Unique and Bizarre Holidays as Therapy Topics or Material -melissa n., M.A., CCC-SLP
New and interesting therapy material can be difficult to come by at time. When I am challenged so far as to topics that stimulate creativity and language, I often look to unique and bizarre holidays that are registered and occurring at that time. For instance, the month of December looks like this on http://www.holidayinsights.com/moreholidays/december.htm
Year 2011 Each Day:
4 Santa’s’ List Day – we hope you are on the “Nice” list
5 Repeal Day – The 21st Amendment ends Prohibition. I’ll drink to that!
11 International Children’s Day – Second Sunday in December
13 Violin Day
21 Humbug Day
23 Festivus – for the rest of us
23 Roots Day
26 Boxing Day
31 Unlucky Day
On the seventh, I will likely base my therapy sessions around the theme of “Letter Writing Day,” and have my patients tell me about letters they have written and received, the difference between WRITING a letter and e-mailing (or, less personal yet, texting someone), and then actually have the patient write or dictate a letter (depending on skill level) to actually send to someone.
“Oatmeal Muffin Day” on the nineteenth is a great excuse to do a cooking group or individual session focusing on sequencing and functional problem solving (“If we want to double the recipe, how many eggs do we need?”). The twenty-seventh is “Make Cut Out Snowflakes Day,” which is a great time to co-treat with Occupational Therapy to target attention to task and auditory comprehension for following basic level directives, as well as the Occupational Therapy goals for fine motor skills and hand/finger strength and coordination. “Unlucky Day” on the thirty-first would be an occasion to discuss the most “lucky” and the most “unlucky” things that have occurred in a clients’ life, or to play a game such as “Yahtzee” that is based upon the luck of the dice. Utilizing unique and interesting holidays as a therapy tool is cost effective, fun, and easily accessible. Who knows, maybe you and/or your client may develop a registerable “holiday.”
Regardless, the end result of branching out and looking for creative outlets for our patients is a happier, more involved, more rewarding career for us Speech Pathologists and a broader, more motivating, individualized treatment plan for our clients. And who doesn’t learn more when they are interested?