Music therapist Lynne Patnode, who works in 2 high schools at Aces in CT told me at the New England Music Therapy Conference about how she's been using the Octaband the past year:
"We use it all the time. I work with austistic, psychotic high school kids, ages 14 to 21. Also with kids who are autistic, with developmental delays, some with physical challenges. These are kids who can’t be mainstreamed because of behavioral issues. Some of the kids who don’t hold onto anything else hold on to the Octaband because it connects them to the group. The only problem is that sometimes kids let go of an arm. I tell them if you want to be part of what’s happening, you have to pick it up. Mostly, by ignoring the behavior, the kids stop releasing.
For kids who are unable to grip, or whose elbows are chronically bent, we put the loop over their elbows, and they are able to participate, and even if they can’t move their arm, the can feel the movement when others pull.
A game that we play is to put a tambourine in the middle and try to see how long they can keep it on. The sound of the tambourine motivates them to try keeping the tambourine on, rather than trying to shake it off. Eventually they get it, with staff help in adjusting the tension.
We also try moving in a circle, but that is more difficult, because the sleeves can be lax. Mostly we use it to exercise arms. We ask them to put it on your head, cross over to your opposite shoulder, opposite knee. Sometimes we do “Head, shoulders, knees and toes” trying to increase awareness of where their hand is going.
When we have 9 kids (with an 8 leg Octaband), we have to give someone another job.
I like that it’s washable.”