Games Can Be Fantastic Therapy Tools

Dec 31, 2012 by

Games Can Be Fantastic Therapy Tools

I have always said that I can turn or modify any game into an educational experience.  Me at my advanced years was thinking only about board games.  Over the years I’ve been able to teach almost every single language skill through conventional games.  Unfortunately, those days are numbered because it’s hard to collect data when your having fun.

I was extremely pleased when I came across this article on  Angry Birds Educational Tool.  This article truly validates what I already know.  I am so glad the younger generation of SLP’s are able to see the value of games in learning.  I love angry birds but never even thought to bring it into my therapy as a tool but I have used it as a reward.  Why I never thought of this I don’t know.  This article presents an excellent perspective and shows just how creative speech language pathologists can be.

Reality is kids just don’t know how to play anymore.  Our students are usually at an even bigger disadvantage for knowing how to initiate play with others, feel successful and how to accept wins/losses gracefully.  Anytime we play a game with our students we are providing a learning experience that they will not get from their peers or even their parents.

I actually have a whole section on my blog called Modify that Game, which I will admit is dated with it’s information.  Still the point is there, games can have educational value.

My last article on gaming was back in June. 

Gaming In Education

I was following up on an article a friend sent me.  Basically I said that video games are good but you would still need a skilled teacher to fill in the gaps.   I’m not a video gamer so I reserved making any harsh judgements.

However, I was writing about the importance of play long before that.  The Importance of Play

I am still amazed at the number of children I encounter that truly don’t know how to play and I’m not just talking about our language disabled kids.  Kids are so managed these days that they are loosing their negotiation skills, critical thinking skills, imaginations, flexibility with interpersonal skills and play skills.

Recently an SLP contacted me to tell me that she was not allowed to use games in therapy any more.  I thought how sad that we’ve gotten to the point where fun had to be squashed in order to make sure kids pass a test or that enough data gets collected.  I figured that was the reason or that their administration was nuts.

Enjoy the articles highlighted above, put a little bit of fun into your therapy setting, worry about data collection around progress report time.  Modified games can play a huge role in therapy not to mention increase motivation.  Funny that it’s more accepted if the games are presented on the computer or iPad that out of a dusty old box.  However, games are much easier to modify out of the dusty old box.  Personally I can see the value in both conventional games and some computer games/apps.  Just like conventional games and therapy games, there are a lot of junky computer games and apps that are not worth even trying out.

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