Two weeks ago I wrote a blog post that generated a LOT of comments!

I love when this happens because it helps me feel like I’m not alone with some of the things I’m going through in my sessions.

This particular blog post was about breaking free my obsession with session planning. And realizing that extreme session planning was more to meet my own needs and my comfort level then really meeting the needs of my clients.

I began to realize that the more I let go of that need for structure and planned activities, the more effective my sessions were. This was because I was directly responding to my clients and what they needed at that moment.

This is definitely not something I could have done as a practicum student or even an intern! This is a skill I’ve built up by having a large….very large….repertoire of songs and activity ideas in my memory bank. This allows me to be flexible and “in the moment” because I can draw from that memory store and pull up effective activities based on what my clients need.

Here’s another little nugget that’s helped me through many assessments.

Assessments can be intimidating because this is the very first time you’re meeting the child. This is when you need to be most flexible and “in the moment” because you’re getting to know the child throughout this session.

So I began bringing a HUGE variety of instruments, props, books, stuffed animals, etc. Then I would set my “bag-o-tricks” in front of the client and just watch and wait. At this moment I was observing what interests him…and in turn what will motivate him!

One of my clients LOVES the thunder tube – the sound of it, the feel of it, the look of it. Once I realized this, I started using the thunder tube to work on his goals. We can work on expressive language (“I want the thunder tube please!”), social skills (after your turn, pass it to Mary), sustained attention, selective attention, motor skills, the list goes on and on! Because I paid attention to what interests him, we’re able to work on his goals in a way that’s engaging and motivating for him. Now we’re transitioning to other instruments that sound similar (the drum because it can make a loud booming noise just like the thunder tube!)

I’d love to hear more comments from YOU! How do you plan or “not plan” for your assessment sessions? Leave a comment below and let us know!