Friday, April 12, 2013

Clinical Skills Confidence: When Plan A Doesn't Work

Next in line: When Plan A Doesn't Work

It's a skill that I think you have to keep refining as you move along in your career. In grad school, I had every session planned down to the last minute and I generally didn't have too many kids with behavioral issues. So my sessions were pretty smooth and Plan A almost always worked. 

Nowadays? Not so much. 

So what do you do when Plan A doesn't work? Sometimes your kiddo doesn't much care that you spent hours planning out this great activity. Like when he spots the cars or she REALLY wants to play with stickers instead of the awesome activity you had planned. What to do? Not to worry! For this post, I'm going to focus on the 2-5 year olds. 

Remember, with young children, therapy involves following their lead. This doesn't mean letting the child run the session. It just means that you should adapt your goals for therapy for the moment. There are times when I've forgotten this very important detail. Alas, when I step back for a minute, I can see that almost anything that child picks is something I can USE and ADAPT to fit therapy goals. So the child is dying to play with cars. Ok! Talk about the colors of the cars, hold out two cars and have the child choose which one he wants, talk about going up in the elevator and driving down the ramp, and going in the garage, which car is fast vs. which car is slow, and take turns pushing the cars down the ramp! Before you know it, you've covered verbs, prepositions, adjectives, requesting and turn taking all in one activity.

So, Sally just wants some stickers? Ok! Stick some stickers on the table, on the door, under the table, on her ear, or in a box. Talk about which stickers are big, little, shiny, or purple. Talk about what is ON the stickers and where you find those things. Use a board book and let her put stickers on the characters (following directions, anyone?). You've now covered prepositions, adjectives, WH questions, vocabulary, and following directions all in one activity.

What do you do when Plan A doesn't work? 

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