There has been a lot of energy around implementation of group therapy. It’s a great way to focus therapeutic interventions on retraining previously learned skills, reinforcing strengths, teaching compensatory strategies, developing functional skills, and increasing self-awareness to facilitate successful adaptation or adjustment. A big part of speech-language pathology intervention focuses on effective communication and compensatory strategies. Clinically appropriate group intervention is a great treatment approach to assess the effectiveness of skills trained and carry-over of compensatory strategies. Patients enjoy the activities that take them away from their daily ordinary treatments. Additionally, there is a lot of literature that points to the importance of opportunities for social engagement as part of rehabilitation.
Speech-Language Pathologists have many fun ways to integrate group based on various clinical conditions being treated. For example, if the target is word finding or speed of processing then the game Catch Phrase could be used to challenge the group to improve that target treatment area. For respiratory patients a group treatment may focus on a competition of blowing cotton balls across the table (to improve expiration); or conduct a kazoo or harmonica band (to focus on inhalation and exhalation). Swallow groups might be a tea party. The snacks and beverages can be various textures to assess tolerance of advanced textures. A great way to engage patients in conversation during a group setting is to have conversation sticks. Use tongue depressors with various topics written on them and then have the group take turns picking a topic for discussion.
It’s important to remember that group intervention still needs to tie back to the goals in the POC and documentation needs to capture the skilled interventions. Other than that, the possibilities for group treatment ideas to address cognition, communication and swallow are endless! For more ideas, please refer to the Group Therapy Programming POSTette.
Pointe Meadows of Lehi, Utah uses the game, Headbands, in an SLP group. Headbands can be used to facilitate turn taking, processing speed, expressive communication, reading comprehension, and speech intelligibility
Additional examples of games that can target specific areas of communication and cognition
Additional example of resistive breathing devices that can be integrated in a group setting