For 9 Years Occupational, Dance/Movement, Music, Physical, & Recreation Therapists Have Used the Octaband® to Get People Moving and Feeling a Sense of Belonging
We could hardly be more excited at how effective a tool the Octaband® has been at bringing people together to learn, heal and grow. Whether with children with autism, Asperger’s, ADHD, adults with intellectual disabilities, older adults with dementia including Alzheimer’s, recovery from trauma and grief, or stress management for adults, the Octaband® has helped people feel a sense of belonging.
Most recently Octaband®s are being used in Turkey, Netherlands, Spain, Hong Kong, Canada, Australia, UK, Romania, Japan, France, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Italy, Czech Republic, Belgium as well as the U.S.
How can you help?
You can send us your photos, sucess stories of individuals and/or groups who have benefitted from engaging with the Octaband®. You can let us know specific and novel ways you are using the Octaband® which we can then pass along to others. Here are some of the stories and ways of using that we have heard.
Sense of Connection for Children with Autism
“I use the Octaband® to help a student with Autism connect to his peers. He loves it and so do they. My student rarely acknowledges his peers but if one of them drops his/ her leg of the Octaband® this student will pick it up and hand it to that person so they can play again.” ~ Mary Lynn Bennett, music therapist, Omaha, Nebraska
Alicia Matosich found working with 5 boys between the ages of 10 and 14 with various levels of Autism quite challenging. The Octaband® “was a huge hit! It saved the day. We went from stretching and pulling all the legs to bouncing a Beanie Baby in the middle. Pretty soon the boy who paces for the entire group was interacting by throwing in any object he could find in the room to bounce in the middle of the Octaband® – tissue boxes, erasers! It was great to see him participate!” Thankfully, he didn’t throw anything that could hurt anyone.
Motivating Adolescents to Move
“I use the Octaband® with teens predominantly for stretching group, and it’s great for keeping them focused on each other as well as on themselves. Otherwise, they tend to drift off into side conversations and they don’t really want to do the stretches that we’re doing. When they have something to hold onto, tethering them to each other, they’re much more interested in being part of the group and actually playing and enjoying what their bodies can do.” Tori Pohl, dance/movement therapist
Dance educator Margy Grosswendt also used the Octaband® with her teen group in Sarajevo, Bosnia. “They loved it, even making up supine positions. It was quite helpful in bringing in reluctant teenagers sitting on the sidelines.”
A Sacred Tool for Children with Cancer
Jean Basiner has “witnessed healing that still leaves [her] in ‘awe’ when using the Octaband® as a ‘sacred tool’ with children with cancer. She finds it light and easy to travel with.
Physical Engagement and Joy for Older Adults with and without Dementia
“It’s FANTASTIC. I work in geri-psych with patients with severe dementia and it was such a hit. Patients of all levels enjoyed. The loops at the end of the ribbons for attachment to the wrists are brilliant – allows less aware patients to participate passively, feeling the movement/rhythm through the fabric. Then I used with my group of adult psych patients and discovered many other explorations on more ambulatory and metaphorical levels. THEN I used it with another high functioning elderly group to whom I “teach” fitness at various nursing homes/assisted livings through the Older Adults Program of local community colleges and they had a BLAST! ‘Fantastico’ proclaimed one elderly Mexican man, repeatedly, between bursts of laughter and breath- ‘teacher, we have never done this before!’” ~ Lora Wilson Mau
“I found the size perfect as there was no hassle moving people around or bringing chairs closer together. Getting straight into the activity made a big difference for us. Doing arm sways, lifts and pulls to the tune of ‘The Entertainer’ was great fun. As the music accelerated it added a bit of excitement.” “The wrist slips made it possible for people to join in who wouldn’t be able to usually without 1-2-1 assistance. “This is very uplfting for them which is so wonderful to watch. We all love it.” – Helen Oliver, Happy Times Activities, UK
Feeling Connected Helped One Family Express Feelings of Loss
Kamahria Hopkins was working with a family “at the bedside of their loved one who was actively dying. The Octaband® helped facilitate a sense of connection and dynamic movement, which opened them up to express more difficult emotions about the impending loss of their loved one.”
Helping People with Developmental Delays Lighten Up
Maine dance/movement therapist Monica Fischbach has used the Octaband® individually with clients with developmental delays. “We practice braiding the strands or we carry a ball in the middle. I figure out how to use it with individuals because it’s such a different thing and they [want to know], ‘What’s that?’ It sparks their curiosity and we get to move around and lighten up and laugh.”
People with Parkinson’s Disease Find Coordination and Enjoyment
Veteran dance/movement therapist Mimi Berger uses the 8-leg and 16-leg size Octaband®s for a Movement Disorders class, people with Parkinsons, MS, etc. “One activity they love… we put a small bean bag or ball in the center and bounce to music and count how many times we can do it… have gotten up to 400!”
A music therapist from MusicWorx, Inc. San Diego, CA uses the Octaband® in a slightly different way. “It’s fun for the Parkinson’s group. We place 10 or so egg shakers in the center of the circle. Then we lift up the Octaband® – parachute style – to throw the eggs up and then try to catch as many eggs as we can. This is actually quite challenging because each person and how they move or pull on each part of the band affects if the eggs are caught or not. It involves a lot of thinking and moving just right for each person to catch the eggs.”
People with Mental Illness are Motivated to Join in and Move
Nancy Koprak uses the Octaband® on an inpatient adult psychiatric unit. “I’m working right in the middle of the unit. As soon as I pull out the Octaband®, everyone gasps – the doctors, the nurses, the social workers. I find that invariably the certain core group who is willing to do anything comes up and grabs a leg. It’s so enticing that others will come over. We do this standing to rock music, twisting and turning. I love how everyone is holding, turning into the center and turning out.”
Therapists, teachers, activity professionals and others who use the Octaband® tend to be very special people. At Octaband LLC, we are proud to be contributing to the coping skills of people who are dealing with life’s challenges. And wouldn’t that be all of us at times?