Outcomes, Inc.

Although I am not a professional musician, music has always been an important part of my life. As my interests turned toward developmental therapy and early intervention, I felt a need to incorporate my hobby into my work. I would bring my guitar into therapy sessions and watch with delight as even the youngest children would respond to the music. Mothers cradling babies would sway and sing along with me. Often, nonverbal children would articulate sounds and words with the singing. Receptive language could be observed through appropriate motions to songs and direct eye contact was easily established.

 Music is a powerful tool to use with all children. It can help turn the most difficult activity or mundane routine into a game. It is part of the fun and joy of childhood. We can lose ourselves in silly words and melodies and yet achieve our most strenuous goals and objectives. Most importantly, we can adapt songs and rhymes to meet the specific developmental needs of an individual child or group of children

 Music can be used to facilitate all areas of development: social and emotional, fine and gross motor, cognitive and language development. In working with children with disabilities, as well as in traditional early childhood programming, music enriches the daily routine and facilitates basic learning skills. Working on hypotonic muscles with a two year old can be difficult. But if the exercises are done as actions to a song with enthusiasm and active therapist/family involvement, the therapy becomes FUN! As the child’s attention is captured, the focus is on playing, rather than on exercising and therapy.

 Music has also become an effective method for promoting parental involvement in early childhood education. Music is a non-threatening approach for most families. Some families have difficulty acting as their child’s “therapist”, and providing exercises at home. However, they will readily sing and dance with their babies as a “routine” part of parenting. Providing goals and techniques through simple songs makes it easier for families to remember and also encourages them to have fun with their child. For families who have difficulty bonding and attaching to their child, songs that encourage hugging, kissing and rocking help elicit nurturing behavior.

 A therapist or teacher does not need to be a skilled musician to utilize this developmental music approach. Children become enthralled with the most simple instrument, whether it is a guitar, an autoharp, a tambourine, or a homemade drum. As educators and therapists enjoy using singing and movement in their sessions, their enthusiasm provides a positive model for the children and families with whom they are working.

Outcomes, Inc. will host a Respite and Workshop on October 16, 2010 at 2:00 pm. See the flyer for the Workshop “Having Fun Together”.

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