Hello everyone, welcome to another blog post!
This time of the year is so wonderful because you have the opportunity to do many winter and holiday themed interventions and sessions! I have talked about this a bit before in a previous blog post, but themed sessions that correlate with the time of the year is a great way to implement reality orientation with your clients. Since we live in San Diego and a lot of our clients have never experienced snow either, it is also another great way to teach them about different winter activities and what snow looks like!
Today, I’ll be sharing some of my favorite winter/holiday themed interventions that we have facilitated over the past few weeks in December. I’ll also share the goals that you can target with these interventions as well.
- Build a Snowman
This is an intervention that you can use with both individual and group clients! I use this intervention for attention and listening goals. I printed, cut out and laminated various parts of a snowman, and used three 8×11” pieces of paper as a snowman’s body. For groups, I pass out different parts of the snowman, and within the song, different parts are called, and the client is supposed to hold up the correlating part of the snowman, and then they’re able to put it on the snowman. The parts are held on with velcro, so that they are able to easily detach and reattach. You can do the same thing with an individual client, but have the various parts of the snowman spread out, and then they find the correct part. I have attached a lead sheet of an adapted version of “Frosty the Snowman” that I wrote, along with a picture of my visual after a group of my clients completed this intervention 🙂
- 12 Days of Christmas (piggybacked)
This is another intervention that I have created for my groups of clients that also focus on attention, sequencing and listening goals. I took the melody from the 12 Days of Christmas and changed it to the “10 Days of Winter”, and changed the lyrics so that each day is a different winter related object. Some objects I included are mittens, hot cocoa, fireplaces, snowmen, etc. I printed out photos of each object called, with one taking up an entire 8×11” sheet of paper, and then I pass them out to the clients. I explain that during the song, when their objects are called, they are to hold up the picture. This works great with bigger groups as well, because even if they do not have a picture, I prompt them to point at the picture of the object that is called. For example, when I sing “On the fifth day of winter, [facility name] gave to me, 5 snowflakes!”, the person with the picture of 5 snowflakes holds up their paper, and everyone else gets to point at the picture.
- Holiday song fill in the blank
Holiday songs can be a really great tool to use to help facilitate speech and work long-term memory because a lot of the songs are familiar to most clients. If you are familiar with the NMT technique called MUSTIM, this is a great technique to help facilitate both of these goals. You can facilitate this intervention with many different populations and settings as well, including older adults in memory care, a group of adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, as well as individual clients. Some of my most used songs for this intervention include Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, Jingle Bells and Deck the Halls. For example, in the song Rudolph, there are clear phrases and ends of lines. You can choose to leave off the last word in each line for clients to fill in, or make it more challenging by pausing in the middle of a line. For example, “Rudolph the red nosed reindeer had a very shiny _____, and if you ever saw it, you would even say it _______”. This is a great intervention to scaffold as well, and you can even scaffold it so by the end, they are able to sing the song entirely independently while you provide an accompaniment.
- Pass Rudolph
This is a great intervention to use in groups to allow clients to have the opportunity for a leadership role, and to work on listening skills. This intervention can be done with really any song, but in this case, we chose to use Rudolph because we have a stuffed Rudolph that we use as a prop. Clients are prompted to pass around the stuffed Rudolph, and when the therapist stops playing/singing, whoever Rudolph lands on, that person gets the chance to have a solo. The solo can be done with drums, tambourine, or any other percussion instrument, and they can even sing as well. The other clients are instructed to listen to the other person as they do their solo, and then to clap for them at the end. The therapist can provide an accompaniment on guitar/piano while the client has their solo, and can improvise words based off of what is happening in the moment to the tune of Rudolph.
There you have it! Some of my favorite holiday interventions I have been using the past few weeks. I would love to hear from you all- what are some interventions that you’ve done?
Happy holidays and see you in the next post!
– Juliana Hsu, MTI