Kids with special needs learning the rhythm of therapy

(Photo: SBG San Antonio)

Happiness is not a matter of intensity, someone once said. But of balance, order and rhythm.

For a few minutes a day in a class of kids with special needs at Pearce Primary School, rhythm is a way of life.

Jorge Ochoa is an Occupational Therapist and drummer.

Every day he has a sort of jam session with the kids, giving each a hand drum or shaker.

"It can help them with calming down, being able to focus," said Ochoa. "So they are learning a lot of functional skills they will need throughout life, but we're using it within the context of group drumming."

For the past few years, he's been using the therapy of rhythm.

"Just come have a rhythm party is how I like to describe it," said Ochoa.

Jorge said play helps kids to develop.

"So, these kids with the drumming. They are playing, but within playing, they're also working on their social emotional skills," said Ochoa.

Over the years, Jorge has seen it work.

Like the kid dealing with Autism who gave Jorge a hug after class, to the surprise of his teacher.

"What just happened? She said, he is very stand-offish towards men. So he was a child with Autism who actually came on his own and gave me a hug," said Ochoa.

And the girl who wouldn't stop crying.

"I sat with her, I had a drum, I lightly played on the drum for a while, and she calmed down," said Ochoa.

He said the drumming has also had an affect on his own life.

"I think it has helped me to come out of my shell as well and learn life lessons about myself," said Ochoa.

It's this kind of rhythmic healing Jorge hopes to do for years to come.

Ochoa said he offers free events throughout the community every month, and he encourages everyone to come.

For more information on Ochoa and his work, click here.

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off