Thursday, January 4, 2018

Keys to Modifying Therapy Activities

PIcture courtesy of Pexels
Wow! Has it really been 4 months since my last post? Thank you for not forgetting about me, and for reading this post. This year has been crazy busy for me, both professionally and personally. I hope to write more this year!

I've been thinking a lot about modifications during therapy, and how it really doesn't come naturally. It's a skill that takes a lot of time to develop.

A Poor observation score is sometimes the best thing that could happen

As a young SLP, one of the most difficult things for me was to know when and how to modify activities for students. I trudged through a session without any modifications, sure that a light would eventually go off and the poor child would suddenly “get it”. During an observation, I was going through a list with a Kindergartner. I don’t remember the specifics, but I knew in my heart this activity was too difficult for this child. When I received the feedback from my special ed director, it wasn’t good. In fact, it was far less than good. It was downright awful. I went in that afternoon to see her, and she said she was expecting me. She sat me down and said, “it was too hard for her.” What could I say? I knew without a shadow of a doubt that she was speaking the truth. We brainstormed, and I left her office being more determined than I think I had ever been up to that point in my life. When I left her office, I was embarrassed but realized that she had just given me a very special gift: the gift of knowing when to modify activities.

It’s our professional responsibility to modify activities according to our students’ needs

I make products that are specific to students on my caseload. I’m assuming other SLPs who are also TpT authors do the same thing. It is my expectation that buyers of my products will modify them to fit their own needs. As an example: I bought a winter concept package that included a flip book. Some of the pages included concepts that were too difficult for a particular student. I simply left out those pages. The result was a somewhat “mini” flip-book that the student could take home and review with the parents without frustration.

Body language is a big indicator of when to modify activities

How do you know when it’s necessary to modify an activity? Watch the child. He may not come out and tell you, but if you watch him, you’ll get the information you need. It’s okay to begin with something that you know is too difficult, you just have to realize the frustration point and then modify. The child may show disinterest, he may appear as if he isn’t paying attention. He may begin to get “antsy”, or you may see it in his eyes. There are still times when I have a “crier”; that tells me that I pushed too hard. All you can do at that point is simply back off.

Keep modifying until the child has some success

It’s true that a lot of knowing when and how to modify takes experience. It also takes a lot of trial and error. I don’t know of anyone who started in the field being an expert on modifying activities. Don’t get discouraged if a child doesn’t pick up on a concept right away. Just watch him and change what you’re doing until he has some success. Then you have your starting place! Sit back, relax, and most of all, have fun!

1 comment:

  1. I completely agree that this is a skill that must be learned! It takes time and practice to get to where you can modify...on the fly! ;)


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