Creativity for SLPs

Creativity and the SLP

I can’t remember a time when pediatrics wasn’t the place for me. I did my fair share of babysitting as a young teen (although my inability to stay up late was a biiiiig obstacle), and I volunteered for a host of children’s organizations throughout high school and college.

One of my close friends, who went back to school a couple years after I did, had patiently listened to my rapturous stories of preschool cuties and my excitement of putting together fun materials and exciting games that encouraged even the most reluctant kiddo to participate. She went off to her first pediatric placement and….was underwhelmed. Several weeks later she was decidedly muddling through and by the end she was confidently planning her future with adults.

When I asked her what she didn’t like, she said something along the lines of, “I spend all this time planning what I’ll do that day—the goals, the materials, the toys—and then they don’t cooperate. At. all.”

She was thrown by little ones that brought in their own toy and wouldn’t let it go. Or ones that saw the toy offered, but had a different way of playing with it than she had in mind. And they weren’t polite. Many adults will try to go along with what you’re doing before they have a full out temper tantrum (I said “many”, not “all,” I’ve had environments with mixed populations too!).

Pediatrics generally requires a healthy dose of flexibility and a double dose of creativity if you have any hope of getting things done. The more you operate in this zone, the more ingrained it becomes. Which is why so many pediatric therapists have a very slight tendency towards hoarding (you know you have a closet with “I could use this” stuff) and illegal borrowing (those of us who slip our own children’s games/toys into the trunk hoping it doesn’t make any noise before dropping them off at school). We see potential eeeeverywhere!

Usually. Right now, most of us are struggling to keep the momentum going. The last month of school is not generally a creative-rich environment.

A blog flexes those creative muscles, too (I kinda wonder if that’s why it seems like there are soooo many more blogs focused on pediatric populations rather than adults). For many of us, it’s a fulfilling way to share and leave a record of the work we do. But, I’ve had lots of about-to-be and newbie bloggers say, “what will I write about” or “I’m worried I’ll run out of ideas.” And all of the SLPs starting or hoping to start a store on TPT fret that “all the good ideas are already out there,” or that they’ll never come up with a markedly different idea to create their own niche.


The end of the school year is an easy time to be hard on yourself. We’re pretty depleted after another whirlwind year of therapy and an almost not-to-be-believed pace in May. It’s time to relax. Recharge. Replenish. Summer’s coming to fill you up.

I’m looking for some input! Please click here for my 30 second survey on creativity!




The views expressed in this blog are my own and are intended to inspire other speech-language pathologists in their own practice. If you are a parent, teacher or other educator, these ideas are not intended to take the place of treatment by a certified clinician. Read full disclaimer here.