More Therapy Materials for New Clinicians
I'm still focusing on therapy materials
that new clinicians in the SNF or geriatric setting might want to collect. One of the most versatile therapy tools you can use are everyday objects, which work for naming, following directions, describing, attention, memory, orientation, speech intelligibility and auditory comprehension. So many skills can be addressed! A therapist has many options for collecting the objects, from commercial kits such as the LARK
editions to collecting your own materials.
I personally like to use objects that the patient will use every day and that can be found readily in the home or facility. Here are some ideas for categories of items to collect:
- Personal hygiene items, such as brushes, toothbrushes, travel or sample size shampoo and lotions, and fingernail clippers.
- Office supplies, including pens, pencils, notepads, stamps, paper clips and envelopes.
- A cosmetic bag filled with lipstick, lip balm, a mirror, comb and perfume.
- A toolbox with tools, nuts and bolts, duct tape, measuring tape and so on.
- A snack box with crackers, peanut butter, jelly, small bottles of water or juice, candy, gum, napkins, condiments, straws and utensils.
- Small plastic toys, including cars, animals, dolls with clothes, and familiar childhood toys like decks of cards, jars of bubbles, yo-yos, and Slinkys. Toys are great conversation starters!
When using manipulatives and objects, it is important to know your patient and prepare. For example, will a confused patient try to eat plastic food? Does the patient understand that these are not his personal grooming items, or will he put the toothbrush in his mouth? Patients with dementia may need items that are personal to them and are used in a functional context. In that situation, the SLP might want to foster expressive language by working with the patient in his room with his own belongings. Some patients will need to be monitored closely for safety; we don't want anyone drinking shampoo!
Any actual food items will, of course, have to be replaced periodically. The clinician should always know what dietary restrictions the patient has.
Commercial kits often include photographs of the objects or pictures that show items being used, as well as therapy workbooks. I have found that the decks of Webber photo cards can be a great supplement to the objects. Many generic language and speech workbooks will have sections on following commands, naming, and descriptive tasks that can be modified to fit the objects you have collected.