Thankfully, I work for a company trying to get away from the image of the itinerant therapist toting a big bag of toys.  During my interview, I was asked my views on said Big Bag, and I wistfully replied that I could make therapy out of anything.  Give me a cardboard box and a wooden spoon, I bragged, and we can do prepositions till the cows come home, or until the hour is up.  “The spoon is in the box.”  “Now it’s out of the box”.  “You put it on top of the box”  WH-questions?  Sure!   “Where is the spoon?”  “What am I holding, the box or the spoon?”  “Who has the spoon?”  “Who is in the box?”  “Where am I?”  Social and pragmatic language?  Bring it on!  “My turn to whack the box with the spoon.”  “Your turn to hide in the box.”  “Count to ten.  Ready or not, here I come!”  Building conceptual vocabulary?  Too easy.  “Oooh, a hard wooden spoon.  And look, the box is made of cardboard.  It’s very smooth and brown.  The spoon is brown, too.  They match.  But they’re not the same.  The box is big and the spoon is little.  I use the box to hide in or put things.  I use the spoon to stir a pot, or to bang on a pot in the streets when the Phillies win the World Series.”  You get the picture.  They want us to leave the big bag at home, and make do with the tools of the environment.  Sometimes I get bored of the same old toys and books at kids’ houses, and I’ve been known to bring in some fresh material (even I get sick of doing the same Shrek puzzle 20 times).  Even so, the element of resourcefulness remains. 

Today, for example, on a walk around the neighborhood (playground being too wet after this week’s deluge-style rains), I accompanied a class.  Carefully, we stepped around puddles, not in dog poop, over gaping holes in the sidewalk, and between random pipes sticking out of the ground.  We stayed far from broken glass, and close to the teachers.  We crossed streets, observed that it was trash day, and in navigating that obstacle course, compared little, medium, and big trashcans.  See?  I can do therapy anywhere, with only the materials provided for me by the streets of North Philly. 

The final instance of ingenuity occurred as we arrived back at school.  Older children were planting in the raised beds in front of the school.  As I read off the labels of the vegetables they were trying to grow ( radishes, eggplant, zucchini, carrots, tomatoes, and, oddly, daffodils), I noticed a strangely shaped object covering the exposed stakes propping up the corners of the garden fencing.  I stopped, stared, and figured it out:

Covering each stake was a single translucent nipple.  Speech therapists and gardeners, resourceful to the end.

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