teen group is busy establishing connections in an effort to get to know
each other better. We had a great session last week (which you can catch here) and I tried this fun activity a few days ago:
session. An item that represents:
- something they are proud of
- a special place they like to visit
- something they enjoy doing
- an important moment from their past
The picture was my example of an important moment. It was taken on the night I met my husband of 31 years–I was 19 at the time! We met at a party and honestly for me it was love at first sight. It was a story I enjoyed sharing with my students and it seemed to intrigue them. They passed the picture around, and each teen in the group had a comment or question.
The only girl in the group (total 7 clients) shared an equally tender
important moment: a beautiful picture of her with her 95-year-old great
grandmother. We learned that she got both her name and blue eyes from
this beautiful woman. The group listened as she told memories of
lollipops her great-grandma always gave her and days down the Jersey
shore when the family rented a summer home.
for 3 years. He is a serious (albeit often TOO serious) sports fan,
especially hockey. Surprise!–every connection was related to
sports. However, holding a hockey puck, this usually quiet boy mustered all his
language skills to paint a verbal picture of the night he scored his
The next are examples from an 8th grade boy who has been with the group for 4 years. He is forthright in his manner and is very active in his therapy. He proudly showed the Special Olympic medals he earned over the years for swimming. In response to questions from the group, he explained both what the Special Olympics were and his disability (TBI).
Clinically I gathered so many impressions from this session. The effect of episodic memory on their ability to express themselves and interact as a group was significant. Interest levels increased listening. The situation was pragmatically appropriate, which fueled questions and comments. Conversation flowed. They were truly interacting as a group! It would make sense to incorporate more activities that take advantage of this “cognitive booster”, a strategy I will remember to employ more frequently.
But the best outcome was probably in my favor. It was one of those sessions that goes into your career memory bank and reminds me of why over 20 years ago I became a speech-language pathologist. We really do make a difference in the lives of the children we work with, and if we are lucky we are given reminders in our careers golden moments.