Music, Movement and Autism


Hey, everyone and welcome back to The Rhythm Tree. My name is Ryan Judd. I am a board certified music therapist, here to give you more great ways on how to use music to help children with special needs. If you haven’t already signed up for my newsletter, please go to my website right now, Sign on up because I give you even more strategies, ideas, resources, tips, tricks for using music to help children with special needs.

In this video today, I’m working with a child with Autism and he is a kinesthetic learner – he loves movement. I am always looking for new, creative ways to help him reach his therapeutic goals by using his learning style and really honoring his learning style and using that to motivate him. So, in this clip, he’s sitting in a chair and I’d start to spin the chair around and he really loves it. Also, I use that to help him come up with new, novel phrases on his Alternative Augmentative Communication device and, in this case, it’s ‘go spin.’ He needs to hit ‘go spin’ in order to start spinning again. He just loves it and it’s so easy and simple. There’s so much more I can do with this, too. I think next session, I might step it up and say ‘go spin me please’ or we might even work on some speech with saying ‘one, two, three, go!’ There’s so much more I can do now that I found that this is so motivating for him. It’s just opened up the floodgates. So, I’m excited to keep using this technique with him. The great thing is that you don’t need to play an instrument, you don’t need to be a great singer, you don’t need to be a musician to do something like this. All I’m doing is spinning his chair and singing to him, combining that movement and music is always really effective. I made up a little spinning song but you can take a familiar melody, something upbeat. Maybe something like ‘She’ll be Comin’ Around the Mountain’ and put your own words to it for an activity like that. So, let’s think how that would go… ‘We’re gonna spin you around today! We’re gonna spin you around today! We’re gonna spin you around, gonna spin you around, gonna spin you around today!’ It doesn’t need to be anything fancy or elaborate. Very repetitive, but just combining that with music, that melody and rhythm with movement, seems to always take the motivational aspect of it to a new level.

I hope you enjoy this video. Again, please sign up for my newsletter and I’ll see you next time on

Thank you.


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