Growing Book By Book and two other bloggers have been putting on "Family Dinner Book Club" for the past few years (you can find more information about it HERE). When I saw that this year's theme was highlighting different 'character strengths' each month, I decided to use their monthly ideas as a jumping off point to further encourage speech and language development, social-emotional intelligence, increase world knowledge, and develop critical thinking skills in therapy. Bonus: ideas for family carryover are already done!

Love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy, it does not boast,
it is not proud.
It is not rude, it is not self-seeking,
it is not easily angered,
it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil
but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts,
always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails.
~1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Our focus character strength for April was LOVE.

Love is at the root of everything. All learning. All relationships. Love, or the lack of it.  ~Fred Rogers

We frequently talk about being kind and "filling people's buckets" in my therapy sessions, so I thought this month would be a simple continuation on what we've been doing. Boy was I mistaken! The "L" word was challenging for most of my kids. Several indicated they felt awkward/uncomfortable talking (even thinking) about love and being loving to others. Some struggled connecting the concept of 'love' with 'kindness'. Some of the younger ones struggled with the idea that we have enough love to love more than one person (more than just mom).

I had these great heart-shaped sticky notes that ended up being perfect for this month! We started each session off by talking about a way in which the child had done something loving, someone else had shown love to them, or a hypothetical way to be loving. Then we worked on writing a complete sentence about it on a heart sticky for the 'love wall'.

In therapy sessions throughout April we also:

  • read the book Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch by Eileen Spinelli, discussed, and completed a "cause/effect" worksheet following the changes in Mr. Hatch throughout the story (resulting from three "unexpected" events); NOTE: if you do not have the book, watch Hector Elizondo read it in this YouTube video by StoryOnline
  • read the book Love Is by Diane Adams and discussed
  • read the book Words And Your Heart by Kate Jane Neal and discussed
  • read the book You Hold Me Up by Monique Gray Smith and discussed
  • and, finally, we wrapped up our learning by completing a worksheet to summarize what we had learned about love

Love is when the other person's happiness is more important that your own.  ~H. Jackson Brown, Jr. 

With my young clients and my emergent/context dependent AAC-learners, we have been using the LOVE: Complete Core Word Activity Set by The Language Ladies SLP (available on Teachers Pay Teachers).

With my high school clients, every week we read and discussed quotes about love, followed by them writing a short statement about what the quote means to them / how they can apply the meaning to their lives.

Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind.  ~William Shakespeare

Head on over to this blog post on Growing Book By Book for free materials if you would like to highlight the concept of love at home. There is a list of suggested books, discussion questions, and links to suggested activities and accompanying dinner menu for the April Family Dinner Book Club on Love. 

For more pictures of what we did in therapy, check out the LOVE album on the Vlinder Facebook page. I also shared several quotes on fairness throughout the month.

Friends can help each other. A true friend is someone who lets you have total freedom to be yourself - and especially to feel. Or, not feel. Whatever you happen to be feeling at the moment is fine with them. That's what real love amounts to - letting a person be what he really is.  ~Jim Morrison


Our May focus word is CITIZENSHIP! Stay tuned...


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