Thursday, December 24, 2009

Experience Nature

I was in a bad mood this morning. Tense, a little sick, irritated at my insurance company that won’t cover out of state doctor’s visits.

But after exploring in the woods with my niece and daughter for a little while, my mood lifted! Really, significantly, lifted!

It could be that the exercise was good for me. It could be that the fresh air perked me up. Or, it just could be that being in nature is pretty darn good for the soul.

We walked up trees growing sideways, balanced on fallen logs, hung from low limbs, built a hut, found an amazing centipede (or millipede?) under a log. We pointed out trees and holes that looked like good homes for animals. We generally observed nature and tried to enjoy it. It reminded me of one of my favorite quotes, “I will be the gladdest thing under the sun. I will touch a hundred flowers and not pick one. I will look at cliffs and clouds with quiet eyes, watch the wind blow down the grass, and the grass rise.”

There is something inspiring, rejuvenating about being in nature. Seeing tiny seedlings pushing up through decaying leaves, stretching up toward the towering mature trees overhead. Just looking up, sometimes, can give me a bit of an energy boost.

My clients are often surprised that we can work on speech goals in a speech session outside in the back yard, or on a walk, or even at the park. Some of my best speech sessions have been outside at children’s homes. When a child sees a grasshopper jump out of the grass, or a bird fly from a tree, or a squirrel digging for a nut, they innately want to comment about it. Especially for children who are not yet imitative, or who do not respond well to traditional therapy strategies like withholding toys until they verbally request them, being in nature is a strategy that can really work to facilitate spontaneous speech production.

During my vacation, I’m going to try my best to experience nature with my daughter and niece every day. Even if just by looking up while driving in the car on our way somewhere.

How do you experience nature in your day to day life?


  1. Have you read Ann Densmore's book about narrative play? It's focus is on narrative play tx for kids with autism, but I love the book b/c it really gets at the heart of language intervention through play. She talks about getting out in nature, too, and how much speech-language work can occur there! You'll love it!
    Lisa Price

  2. I once went to a counselor and we walked in the woods for our sessions. She said something about 'ecopsychology.' I've since looked it up and it makes tons of sense.

  3. Thanks girls! I'm going to look up Ann Densmore's book. And now I'm super interested in ecopsychology. Off to do some googling on it now! :)