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How to Write Language Development Songs for Children with Special Needs

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This music therapy video with a child with autism illustrates the following:

  • Non-musicians can custom write songs for their child or client with special needs by taking a familiar song and changing the lyrics
  • The following melodies work great!
  •          1. Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
  •          2. The Wheels on the Bus
  •          3. Old McDonald
  •          4. Row Row Row Your Boat
  •          5. Brother John
    • Immediately generalize the target word or phrase in the song to a real life situation
    • Use puppets to role model the word or phrase
    • Use big dramatic pauses and an anticipatory breath to cue your child to fill in the word or phrase


    To read a transcription of the Music Therapy Video, please 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.


    • Lillian Tuesday, 05 February 2013

      Great video. I'll use this with my students. It's wonderful to see you in action with your clients. It's hard to get really good video of these kinds of interactions. Thank you.

    • Ryan Tuesday, 05 February 2013

      Thank you Lillian! I am so glad that you will be sharing this with your students. If you ever want to Skype me into a class, just let me know.

    • MT Paola Lazo Thursday, 07 February 2013

      Congratulation!! Is very utility this methodics system!! Thank you!!!

    • Ryan Thursday, 07 February 2013

      You are welcome! Thank you for the comment.

    • Megan Hissong Friday, 08 February 2013

      Thank you....I have a student that I think will thrive with this approach. He comes alive when the music starts!

    • Ryan Saturday, 09 February 2013

      Excellent! Let me know how it goes. If there is anything else I can help you with, just let me know.


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    Guest Thursday, 30 June 2022
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