what IS a creative slp?

You might be thinking… What does it MEAN to be a creative slp?

For my second post, I thought I’d do some self reflection and attempt to define what being a creative slp means to me.  You see, I haven’t always considered myself creative. I’m a terrible artist and a horrible singer. I can’t play any instruments and I wouldn’t exactly consider my personal style to be that original. However, after working in a private school that required the development of original lessons, I frequently found myself needing to come up with ideas. In order to create classroom assignments that helped students deepen understanding and develop critical thinking skills, my co-workers and I often had to “think outside the box”. We needed methods better than the standard multiple choice worksheets and popcorn style teacher questioning (term my boss coined referring to teacher asking a question and then having students raise hands to answer, calling on one student while the rest of the class sits unengaged and only thinking/hoping not to be the one called on).

I realized that the more I had to think of ideas, the easier it became and the number of ideas increased over time. In a sense, I learned that IDEAS BREED MORE IDEAS. I started to have so many ideas that I had to buy a notebook to write them down so I wouldn’t forget. This inspired me to create a Teachers Pay Teachers profile to develop lessons for specific speech and language concepts. Ideas for lessons and projects came to me at many times of the day and night. Now, I always carry around my idea book and LOVE checking off ideas as I create lessons for them.

I also found that the same was true when working with students. Students often have original and clever ideas for how to learn if you take the time to ask them.

In my work with clients as a private speech-language pathologist, being a creative slp means NOT buying expensive, canned programs from websites that are far from “super” (slps you know which one I’m referring to). Being a creative slp means NOT engaging in out-of-context drill practice and using dry worksheets to build articulation and language skills.

Being a creative slp DOES mean:

  • incorporating play and functional skills in order to teach concepts
  • allowing the client to have a say in how they learn
  • asking the client to help create an original game to practice a skill
  • developing new rules for playing basic children’s games while they learn
  • incorporating the interests and ideas of the client in the lesson
  • explaining the purpose of the lesson to the client
  • making sure the lesson has a purpose
  • having the client “teach” the skill to others
  • creating visuals and verbal associations for skills
  • having fun and laughing often
  • reinforcing the learning and accomplishment of persistence and effort rather than extrinsic reinforces such as “prize boxes” or candy

Check out this website for some effective and creative teaching ideas:


Thanks and let me know how you’ve used creative approaches to teaching  and speech therapy.