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Music and Autism : Video Post Transcription

Hey, everyone. Welcome back to The Rhythm Tree. My name is Ryan Judd. I am a board certified music therapist here to give you some more great tips and tricks on how to help children with special needs. Today is all about the do’s and don’ts of using music to help children with Autism and to bond with children with Autism.

First DO: Set the stage for success. Really take a look at your physical environment and cover up any distractions. If there is a bookshelf, toys, iPad… put it away. If you can’t put it away, grab a sheet and cover it up.

DO use simple percussive instruments. Little rhythm sticks are great, maracas are really fun, tambourines are excellent, too. Any of those – try them out and see what the child likes, play music and create music together.

DO sing – use your voice. Hey, you might not feel like you’ve got a great voice or you can’t sing at all… it don’t matter! Just sing out, be expressive, have fun and it will really help bond with that child and motivate them.

Another DO is acknowledge and reflect a child’s expressions. If they start jumping up and down, start clapping every time their feet hit the floor. Or, if they start vocalizing, vocalize back to them – the same exact thing they just did. That’s another great way to connect, bond and motivate a child.

Another DO is check out my DVD package. I put my heart and soul into this thing. I’m giving you my best songs, best ideas, best instruments… everything you need to use music to help a child with Autism. It comes with two rhythm sticks, two of these great tambourines, two of those maracas, a DVD, a CD, a guide book with all the songs, great ideas, tips, tricks… I give you my best and everything I’ve got. I’ve got a link right below to my store page. Check it out.

Okay, the DON’Ts. Let’s talk about the DON’Ts…

DON’T rush. You know, sometimes it takes time to figure out what type of music, what instruments, what songs, what approaches really work with a child with Autism. Keep trying things – don’t feel like you have to learn everything in 30 minutes or just have 10 minutes of music with a child and nail it the first time. Keep trying.

DON’T forget to be sensitive to a child’s sensory needs. They might have hypersensitive hearing and a tambourine could really be harsh for their hearing. You really want to be sensitive to that. If they start covering up their ears, pull back the volume, change up the instrument, just keep trying different things.

Another thing to watch out for – a lot of children with Autism can stem off these little jingles on a tambourine. So, if you see a child stemming off a particular instrument, exclude that the next time so you don’t have to worry about pulling their attention away from that instrument.

DON’T believe you have to be a musician to use music. Have fun, use simple instruments, simple music, sing out – you don’t have to be a musician to use music to connect with children with Autism and help them reach goals.

DON’T limit your musical selections. Certain children love classical music or worl music, Latin music, jazz, rock, hip-hop, folk… There are so many different styles. So, keep trying different styles to see what motivates that child.

DON’T exclude others. Music is a great way to bring in peers, to bring in siblings, to bring the family together. So, don’t forget to include others.

The last things – don’t forget to check out my website. My store page, again, there is a link right below and I hope you get something out of this and try some music with children with Autism. It can be a wonderful way to bond with them, connect with them, and help them reach their goals.

Thank you so much and I will see you next time.

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