Without question, music therapy helps children with Autism and special needs. Research confirms this. Music therapy is able to address many areas including social skills, academic & cognitive skills, gross & fine motor skills, expressive and receptive communication skills. Music therapists happily work alongside speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, teachers, and parents to address the strengths and areas of need of a child with Autism, intellectual disabilities, or speech impairment.
So what sets us apart from all the other therapies and instruction out there? MUSIC of course. You can read more about WHY music works here, but today I wanted to answer a question that I am frequently asked by everyone who sees music therapy in action and wants to incorporate more music into instruction for their special learner.
Do you have a song for….[insert skill here]?
I have found that the more other professionals and parents observe their child(ren) during music therapy, the more curious they are to figure out how to transfer and generalize those skills to other settings (school, therapy, home, community). Music therapists are usually happy to share. After all, we have the best interest of our client in mind. If we can help these skills transfer to multiple settings, that is a huge win! Once others see how music therapy has helped in one area, more areas of need (for that child or just in general) pop up. I typically hear something like this: “I love what you are doing with following directions. Do you have anything that could help with money concepts?”
In the past I have sent mp3s via email or dropbox or recorded CDs. This method has worked out ok, except it is more time consuming that I would like. Thus was born Music Therapy Kids! I have written many articles for parents and professionals that explain the in’s and out’s of music therapy. I also record and post songs that I have written. These songs are typically a direct result of a client need. The best part is when that same need comes up again in the future, I can direct YOU straight to the blog. Easy peasy. I like to offer tips and tricks for using each song and am always open to collaboration with others!
The answer is YES!
Yes, I do have a song for that. Music therapists are trained to create and design music strategies to meet specific client needs. This could literally be anything. This week I have been working on tunes to help a child stay organized at her desk and also when writing on paper. I have been writing songs to help identify math problem vocabulary. I have written songs to help with expressive and receptive labeling skills. I just published a new tune to work on greetings and another to help learn left & right.
The possibilities are endless. That’s why I always ask for YOUR suggestions and feedback. I want to know what your needs are and create strategies to help meet those needs. Given all we know about music and how it positively impacts processing and learning, it is really a necessity for our children to engage in music.
P.S. A quick disclaimer about self-use of songs. Though it is HIGHLY encouraged, this does not mean you are practicing music therapy. A music therapist is board-certified, has a degree in music therapy and 1000+ hours of clinical training prior to certification. I like to think of using the songs as “homework” the same way you might also practice skills from school or therapy in other settings. Have fun!
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