I always try to include some conversation in any therapy I do: whatever the age or ability of the children. This time of year is brilliant as we have just had Halloween and bonfire night and Christmas is coming soon!! Talking about things the children have experienced normally evokes better, more spontaneous language and is really functional as talking outside the here and now is an incredibly important skill and one many of the children I work with find hard.
I love talking about firework night. You can get a very interesting range of gestures, signs and words to describe them. With younger children, it may be a child excitedly waving their arms around to demonstrate a Catherine wheel, or lots of fizz, pop, bangs! It might be covering your ears and saying ‘no’. With some of the older children, we had a full discussion about Guy Fawkes, the gunpowder plot and what treason is. It doesn’t matter, whatever level the child is at, they can still join in and discuss a shared experience.The children are more animated and generate better language.
It also reminds me of my own son and some different experiential learning he has had. I love animals and was bought up with a real menagerie; owls, dogs, lizards, bats, fish etc. One of my earliest memories is helping my mum deliver baby puppies in the shed at the end of the garden. I greatly enjoyed growing up with animals and wanted the same for my son. We keep exotics and had tarantulas when my son was young. He was very good and would help spray water in and watch me feed them. He knew you had to be careful with the boxes and not tap or knock them. Now, one of the best things to keep tarantulas in is Tupperware: it keeps them moist and the air humid. I remember one day before he turned two, we were out at the shops. He saw a big pile of Tupperware boxes. He very carefully picked one up, peeled the lid back and with a shocked expression on his face said ‘spider gone’! I had taught my son that all Tupperware had spiders in!!