaking things up in the summer can help you start the new school year off with a fresh attitude.
5. Do the homework
-I get it…the word homework does not scream “summer fun!” but the summer is a really great time to prioritize home practice because you don’t have other school assignments to do. I love it when parents ask me for ideas for home because it increases the carry-over from session to session! There are lots of ways to make homework a bit more fun, like earning stickers towards a fun reward or creating assignments that can be done outside or better yet, in the swimming pool!
Looking forward to a fun and productive summer here at Skill Builders! Check out our Instagram feed for fun pictures of all the fun things happening in therapy this summer!
-Elizabeth Clark McKenzie, MS, CCC-SLP