Sometime you just can't sit still right? Feel like you're literally "jumping" out of your skin? Like your body just can't control it's actions? Can you literally feel the clothes on your body? No? Well for some individuals with autism, this is a constant, everyday struggle. Sensory issues can be uncomfortable, distracting, and extremely persistant. Often times, the only thing that can distract them from this uncomfortable feeling is moving around constantly or, even better, JUMPING!
In my sessions, I make sure that the trampoline is readily available. Whether I include it in my session plan, or just have it off to the side for breaks, I make sure that it is visible for most of my classes and individual students. There are so many fun activities to do with a trampoline in the music therapy space. Here are just a few:
1. Simple Jump and Stop- I get behind the piano or stand with the client with my guitar and simple sing "Jump and jump and jump" and then i say "stop!" and stop playing. Eventually I remove the verbal cues and go for showing the child to start and stop jumping with the music. You can even use pre-recorded music too!
2. Drum and Jump- I use this intervention with groups or even just a single individual. Every student gets a drum and one student starts on the trampoline. Once the client starts jumping, everyone on drums looks at the jumpers feet and plays with to the beat of the jumps. The jumper can control the tempo, pace, and even volume of the drumming based on added arm motions and body expression.
3. Sensory Break- I allow the client to request the trampoline and jump their little hearts out. While they jump, I reflect their jumping with either piano or guitar, depending on whatis available. I reflect everything about the clients jumping through the music I play.
Individual trampolines cost less than $30 at Walmart or Target, so go get yourself a trampoline and add it to your space!
There are many more activities that can be done using the trampoline in the music room, but I want you to get creative. Let us know how you plan to or how you already use a trampoline in your creative arts therapy space in the comments below!
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