Music and Autism : How to combine Music and Movement


Welcome back to The Rhythm Tree. I am so excited because tomorrow on Tuesday, December 11th, I launch my music therapy DVD package with children with special needs. So, please check out my website. There is some great information and there’s even a video that shows clips from the DVD and talks about everything that’s included in the DVD package. Oh! There is also a coupon code for you all that is ‘music’. If you want 10% off, you can type in ‘music’ into the coupon code box. That will be good until late Saturday night.

Let’s get to this next video clip because this is a great one. It is with my client who has Autism, is nonverbal and he is a kinesthetic learner. He is so physical and has such skills with coordination, balance and movement. So, what I try to do is use the strength to work on his challenging therapy goals. The clip starts out with me, bouncing him across the room – he’s loving it and he’s laughing. Then, we get him in a chair and he has to use his Augmentative Communication Device to say, ‘I want more.’ So, that’s one of his goals and we’ve got the motivation of that. Then he’s in the chair and I do this rhythmic back-and-forth, rocking thing with him and I think he is really drawn to movement activities like that because it gives him … feedback, gives him that feedback in the joints where he knows where his body is. I think the rhythm really helps balance his central nervous system and really helps contribute to him feeling grounded and stable. That’s really motivating and then you’ll see that I start imitating lots of his movements and even his vocalizations. I feel like we’re constantly asking these kids to imitate the way we talk, our phrases, the movements and motions that we do but it’s only fair to turn the tables and to imitate them sometimes. It can also be a great opportunity for bonding and it can also open doors to great moments to work on therapeutic goals. So, then, he stands up and I put my arm down and he has to say ‘open’ in order for me to lift my arm up and let him through. Saying ‘open,’ that’s a big goal of his right now. So, I waited him out. I gave him lots of wait time, lots of silence and gave him a nonverbal prompt and he said ‘open’ which is great. So, I lifted my arm and then the whole, crazy cycle began again.

Lots of boyish energy in this and four out of five kids with Autism are boys. I feel like whether you are a woman or a man, it’s great to be able to use some boisterous, boyish energy, of course, depending on the child. But, for children like this who really enjoy that, it can be a great way to connect with them and motivate them to work on challenging therapeutic goals. I really encourage you to observe and try to decipher what learning style the child excels at and I’ll attach a little bit of a document underneath this video so you can check out different learning styles and multiple intelligences. So, really figure that out so you can use their strengths to then work on challenging therapeutic goals.

Alright, I will see you next week at

Thank you.


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