Looking for an activity that ties in perfectly with the summer?  I have an awesome intervention that addresses social and motor skills.  Best of all, it can be used with individuals of all ages and abilities. Earlier this year, I bought a huge, latex free, beach ball from the American Sales store.  I brought it out during a session with individuals who have autism to work on social skills.  The plan was to have each person say the name of the classmate they were passing the ball to, encouraging purposeful interaction and social awareness.  Well, the activity took on a life of it’s own.  Everyone was engaged, laughing and enjoying themselves.  Since the beach ball was so big, clients who had difficulty throwing, could still engage with others by pushing or kicking it.

This activity seemed so enjoyable and the big beach ball was an even bigger motivator, so I decided to adapt the intervention to use in most of my groups that week.  Clients with severe and profound disabilities would push the ball when it was placed on their laps or kick it when placed in front of their legs.  My pre-K clients were able to stay seated in their little chairs in a circle and push or kick it to each other.  Even my adults clients loved it.  One of the secrets (that all music therapists know): playing preferred music to accompany the activity (I used recorded music).  I also adapted this activity for following directions by incorporating a song with instructions embedded in it.  Click HERE to listen to a sample of a song by Kindermusik that can be sung acapella in order to match an individual’s pace.  Beach-ball-toss

Another reason why this intervention works is because people with special needs can feel like typically developing individuals.  Beach balls ARE fun, no matter who you are.  Put a beach ball in a crowd at a concert and see what happens.  Feeling joy while working on goals….it doesn’t get much better than this!

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