One of the best songs I’ve used for impulse control is “It’s So Hard to Wait” by Wade Richards, LCAT, MT-BC. It’s great for both individual and group sessions. For groups, I’ve developed this process:
1. The first few times I do this activity, I usually have the group act as a whole. Each person receives the same simple percussion instrument such as rhythm sticks or shape drums. I’ve found that some clients have a hard silencing bells and maracas the first few times we do this activity.
2. I begin by holding up a “wait” sign that I created using Boardmaker and singing the lines “Wait, wait, It’s so hard to wait”, a cappella. My clients seem to have more success when they are first learning this song if I sing that portion of it a cappella. I add the guitar when it’s time to play the instruments. With some groups, I say “Ready, set, go”. (Or “Ready, set, wait”, once they learn the activity!) When it’s time to stop playing, instead of singing, “give it back to me”, I sing, “stop when I say freeze” or “stop when the music stops”.
Also, little trick I learned during my internship, was placing a piece of velcro on my guitar, just below the strings, so I can attach picture symbols commonly used with PECS when necessary. I have velcro at the top of either side of my “wait” sign. This enables me to attach it to my guitar when it’s time to for me to play. I also have a “stop/go” sign that I frequently use the same way.
3. There so much you can do with this song to challenge clients once they become familiar with it. It can also be used to support learning of other concepts. Some ideas for expanding this activity include:
Giving half the group one type of instrument and the other half another type, then each side has to wait while the other side has their turn playing. Of course, I give the entire group an opportunity to play together again before the intervention is finished
Using instruments that are certain colors – this is a great way to reinforce learning colors
Shakers versus instruments you strike, loud instruments vs quiet instruments, etc.
Divide the group so that every other person in the circle wait for their turn while the person next to them is playing….this is really a hard one!
The sky’s the limit! What ideas do have for improving impulse control?