This week, I am working PRN at the SNF in speech therapy, covering for a full time therapist who definitely deserved a vacation! Now that I am a full time school based SLP, I try to help out my fellow therapists who don’t get the luxury of more lengthy Summer breaks.
At this particular facility, the director and Certified Occupational Therapist Assistant just happens to be one of my very best friends. When we do therapy together, we always try to make it exciting and different for our patients. Hey, therapists get bored too so technically it needs to be fun for those of us treating as well. Speech and OT can co-treat SO easily. I actually did part of a new evaluation using this activity. My COTA friend had noted some cognitive deficits in a patient who did surprisingly well on his speech/language screeners upon admission. This activity really presented a better opportunity to see what he was struggling with more specifically as related to living independently upon discharge.
So let’s get to the good stuff! Eating is always fun in therapy, functional too for those patients with swallowing goals. Cognitively, preparing a simple snack or meal by looking at instructions requires working memory, alternating attention, divided attention, problem solving-and more!
Just as a side note, I plan on using this activity in my school based Life Skills classroom next school year. My students will love it!
We started the activity by looking at a finished product. I pulled up THIS ONE from Venita and Kim @louknowswhattodo on Instagram. I showed them what the cookie would look like, talked about the blueberries and strawberries, icing, etc. Next they got on their gloves and read the recipe. The download includes one with text only and one with visuals at the top. I used the one appropriate to their cognitive level. After a few minutes passed, I gave them the recipe all cut up and had them work together to put it in order.
At this point, I honestly think one of my patients’ didn’t even remember what the plan was. I had them review the visual instructions again, not the text only ones this time! My daughter was there helping so she would give them the supplies as they identified what they needed and named them. A good way to sabotage an activity like this is to give them everything except the knife to spread! They will have to figure out what is missing and ask for it.
For the occupational therapist, this was a great activity to work on fine motor skills. If the patient is able to do, let them cut the strawberries into thin strips, open the packages, peel apart the paper plates (those things are tricky!), or rinse the fruit.
The cookies turned out surprisingly well. Not all were Pinterest worthy but very few things in my life are! They were worthy of eating and enjoying with friends. A lot of Independence Day reminisce occurred around this table today and if for just a 55 minute treatment, that made my patients’ day, then it was time well spent.
After we admired our creations, we told them to dig in! start eating! One of my patient’s said, “I thought we were making these for a party!” to which my COTA bestie replied “This is the party!” (after all, we had made decorations the day before!)
If you would like to try this activity with your students or patients, please feel free to download the free recipe here:
What kind of Independence Day Reminisce would you ask your patients?
Leave in the comments below!