An interview with the fabulous Tabitha about running the Mad Scientist group at Early Start Speech Pathology….
What do you love about running the Mad Scientist group?
I think I love a couple of different things about this group. Firstly, I just love looking for experiments and cool activities to do in the group as well as thinking about ways to make the group different every time. I also like that all of the children come in super excited and for those that have done it before, are always bursting with ideas or experiments we might be able to include. Lastly, I think what makes this group amazing is that it encourages perspective taking and problem solving in a safe place. If errors happen in the experiment we have a great and practical learning opportunity to work together as a team and offer up different ideas.
What techniques do you use to help develop the children’s social skills?
I use techniques that aid in facilitating self-awareness and awareness of others. I encourage the children to look at all of the people in their group to check whether their actions are making others feel positive by examining facial expressions and body language.
I encourage the kids to talk amongst themselves and practice their use of friends files and personal questions to make friends and to build a rapport. By doing this, I find that children are more independent and confident when they leave the group.
How would a child with social communication challenges benefit from attending a group program?
Often kids with social communication challenges need to practice all of those things we have been working on during the school term. They have an understanding of the concepts and now they need a safe space to practice their skills with a friendly group and facilitating clinician.
What are some of the secrets you use to make it fun?
SLIME! Just kidding… I don’t think there are too many secrets to making a science group fun because it’s already a blast by itself. I think what the children enjoy are the choices of experiments, (they are always different!) and the mess. I think the messier it is, the more fun we have!