education

Autism Parenting Magazine Lists Music Therapy/Mewsic Moves as a Resource!

I've had the privilege of writing multiple articles for the autism parenting magazine over the past few years. They have covered many great topics and have been an amazing resource for parents, educators and therapists over the years. Some of my articles they've published are:

Last year the Autism Magazine also awarded us with the Top Music Therapy Writer for their magazine in 2014!

Just last month they have created an online resource for parents and I am so excited to announce that Mewsic Moves has made the list! We are so grateful to the Autism Parenting Magazine for all they do for families across the country, online and around the world. Thank you for being such a great tool and resource for so many. 

You can find the resource list by clicking HERE.

You can also get your FREE copy of the Autism Parenting Magazine by clicking HERE.

Please share this resource with families of children with special needs and others who may benefit from any of these resources. 

             Let's Stay in Touch!

 

For FREE songs, videos and tips on how to support children with special needs through music click here.

Please share, like and leave your comments below as we love to hear from you.

Top 5 Qualities to Look For in a Music Therapist

I recently read a blog on the top 5 qualities to look for in an individual therapist or family therapist. It got me thinking. What do parents or other professionals look for in a music therapist? What are the key qualities to look for in a music therapist?

Here are the qualities I have come up with for top 5 qualities to look for in a music therapist working with children.

1. Team Player

It is very important to find a music therapist who works well in a multi-disciplinary team. When I first began my practice I was so "green" and I consulted with other therapists such as Occupational, Physical and Speech Therapists. I learned so much from them and more over, I learned how to work together to make sure the best success was achieved for the child. Make sure that your music therapists has a wealth of consulting and works well with others in the child's team support system.

2. Creative and Fun

It is important for a music therapist to be creative. It is often imperative that a music therapist be able to make up songs and activities "on-the-spot" to match your child to where they're at. A music therapist often needs to adapt songs and activities to engage or motivate a child in the desired activity to achieve various goals.

3. Adaptable & Knowledgable

Just because a music therapist has a bachelor or masters degree it doesn't end there. Music therapists are required to follow up on continuing education and researching the latests educational resources in their specialized client population.

4. Compassionate and Patient

Working with children with special needs, especially autism can be most challenging at times. It is very important that the music therapist you are seeking to work with your child has a deep desire and compassion to work with children with special needs. You have every right to ask your therapist what inspired them to choose to work with children with autism. It is also crucial that music therapists working with children with autism have a great deal and gift of patience. Considering children with autism function and experience the world in different ways than we do, it is crucial that the music therapist you choose has a great deal of patience in waiting and understanding how your child acts or reacts in certain situations.

5. Problem-Solver

Working with children with special needs considers a great deal of problems-solving skills. It's imperative that the music therapist that you choose can "think on their feet" and come up with a solution that your child is dealing with through a musical activity or therapeutic intervention. You can simply ask your therapist in an interview, "what is the most challenging client you have worked with and how did you problem-solve to come up with a solution?"

I hope you find this list helpful in choosing the music therapist that is the best fit for you and your child's needs. For a list of music therapist in your area you can contact your local music therapy association or the American Music Therapy Association website. 

If you have other qualities that you think are important I would love to hear from you, please write them in the comment section below.

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How a Music Therapist Adapts Songs to Fit Each Client's Need

I want to share an experience with you from a therapist who used my song, Leaves are Falling Down. click here for song

Nam Kim Kyo, a talented and creative music therapy colleague of mine share with me some of her adaptations of this song. She kindly has allowed me to share these with you to give you some ideas on how you might use this song with children who have special needs.

First check out her art props! She had her clients decorate the foam leaves into smiling life-like characters! What a great idea. Can you tell which one her client made? (You've got to love the big eye expression.)

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Client A:

This client has been diagnosed with Autism and has minimal verbal and communication skills. One of Nam's goals was to teach her client to recognize body parts and colors. Nam presented her client with red, yellow, orange and brown leaves made of foam. She then encouraged her client to match the correct colors while providing verbal, visual and musical prompts. She said her client seemed to be very engaged and was able to match the verbal/musical prompt to the proper leaf colors with success!

Client B:

This client has been diagnosed with Autism, Seizure Disorder, is non-verbal and is considered low functioning. Nam is working on teaching him how to reach, grasp and release, as this client often grabs objects but has trouble letting them go. Nam cleverly adapted the song's activity by turning the drum upside down, then having her client pick up the leaves and drop them into the upside-down drum with a verbal and musical cue! Fun!

These are just two ways in which you can adapt this song to fit an activity. I want to thank Nam for sharing her stories and artwork with us and encourage her to keep up the great work. 

How have you adapted songs to help address any of your child or client's needs? I would love to hear from you. Please leave a comment or suggestion below. 

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Nam is practicing music therapy specializing in supporting children with autism and teaches music in Vancouver, BC. Canada.

 

 

 

For a download of the song click here.

For a download of the adaptive drum song instructional video click here.

For FREE songs, videos and tips on how to support children with music click here.

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10 Years as a Music Therapist And Still Using The "Top 10 Greatest Hits"

After Ten Years as a Music Therapist, I Still Use the “Top Ten Greatest Hits”

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I am celebrating my tenth year as a music therapist. I have spent many hours learning new songs, as well creating new ones and developing adaptations.  However, I’m finding that I tend to use the same classic favorites over and over! These songs have such great utility in that they can be easily adapted for many different purposes.  These top ten melodies reliably get kids to start toes tapping, hands clapping and bodies grooving.

I use these songs as a platform for improvisation to inspire and motivate children with special needs.  It also saves me from having to create something new all the time!

So here are my Top 10 ”Greatest Hits” which I’ve found work well with children in music therapy:

  1. You are My Sunshine
  2. If You’re Happy and You Know it
  3. Shake Your Sillies Out
  4. Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star
  5. Head and Shoulders, Knees and Toes
  6. Row, Row, Row Your Boat
  7. Do as I’m Doing
  8. Alphabet Song
  9. We’re Gonna Rock Around The Clock Tonight
  10. London Bridges
  11. Hey Dum Diddley Dum

Ok, I threw in an extra one for fun and good measure!

What are you favorite Top 10 Greatest Hits? Maybe together we can create a Top 100 Greatest Hits! Please share and comment below.

For FREE songs, videos and tips CLICK HERE!

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Image Courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Don't take it from me, its in the Research! Music Therapy and Autism: Significant Supporting Evidence

Image courtesy of samuiblue/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of samuiblue/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I can't count how many times I've been asked by parents and other professionals about scientific evidence to prove the efficacy of music therapy interventions with children with autism.  The study in the link below was conducted in comparison to other non-music based therapies, and the evidence was....significant!

I encourage you to click on the link below to learn more about how music therapy can help a child with autism.  I have seen these effects everyday for the past ten years and am excited to finally be able to share with you the research that supports our daily work.

Here are just a few highlights of what the researcher found:

  • Music Therapy produced longer events of joy and engagement of initiation
  • Music Therapy develops social skills 
  • Music Therapy is effective in increasing attention, focus, behavioural cues and interests
  • With Music Therapy, children were better able to express their emotions and share them with others.
  • There is significant evidence that Music Therapy supports social, emotional and motivational development in children with autism.

I often say to parents, "once a child is motivated and is having fun, their self-esteem is elevated."  A child with confidence can achieve more and will often work harder.  This is fundamental to our strength-based music therapy programs.  We begin with an improvisational program, building upon areas of strength to build confidence.  We then massage this into the overall goals and objectives of the program.  We have found this approach results in early successes and improved overall outcomes, just like this research indicates.  So don't take it from me, read the research yourself!

Here's the link:

Best Practice Autism: Autism and Improvisational Music Therapy