Exceptional children love to make music. Keep it simple and fun. A simple heart beat rhythm helps you and your child or student get connected to their center and helps the right and left hemispheres of the brain to work together. Using shakers, rattles, bells and drums or even a jar partially filled with beans or popping corn from your kitchen cupboard works just as well. You can also drum rhythm using a wooden spoon on a pot or pan. At the Tree of Life Centre for Creativity we use Earth rhythm music which helps them ground and helps them focus their attention on learning. You can make up a song for just about anything you want to teach. The autistic student loves to learn this way. I would love to hear your experience making music with your student or child in the comment section below.
‘Could Singing and Music Making Be a Tool For Autism? Find Out’ by Bonita Darula
Singing with young children is fun and exciting for both the adult and child. One does not have to be an experienced musician to just sing and have fun.
Autistic children tend to enjoy repetitious motion and words. With singing and repeating words to music, children with autism learn to formulate words, and sounds. It helps their listening skills to relate words and sounds, to develop pictures in their brain. It also encourages them to understand rhythm, the coordination of different sounds to make music and develop motor skills.
If one is creative and chooses to make the singing have more of an impact, use visual aids that tend to stimulate their senses. Autistic children will not only hear the music, but feel and move to the rhythms, keep the beat going. It is an excellent idea to introduce musical instruments to the children. For example, tambourines, small little drum pads, that can be used with their hands or unbreakable drum sticks, small horns to learn how to blow and use their fingers to hear the pitches and sounds. Many autistic children do play the piano. There are some toy pianos that can be used or keyboards. Make it fun, be creative with visuals, instruments and rhythm.
Singing with the visual and introducing play instruments, gives autistic children confidence and it creates a desire for them to want to learn new songs, that will give them a better understanding of new words and sounds. It helps them to identify pictures, using visuals and colors. One could use pictures of animals and make a creative story with music, animals, and bright colors that would give the children a new and fun way to view learning the sounds of words, repeating them and listening to the sounds.
Adjust the speed of the singing and making music, by singing slow at first, then a little faster, introducing new words and sounds as the music is being made. Repeat different verses then skip verses, have the boys just sing, then the girls, and at the end, all could join in and sing. One could even introduce, a little dancing.
During the special holidays, birthdays, or other celebrations, one could bring songs, visuals, and fun creative instruments that would add joy, new words, to coordinate with those special days. By doing this, children will be able to individualize their memories, vocabulary and give them a better understanding of their surroundings related to special occasions.
I would highly recommend music, songs, visuals for autistic children. It gives them positive development, not only with their memories, articulation, but creativity, motor skills, communication, self-expression, social skills, and it helps the one who is teaching these skills, to become aware of how valuable this kind of activity is. It gives the teacher or parent a better understanding, that music and singing is a great tool for everyone involved.
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