Saturday, March 2, 2013

Light Box Therapy

Last year, there was a plethora of postings about using your own light table during therapy.  I saw postings on Play at home mom, Testy Yet Trying and Speech Room News

This was also around the time that I started having some anxiety about the lack of fun sensory experiences I'd given to my then three year old.  Had I used all my fun-ness in speech therapy????  I used to be an awesome mom who had great ideas for behavior management, developmentally appropriate activities, and fun outings for the family.  Then I had my own kids.  As it turns out, sometimes I prefer checking my Facebook status to whipping up a batch of fresh Kool-aid play doh.  I bought a sled this year and have taught my young son various ways to express the idea that it is too cold to go sledding.  Although now I just justify this as teaching him the skill of being bored and good self regulation. 

BUT the light table I could do.  Pretty much any project that could also benefit my speech clients gets a green light.  I used Testy Yet Trying's tutorial and bought some of the materials suggested by Play at Home mom.  My only suggestion if you go this route is to avoid spraying the paint in the garage next to your husband's car.  Spray paint travels pretty far.  Whoops.

The light table was fun for my son and in therapy but I struggled with how to use it effectively to target goals.  I brought it back this year to work on joint attention.   I put some colored sand in the bottom of a clear container and we worked on taking turns drawing in the sand, looking at each other and commenting.

Some of my other clients saw the light table and wanted to play too.  So we ended up with these activities:

I used a sheet of articulation cards from Testy Yet trying and put it on the light box.  (Note this is NOT the lightbox I made.  Shortly after making the light box, a dollar store went out of business and I got this Fiskars craft light table for 5.00)   We started by saying each word.  Then I put my sand tray on top. 

Now they had to uncover each one using a carrier phrase. 

Another way we used the light box was by putting 2 picture cards on the light box.  We would say the targets (in this case it was he/she)  Then I'd cover the pictures with the sand.  Could they remember where the card was located?  Then we practiced the targets again. 

I used some simple three picture sequence cards.  First I put out the cards and had them tell me what the "MAIN idea " was.  (going swimming in a backyard pool)  Then I had them sequence the cards in order.  For this activity we did the order going up and down similar to schedules that they were familiar with.  As they sequenced the cards, I modeled simple sentences.  Then we put the sand on top and the students uncovered each photo and described what was happening in each picture. 

I still have a bunch of clients who are working on temporal directions.  For this activity, I had them draw in the light box.  (Before you draw the circle, draw a square.)  You could also adapt this by having the kids complete a more complex drawing with you giving the steps.  Ed Emberley books have some great simple drawings that you could use in the sandbox. 

I'm thinking it would be fun to work on with emotions too.  You could draw the circle and have them draw in the eyebrows, mouth etc.  Or you could try to "change" people's emotions by drawing over pictures of real people.  I could see this being really motivating: (Let's see what the Math teacher would look like if they were really mad....) 

What other ways have you used a light box in therapy? 

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