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Heres one I made earlier

Heres one I made earlier...

Alison Roberts with two more low cost, flexible and fun therapy suggestions for groups. The communication tree What on earth?

This has been a really useful collage item to have on the wall of the clinic. It helps with motivation and understanding the interactive process. It is useful at the early stages of a social language group, where the clients are beginning to be aware of the skills they could improve in order to become better communicators, and is also a handy end-of-course recap. You are aiming to create an outline image of a tree, with roots and branches, to which the clients can attach leaf-shaped labels describing the ways in which communication benefits us, and clod-of-earth shaped labels stating prerequisites for achieving good communication. You will need to have constructed the base before your clients complete it. It is worth making the basic framework sturdily, because you can then use it again and again. Alternatively, you could make it out of paper as a quick illustrative exercise. It may take the group more than one session to complete the tree. MATERIALS A piece of board A2 size is about right. Fibreboard is ideal as you can stick pins into it. Its best to use it the portrait way round. Pale blue fabric to cover the whole board. Old polycotton sheeting is fine for this. Beige fabric to cover the lower third of the board representing the area under the ground where roots form. Thin strip of greenish fabric to form a grass level. Rough-textured brown fabric - we used hessian with success as it is textured enough to resemble tree bark and roots, yet lightweight enough to stay stuck on the backing. Glue (PVA is good as it doesnt show through the fabric). Leaf-green paper (several shades of green would be great). Earthy-brown paper. Pens, scissors, and pins. BRAWN Stick the blue fabric on the board to cover it completely and add the beige across the bottom third, forming the earth. SLTP Draw your tree on the textured brown fabric and cut it out. Its a good idea to make it a manybranched variety so that you will have lots of room for leaf- and clod- labels. Dont worry if you cant cut out the root part at the same time, you can cover the join with grass anyway. Stick your tree on, and stick the grass across where the roots meet the trunk, and the earth meets the sky. Write the word COMMUNICATION on or alongside the trunk. Now you have the basic form to which your clients can attach labels. IN PRACTICE Completing the board It is important that you discuss with your clients the reasons for making the board, and I have found that it is best to begin with the subject of the benefits of being able to communicate. The clients will tell you why it is important, but you should end up with a list including the following: chatting to people; making friends; using the phone; making appointments; asking for things in shops; telling people what you need; making jokes; having discussions; being part of a group; interview skills; getting a girl / boy friend; keeping in touch with old acquaintances. Write down all the suggestions as they are given, and then give everyone in the group some green paper and scissors to cut out leaves to stick on the tree. The tendency is for people to cut leaves that are too small to write on, so suggest to them that they write first, then cut out and pin on the tree. Now you need to tackle the roots of the tree in a similar way, first discussing the prerequisites for good communication and making a list, this time including skills such as listening; body language; speech clarity; eye contact; using the persons name; greetings and farewells; turn taking; being optimistic; staying on, and shifting the subject; having a few topics ready; prioritising and organising. It is likely that several of these areas will be unfamiliar to your clients, especially those that are not a problem to them, so you will need to give an outline description although you are not actually teaching these skills at this stage. Again make the suggestions into labels and pin them to the tree, this time using clod-shapes, at the roots. IN PRACTICE - Discussion Ask everyone how they feel about the tree, and which bits apply to them. Discuss how real trees use their roots to draw nourishment from the earth, and can therefore put out shoots. Try to make the point really clearly that if they work at the prerequisite skills they will be able to reap the benefits.

A handy addition to your materials for developing lateral thinking skills. The game is suitable for a group of 4-5. MATERIALS Strong (preferably fabric) bag - size depends on your choice of contents Funny objects - this is the main challenge in preparing for the game, in that ideally you will provide objects which no-one else will have seen before. You may find, as I did, that there are all sorts of peculiar items (often Aunties Christmas presents!) in your kitchen drawer such as honey scoops, ice-lolly moulds, parts of coffee-makers. A tool chest may also yield some weird things. My lovely friend and assistant Julia, a part-time upholsterer who also used to own a flock of sheep, provided some items whose original uses I found impossible to guess! Even broken items (but not sharp or otherwise hazardous) will be fine. IN PRACTICE In turns, each group member picks one item from the bag. Spend some time examining the item, and then describe one or more uses for it. Encourage miming to clarify the meaning. This game is good fun, and is comfortable for everyone, as there are no right answers. Often it can be hilarious too.


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