Summer is here, and with it, the potential for a season filled with exciting activities and new adventures. However, it helps to be mindful of how changes in routine can impact your therapy progress to avoid summer slippage. Disruptions caused by jet lag, travel plans, or the temporary absence of clinicians on vacation can lead to “slippage”—that is, setbacks in the cognitive and speech skills you’ve worked hard to acquire.
Fortunately, there are plenty of fun ways to maintain and build on your therapy progress from the comfort of your own home, no matter where that happens to be. Below are 6 proactive steps you can take to prevent slippage and stay on track with your recovery this summer:
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Summer slippage checklist
- Nominate a therapy buddy: Who doesn’t love a buddy who motivates, inspires and keeps them from going off the rails? Ask a trusted friend or family member to partner with you over the summer to stay accountable to your recovery goals. This is especially important if you or your speech therapist will be traveling and you will have fewer in-person appointments. Your accountability buddy can check in with you regularly, offer encouragement, and remind you to do your therapy exercises.
- Maintain open lines of communication with your healthcare providers: A strong partnership with your clinicians can help ensure continuity in your therapy progress over the summer. If memory retention is a concern, ask your speech therapist to provide written instructions on specific focus areas prior to traveling. You can reference this record whenever you need a reminder. You might also consider requesting permission from your clinician to record a therapy session, which will allow you to review and reinforce key concepts while on vacation. Additionally, remember to stay connected with your clinicians over secure email or a patient portal. Even if you will not have an in-person appointment for a few weeks, your healthcare provider can monitor your progress remotely and make any necessary adjustments in your Constant Therapy program via the Constant Therapy Clinician app.
- Block out a regular time for therapy every day: Consistency is your friend when it comes to maintaining therapy gains. Choose a time every day when distractions are minimal and you’re less likely to have conflicting plans, such as early in the morning or after dinner. By allocating a window of time specifically for your therapy, you can prevent long gaps in your therapy schedule and set yourself up for continued progress throughout the warmer months.
- Harness downtime to optimize progress: Yes, an established therapy schedule is ideal but why not seize opportunities during unexpected downtime to practice your therapy exercises? Whether it’s during TV commercial breaks or while waiting to board a flight at the airport, these openings can be transformed into valuable opportunities to reinforce your therapy skills and feel good about yourself. Think of this as the cherry on top of your regular therapy schedule!
- Make packing lists before trips: Travel is rewarding, but the lead up to a trip can be hectic. Amidst the chaos, it is easy to forget important items without a packing list. Prepare to keep your recovery momentum going by creating a packing list for your therapy essentials, including your tablet or other device with the Constant Therapy app; a charger for your device; a travel adapter (if you’re traveling overseas); and any workbooks or worksheets you may have received during speech therapy. As a bonus, try memorizing short chunks of the packing list to consolidate memory skills! See the Constant Therapy summer packing list below.
- Integrate therapy skills into your summer activities: As we’ve previously explored on BrainWire, Constant Therapy’s evidence-based cognitive, speech, and language therapy activities are designed to meld with your daily living skills. Consider incorporating therapy skills into fun summer activities by cooking new summer recipes, memorizing short segments of your packing list, or following a map to discover new areas during your travels.
Hit your summer stride
No matter where you are in your speech and cognitive therapy journey, we hope you take a moment to celebrate your hard work and resilience this season! Our wish for you is that our tips will help you hit your summer stride, rather than experience a summer slide!
Bonus: the Constant Therapy summer packing checklist!
If you want a handy reminder about what to therapy items to bring on vacation to stay on track, check out this downloadable graphic.