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Using the Octaband with Children with Special Needs
By Rachel Federman Morales & Joel Shwartz
11/4/2011 1:24:00 PM

A very special thanks to Rachel Federman Morales (dance therapist) and Joel Shwartz (photographer) for sharing this article with us!

Kelly McDermott, Physical Therapist with the Boston Public Schools, uses the Octaband® in her gross motor groups with 8 children. She has found that children of varying ages, cognitive levels and physical abilities can participate and most of all have fun. She reports that it is an excellent tool as the Octaband® promotes visual attention, coordination, motor planning, strength and endurance.

Inclusion Octaband

One of her children’s favorite games is "Bounce the Turtle." It’s pretty hard to keep the turtle beanbag on top of the Octaband® , but the children don’t mind. They love to be the one who puts the turtle back on, and that’s fine with Miss Kelly, as that helps with their muscle control. Then they put 2 turtles on top, and then 3, and try to see how fast they can get them off. Miss Kelly says "It’s the biggest hit".

Singing "Shake, shake, shake" originally by KC & The Sunshine Band, the children "shake, shake, shake" the legs and then "stop." The children love to be the one to go under the middle, so each has a chance, while the others sing "Shake, shake, shake, shaking (child’s name)." Shaking and stopping helps them learn self-modulation skills as well.

Inclusion Octaband 2

What do you do to keep the Octaband® from slipping off their wrists?

Kelly stretches out the loop part which she then wraps over the child’s wrist, twists, and then re-wraps the remaining loop over the wrist, so that it is double wrapped. She then threads the Octaband® between their thumbs and forefingers. This helps keep the Octaband® from slipping off their small wrists, and is not too tight.

What do you do when the children get upset about the color they get?

In Kelly’s class, when someone gets upset about the color band they get, teachers and children sing out together, "You get what you get, and you don’t get upset."

If there is time, Kelly wraps the Octaband® legs loosely around individual children, and they have to quickly get the Octaband® off. This is another favorite activity.

Inclusion Octaband 3

The Octaband® keeps the children fully engaged for 20 to 30 minutes, motivated to move and stretch in ways that are hard work, all the while squealing with delight.

Adam Riccio also shared some of the many thoroughly creative ways that he has used the Octaband® with children and adolescents. Adam is a 1st year expressive therapy student at Lesley University. I can only begin to imagine what he'll do in his 2nd year.

Here is one song that Adam makes up as he goes along:

Shake, shake, shake the Octaband

Shake, shake, shake the Octaband

Shake, shake, shake the Octaband

We’re shakin’ the Octaband.

Lift, lift, lift the Octaband in the air,

Lift, lift, lift the Octaband in the air,

Lift, lift, lift the Octaband in the air,

We’re liftin’ the Octaband in the air.

Now touch your toes with it.

Touch your toes with the Octaband,

Touch your toes with the Octaband,

Touch your toes with the Octaband,

We’re touchin’ our toes with the Octaband.

Now,

Walk in a circle with the Octaband.

(Directions in a loud voice.) STOP. AND TURN AROUND.

And walk the other way with the Octaband.

(Directions in a loud voice.) STOP.

And keep walkin’ with the Octaband,

And walk, walk, walk and stop.

Adam suggests giving the children the opportunity to do anything they want with it.

One child said, "I wanna go back and forth with it".

So,

We go back and forth as we stretch the Octaband,

We go back and forth as we stretch the Octaband,

We go back and forth as we stretch the Octaband,

We are stretchin’ the Octaband.

And the very popular,

Stretch the Octaband out, stretch it far,

Stretch the Octaband out, stretch it far,

Stretch the Octaband out, stretch it far,

We’re stretchin’ the Octaband.

We’re comin’ closer with the Octaband,

We’re walkin’ closer closer with the Octaband,

We’re walkin’ closer closer with the Octaband,

We’re comin’ closer with the Octaband

And now since we’re so close, we’re all gonna say hi.

Hi.

Walk back out to a normal position

And lift the Octaband and wiggle it around and all that fun stuff.

Another child wanted to roll in with the Octaband, so they wrapped it around their bodies,

Rolling in with the Octaband,

And it’s covering our tummies and

Now we’re in the center,

So you gotta roll out so you’re not tangled anymore,

We’re now in the Octaband.

Just start singing in that tune and the possibilities are endless.

One child wanted everyone to be still.

How still can we make the Octaband

just so it’s very still,

Let’s keep it very still

How still is the Octaband?

Oh, wow! It’s very still.

And of course we have to end with,

We’re shakin’, shakin’, shakin’ the Octaband

We’re shakin’, shakin’, shakin’ the Octaband

Oh, we had so much fun with the Octaband,

Oh we had fun with the Octaband.




Tags: Music Therapy, Dance, Dance Therapy, Octaband, Special Needs, Special Needs Therapy, Kelly McDermott, Music Games, Music Activities
Categories: Kids & Movement, Music Therapy
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