In the United States, Thanksgiving falls on the fourth Thursday on the month, and is celebrated with family gatherings, traditions, and giving thanks. This national holiday is a terrific way to frame therapy activities to support meaning and carryover of skills targeted.
For some, the month of November is becoming an opportunity to acknowledge gratitude. On Facebook and other social media, adults have been sharing daily statements of something they are thankful for. What a great way for students to incorporate writing practice in their routine! A short statement, such as “I am thankful for my pet.”, can be composed or copied from a model into a small notebook. A shorter, more repetitive writing activity may support student engagement and success with handwriting activities, especially for students who experience challenges composing their thoughts.
Likewise, statements of gratitude can allow student to practice targeted articulation skills, and give opportunities for students to practice making longer, more varied statements.
Thank you cards are particularly relevant to this holiday. When making cards, adding a craft component to a short writing activity can also allow for the difficulty to be graded to the individual’s ideal level of challenge. Decorative hole punches can add a strengthening component, stickers, practice using the pincer grasp, and scissors, functional tool use related to classroom tasks! Also, children can practice addressing envelopes correctly and legibly.
Talking about why we say thank you, and how to say thank you, can support social skill development.
Practicing setting out place settings, folding napkins, or meal preparation tasks all provide children with opportunities to engage in meaningful activities, that can be modified and supported to support success and progress towards independence.
Football is a Thanksgiving tradition. Throwing and catching the ball, running to the “end” zone”, and doing a victory dance are great ways to get kids moving. Or, encourage students and families to begin a new tradition, perhaps by taking a pre- or post- meal walk.
Another tradition is the annual parade. This is a terrific opportunity for students to talk about what they see, utilizing articulation skills, but also descriptive and varied language and sequencing.
With family dinner as the central focus of the holiday, Thanksgiving also provides opportunities for students to practice table manners. Could you stage a thanksgiving dinner in your speech groups?
Do you have any favorite Thanksgiving therapy activities?