Using Homemade Instruments to Help a Child with Special Needs


Hey, everyone. welcome back to The Rhythm Tree. I’m very excited because I got invited to teach an online course called ‘Essential Skills for Working with Children with Special Needs.’ This is primarily geared towards other music therapists looking for continuing education or credits for recertification. But, it’s open and I think it would be very beneficial to related professionals, as well, or interested in learning how to use music to reach therapeutic goals.

In this video, I’m going to give a little taste of some of the content I am going to be covering in the course and part of what I will be covering is how to use specific instruments to address therapeutic goals, how to make homemade instruments to address therapeutic goals and how to adapt instruments to help clients with special needs reach therapeutic goals. On my DVD which you can find in my store, my DVD package, I have a bonus chapter that talks all about this and I demonstrate it on video and in the guide book how to make these instruments and adapt them. Actually, the sand blocks that my client will be using in this video is one of the instruments I cover.

Let’s talk about the goals I will be addressing with these sand blocks. First of all, we’re working on my client using the … system to communicate. So, you’ll see him hand me a picture of the sand blocks. That’s a great stage of communicating using … is having a client grab a picture independently and hand it to you. He’s motivated by the music, motivated by the instruments, does a great job of that. Then, I slip the sand blocks on. I made these adapted straps using duct tape and then he starts playing them and he’s so motivated by this. What’s great too is he’s also working on bilateral coordination using both hands and arms in a coordinated fashion and doing a fantastic job with that. He’s also keeping his arms in a neutral position like this. As opposed to this or this, one of his therapeutic goals is keeping his arm in a neutral position.

Those three goals are being addressed in this clip and you’ll notice, of course, I’ll give a lots of wait time. I don’t talk or sing too much, even. He has so much fun hearing himself play the instrument that all I do is reflect him and I meet him where he is at by doing a little slap-clap pattern and I think he enjoys that. It helps us connect and really gives energy to him playing those sand blocks, as well.

I hope you enjoy this. Please share this via social media and please give your comments. I am always looking for comments – that would be fantastic. If you’re interested in this class, check out the links I will give below.

Thanks so much.


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