Jorge Ochoa is a school-based occupational therapist and group drumming facilitator in San Antonio, Texas. He is the founder of TamboRhythms, a company dedicated to promoting FUNctional living through rhythmic expression regardless of age or previous musical experience. He encourages health & wellness and the development of social-emotional skills to help one to “live in rhythm” through the use of hand drums and percussion.
He has facilitated at schools/learning centers, worked with seniors, those with special needs/mental illness, provided adult and community education programs, and has lead community drum circles.
Clients have included EVA's Heroes and the Texas Dept. Of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (Division for Blind Services). He has also served his community by leading free family-friendly community drum circles.
Jorge has appeared in the San Antonio Express News, Our Kids San Antonio, Natural Awakenings, The Autism Notebook, and KABB FOX News.
Contact regarding details for one-to-one virtual training on using group drumming as a social-emotional strategy.
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Hey everybody, welcome back to another episode of the autism and action podcast. Today we've got another very special guest, we've got Mr. George Ochoa, he is an occupational therapist and group jumping facilitator in the San Antonio, Texas area.
you so much for taking time to be here today, I can't wait to learn all about what it is you're doing with the people you work with.
Thank you so much for having me, I do appreciate,
we'll share a little bit about this awesome functional living through rhythmic expression.
Right. So basically, um, what I offer, it is not it's a way of self expression through drums and percussion. And you do not have to have any previous musical experience. So it's not based on performance. And it's also it's not a drum lesson class. It's just a way for people to really just to connect with each other, and at the same time, have fun and really stress. And so besides besides just the health and wellness aspect of it, I'm also very interested in and engaged in the social emotional aspects of what it does for the kids that I work with, as well as those that that do have a special need of some type.
Now, the name of your business is Tambo rhythms. And you started this in 2008. And so you've done a lot of work in your community with a lot of different places, different schools and learning centers, working with seniors, and those with special needs. And you also have done some Adult and Community Education Programs.
Yes, yes. So, um, I actually started out doing a lot, a lot of the the drumming store, I started in my school district at the time, because that's really where it all started back in around 2007 ish, somewhere around there. I actually, I went to my special ed director at the time. And I asked her if she would buy me a program that I found online. And that was called a rhythmic arts project. And she bought bought me the curriculum and the book and the DVD. And I learned how to how to do it because I was already I was already a drummer. So I so what I started doing is I started taking the drums and to the special ed classrooms every week. And that's how I really got into learning and to to facilitating with all types, all types of kids that had that had us, you know, that we're in? It's in special. So,
yeah, yes, yes. Yeah, I think that is incredible. Excuse me, we've got the horriblest yellow pollen in this area right now. So if I cough, I'm apologize for that. Now, you also have got some really interesting things coming up for summer.
Yeah, so, um, what I do invite, I do invite it, for those of you that are interested in pursuing drumming for yourself or for your loved loved one, you know, both because I've tried to make things in in inclusive, you know, where the fat families involved. And I try to do that and my plan is to do things within a group setting as well. So I like it when families get involved. So for now, for sure what I am doing is every week I do a Facebook Live session. So and you can join my facebook group chat Tambo rhythms. Okay, it's a group you have to join. Don't don't like the page, but join the group. Okay. So that way, right? No, no, not because the page I think Well, no, it was never really my page is kind of like okay, guys. Yes, yes. So join join the group, not the page. And, and that's done what once a week, and I usually will post I posted the day before, that I'm going to be on at a certain time. Okay. And I also um, I also do work with the Down syndrome Association here in South Texas, but they have invited anyone and everyone of all ages to take part in drumming as well and that's done through through zoom. So shoot me, you can email me through my website, but my email is tempo firstname.lastname@example.org. So you can easily just email me and if that's something that you're interested in, I can shoot you that link. Okay. And I also do Some drumming for an organization called Eva's heroes, and they also work with those that have special needs. And but I believe you have to be 14 years old and older for that. Wow. Okay. Okay, but still, you can shoot me The, the, your email to me and just let me know that that's something of interest. And then that way I can keep you up to date. But if you do in Facebook for sure, I put everything there. So
everything there so go to the Tambo rhythms Facebook group for sure, get all those updates and join in the fun, it sounds like that very, very exciting. And there's gonna be a lot of functional ways right for you guys to meet each other and, and get along and everything. What ages do you typically work with?
Okay, so I basically work with ages three and up. Every three to whatever age Yes, yes. So um, that's, that's what I've been doing since the beginning. Of course, when we do the, the, the the community type of drumming where, like, for instance, what the Down syndrome association is doing right now. Okay, you can be of any age to to be involved. So you don't have Yeah, so you can have your two year old there, your one year old if they want to, you know, play around on something, you know that? That's fine. Yes.
What a great way to bring everybody together and incorporate that social emotional learning aspect, right?
Yes, yes, yes. That's one of the things that I'm really, really, that I'm glad that throughout the years that I've been doing this is that. So my, that as an occupational therapist, the drumming has been the most functional thing I have seen and done, when it comes to outcomes and when it comes to the effect that it has had on, on people of all ages, with and without special needs. And I can share some stories with you if you would like us to see some success stories. So I have three that really stick stick out. So one is a few years ago, I was drumming in a teacher's classroom I went and this particular student was not on my caseload, because of course, whether they're receiving ot or not, and in a school, if they're in the classroom, I include everybody, I'm not going to have kids, you know, sit outside, because you know, oh, no, you're not getting ot so you're not gonna get you know, I get everybody involved. And so this particular child, he, um, we were drumming. And then after the the session, he came and he gave me a hug, which was nice, you know, and the teacher was like an an or she was a shock. She looked at him on my shoe. She looked at me and she says, Georgie, do you know what just occurred? And I don't know. And she goes, um, he usually he doesn't like men. He is stand offers towards men. And this was a young man with autism. And he came on his own. And he hugged me, he initiated that, that contact. So it was through the drumming, that he and I were able to connect. Yeah, it was the drumming that he felt comfortable enough to actually come and give me a hug. So I just thought that that was that was awesome. And that was the first time I believe that I could again, this wasn't one of my students. So he didn't know, I never worked with him. You know? So when when she said that, I mean, I was just like, shocked. Because, you know, especially when she said he is standoffish towards men, he doesn't really care for men. And and he did that. So I was like, Okay, well, I mean, this is a great, you know, it's awesome that there was I was teaching a class at the adult and, and community Ed center center here, and in the school district that I live in. And there was a young man with autism, and he was 17 years old. And he would come every week, because I had a six week, six week course. And so his older brother would would drive him every week to go to my class. So what I like to do is at the end of the six weeks, I like to hand out a fee a feedback form because I want to know, you know, what do you think about the drumming? What did you like about it? And you know, just to know how things are going. And he this the brother told me that he he said that. He felt that because of his drumming that his 17 year old brother with autism was less socially awkward. That's and I was like, what I was just in shock, yes. Because we do incorporate, you know, like, like, how I said, we do incorporate that social, emotional aspect of it all within the context of play, all within the context of having fun, you know, so we work on sharing, we work on turn taking, we work on attentions, skills, span, we work on impulse control, turn, taking self esteem, confidence, look at all those skills. And I have a plan in my head to exactly what I'm doing. But all they are thinking about, which is all I want them to think about is just having fun. Yes, and just having a good time. So it's not like, you know, like, they're going to therapy therapy of any type because it is a type of therapy, it is their therapy. But the thing is, is that, but it is, it is fun. It is what it is play. And and play is very important. That's one of the occupations. That's one of the occupations in occupational therapy. Yeah, it is, play and social participation are two occupations that are within the framework of occupational therapy. So that that's, that's what I really strive for, you know, working on those social IE emotional skills, where they feel comfortable, where they can open up where
they have a way of, of being been able to express themselves. You know, so, um, yeah, so that was awesome. You know, I mean, I just went what he told me that, yeah, um, so, my last one is, um, so this, this young girl, she also has autism, she's grown. I don't know how old she is now.
But back then. What her parents did is that they took the drumming.
And they started with with, they started drumming with her at home. And she actually so and they told me that she learned how to count and the name of the of the US presidents by drumming. So I was like, that is too cool. Yeah, that's like it because the parents took the drumming with them. They just didn't leave it within the context of Okay, we're going to go and play with George tonight. And that'll be it. And that's what I like when, when there's a carryover, which I'm sure you you would agree
That's so important, you know, that goes beyond just okay. Well, you know, you you may take your child to a session of the therapy one day a week and then, but it's just like, what happens the other six days of the week?
Yeah, to go home. It's got to go home with them. Absolutely.
Exactly. And they did it with her. And she learned the US hesitance by drumming. So
that is so incredible. It's so awesome. Well, I love hearing about all these success stories will take success any day, right? Yes. And in such a fun way. You guys, what's the best website for you, George?
It's a tempo rhythms,
calm, tempo rhythms, calm, go check out that website for him tempo rhythms.com. And don't forget to go join his facebook group and join in the fun. He's there. He said every week. And so you can get online and participate and learn all about how to do the functional living through rhythmic expression at home.
Thank you, George so much for taking time to be here today.
No, thank you for having me. I appreciate it. So um, so do I. Do you have a Facebook page that I can follow at all or anything? Oh, yeah,
absolutely. I will send all of that information over to you.
Now, we would love to hear from you.
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Let's have a discussion in the comments below or head over to the Autism in Action Facebook group. We would love to hear from you!