SLP Corner: Making Connections with the Past: Using Vintage Material in Therapy with Adolescents
When choosing material for lessons that address targeted language skills in adolescents, therapists are often seeking novel and creative resources in order to support curricular activities and maintain student interest. Utilizing vintage material solves that dilemma and provides a unique opportunity for students to practice skills while connecting with the past. With vintage resources, our students are provided engaging opportunities to explore historical themes, values, and styles from bygone eras and apply that knowledge to writing skills, vocabulary, verbal reasoning, cause and effect, pragmatics, etc.
Listed below are suggested examples of vintage material that can be utilized in therapy:
1. Norman Rockwell artwork: The work of Norman Rockwell typifies Americana over several decades. His paintings are ideal for discussions that correlate with a social studies curriculum, particularly lessons pertaining to World War II. His complete collection can be viewed on the following website: http://www.nrm.org/ or via the following iPad app (.99 cents for the full collection of 228 pictures):
2. Retro TV shows: Free access to full length videos of classic TV shows such as ‘The Andy Griffith Show’ and ‘The Cosby Show’ are available on the TVLand website and are excellent for teaching pragmatics in differing social scenarios.
3. Vintage Photographs: Using vintage photography as a therapy source can elicit dialogue that encompasses a variety of subtopics (e.g. historical events, fashion trends, social views, etc.).
The story behind a vintage photograph is often a mystery to present day viewers and can be open to interpretation. Students viewing an unfamiliar photograph from the distant past are taught to rely on the identification of clues and inferential thinking in order to decipher the story. Specific websites that provide excellent vintage photographs free of copyright infringement are as follows:
4. Vintage Ads: As mentioned in my previous article but worth repeating, older ads are a wonderful way to illustrate social norms, societal trends, and stereotypes. Discussion using this genre of ads gives us the opportunity to promote discussion and target a variety of language skills (e.g. reasoning, compare/contrast, pragmatics, main idea, inferential thinking, etc.). Tip: Google “vintage ads” under ‘Images’ for a vast display of ads. Create a folder with prescreened and selected ads for easy access in therapy.
Winston Churchill summed it up best when he stated, “The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see.” Utilizing vintage material affords both the therapist and student a novel opportunity to explore and connect with past events while simultaneously applying targeted concepts to the material within the therapy setting. History never looked more “cool”.