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Helping a Client Develop Fine Motor Skills and Social Greetings

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This music therapy video with a client with Angelman syndrome, illustrates the following:

  • Being patient and giving plenty of wait time can bring out the best in children and teens with special needs
  • Using dramatic pauses in music is an excellent way to prompt children and/or teens
  • Having a client strum the guitar with one finger, typically the index finger, is excellent practice for developing the ability to target small areas such as icons on an Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) device
  • Hello songs are great for teaching appropriate social greetings

To read a transcription of this music therapy and special needs video, click here

Ryan Judd is a board certified music therapist. He has a master's degree in Music Therapy and a bachelor's degree in Psychology, with an emphasis on Child Development. He has been working as a music therapist with children with special needs for more than 16 years. In addition to working one on one with clients, Ryan also leads groups focused on the development of social skills.  His services are available in Southern New Hampshire, Northern Massachussets and Southern Maine.  He lives in the Seacoast region with his wife who is a 1st grade teacher.


  • Stephanie Powell Saturday, 24 November 2012

    Great video! I am a music ed. major who works in a special ed. setting, and I loved how this video shows the power of music for those with communication challenges. I have seen over and over again how wait time is extremely important for letting the student process what they are being asked to do, and how they need to respond. Many teachers, special educators included to not give nearly enough time for the student to process the request and respond. The use of the unresolved chord is a brilliant way to give the student that extra motivation they may need to respond.

  • Ryan Friday, 11 January 2013

    Hi Stephanie, thank you so much for commenting on this video. I am so sorry that it has taken me so long to respond. I just figured out how to approve and reply to comments.

    It sounds like you really get the need for giving children with special needs plenty of time to respond. It drives me crazy when someone in this field asks a question or gives a prompt, waits 2 seconds and then responds or does the action for the child.

    Thanks again!


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Guest Wednesday, 29 January 2020
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