'Could Singing and Music Making Be a Tool For Autism? Find Out' by Bonita Darula

Caroline’s Commentary: 

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. Continue reading “'Could Singing and Music Making Be a Tool For Autism? Find Out' by Bonita Darula”

'Art & Music is Vital for the Autistic Student' by Caroline F. Butson

All children receive many benefits on multiple levels from art education whether or not they are on the autism spectrum.  However for the autistic child art and music is vital for their growth and development.  Autistic children learn best when learning is visual and by making learning fun.  Besides being a tool for helping the autistic child express themselves, painting and playing music are also a multi-sensory experience engaging the autistic child with all of their senses; visually as well as through touch, smell and sound.  Teaching must be creative and any subject can be taught using art as a tool, including the maths and sciences.

How does art education benefit the autistic student?

I would say that the healing or therapeutic aspect of art is most beneficial in that it develops the inner realm of the child and will help them discover who they truly are and how they fit into the world around them.  Learning how to express themselves with paint and music will help them gain self confidence and self esteem which will benefit them for the rest of their lives.  They often get the message that they are different, they have a disorder or they have an ‘incurable disease’; that they don’t fit in socially to the mainstream.  Children with autism are just as much a part of society as so called ‘typical’ kids especially nowadays when there are one in 88 of children world wide being diagnosed on the autism spectrum.  Art and soothing music will help them feel connected to the world around them and to the people in their life; their family and peers in school as well as out of school.   Art is therapeutic in and of itself because it heals on every level physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.

A lot depends on how art is taught.  When the teacher can encourage the students and allow them freedom of expression they can play a very positive role. Whereas a negative critical teacher can discourage self expression and turn the student off art and make them feel inadequate or shamed.  It is necessary therefore that the teacher nourish there own creative expression so that they can feel confident within themselves to help the autistic child with their artistic expression.  It is important that the teaching goes both ways; as much as the student learns from the teacher, the teacher must also learn from the student.

Life Cycle of Monarch Butterfly by Evan

 

 

Of course the autistic student will learn basic skills like listening and following directions and using materials properly but the child with autism often does not or cannot understand words so as a teacher you have got to communicate what you want them to learn in other ways.  The teacher has got to be creative in getting across the lesson in other ways than verbally. If the student has not got the lesson then you have to find another way to get the lesson across.

If you have a question or comment please send it to me below or the Contact page.  Enjoy…Caroline

'Steps to Help You Teach Children with Autism' by Caroline F. Butson

You may be feeling grief upon receiving a diagnosis that your child has Autism or Aspergers Syndrome etc. Do not despair! There is hope! Many individuals on the autism spectrum have grown up to have productive, fulfilling lives. Your child can still have a bright future! One out of 120 children coming into the world are now being diagnosed with some form of autism. It appears to be becoming a world wide epidemic. You are not alone. Here are three alternative steps to take to improve your child’s life and your own:

1. Creative expression
2. Telepathic Communication
3. Life Style Changes

It may be helpful to understand that many of them are Indigo or Rainbow children. This means that these children have more activated DNA, they are extremely sensitive, gifted, and highly intelligent. At the same time their speech may be delayed or others may have physical developmental challenges.

As such, children on the autism spectrum are often gifted in painting, drawing, sculpture and music. When you allow them to express themselves in these other mediums, the whole family will benefit. Creative expression is therapeutic in and of itself, as it allows freedom for feelings to be expressed in a safe, fun way. These feelings may otherwise be buried and come out later in a destructive way. For all of us, with or without autism, emotional expression is vital for our health and well-being. It is a normal part of being human. This is why music, painting, and drawing is important for autistic children. It provides them with another language, which may be easier, for the autistic child than verbal expression.

You don’t have to be a professional artist or art therapist to support your child in expressing themselves. You can paint or draw along with them or create music together. If this is a challenge for you, just keep it simple and fun. Try to let go of your inner critic. Art education is vital for the development of the autistic child because it will develop their inner realm, and will help them discover who they are and how they fit into the world around them.

These children have a highly sensitive metabolism which means they may have a tendency to become overwhelmed by large groups of people, large classrooms, noise, and emotion. When they are feeling overwhelmed or over stimulated they can either withdraw further within themselves and from the outer world or they can become more hyperactive, or escalate the situation to have an emotional meltdown. At this point hugging or holding them can feel uncomfortable or even painful for the autistic child if they are highly sensitive to touch or energy. A highly sensitive autistic child may be clear sentient, clairvoyant and telepathic. It is more natural and easier for them to communicate this way. You will learn to appreciate their strengths and what they have to offer the world.

The worst thing you can do is nothing and give up on them. Remind yourself that you are not alone. There is lots of support today in the form of many different kinds of therapies and programs. It is important to find the ones that are suitable for you and your child. Additionally, you may have to make some adjustments in your lifestyle such as looking for alternative choices in education, and housing options to help them adjust. Likewise they may feel better eating a diet of healthy organic fruits and vegetables for the most part.

Your own self-care is most important as you can easily become drained by the demands of parenting or teaching these kids. This is being wisely selfish. Do whatever you need to do to stay balanced and recharged. You know yourself best. Do something you love to do every day so you don’t get burnt out. You are the most important person to influence your child. Continue reading “'Steps to Help You Teach Children with Autism' by Caroline F. Butson”

Multiple Benefits of Teaching Art to Children with Autism by Caroline F. Butson

Here is my answer to the question asked of me this week by a University of Arizona student for her research paper:

All children receive many benefits on multiple levels from art education whether they are on the autism spectrum or not.  However for the autistic child art education is vital for their growth and development.  Autistic children learn best when learning is visual and by making learning fun.  Besides being a tool for helping the autistic child express themselves the Arts and Music are also a multi-sensory experience engaging the student with all of their senses; visually as well as through touch, smell and sound.  Teaching must be creative and any subject can be taught using art as a tool, including the maths and sciences.

How does art education most benefit the autistic student?
I would say that the healing aspect of art is most beneficial in that it develops the inner realm of the child and will help them discover who they truly are and how they fit into the world around them.  Art will help them gain self confidence and self esteem which will benefit them for the rest of their lives.  They often get the message that they are different, have a disorder, have an ‘incurable disease’, that they don’t fit in socially to the mainstream.  Children with autism are just as much a part of society as so called ‘typical’ kids especially nowadays there are millions of children world wide being diagnosed on the autism spectrum.  Art will help them feel connected to the world around them and to the people in their life; their family and peers in and out of school.   Art is therapeutic in and of itself because it is heals on every level physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.

A lot depends on how art education is taught.  When the teacher can encourage the students and allow them freedom of expression they can play a positive role just as a negative critical teacher can discourage self expression and turn the student off art and make them feel inadequate or shamed.  It is necessary therefore that the teacher nourish there own creative expression so that they can be in a better position to help the autistic child with theirs.  It is important that the teaching goes both ways; that the student learns from the teacher and the teacher must also learn from the student.

Of course the autistic student will learn basic skills like listening and following directions and using materials properly but the child with autism often does not or cannot understand words so as a teacher you have got to communicate what you want them to learn in other ways.  The teacher has got to be creative in getting across the lesson in creative ways other than verbally. If the student has not got the lesson then you have to find another way to get the lesson across.

If you have another question or comment please send it to me below or the Contact page.  Enjoy…Caroline

Teaching Children with Autism Art Education by Caroline F. Butson

I have recently been asked by a student at Arizona State University for my thoughts about the main purpose or value of art education for students with different levels of autism and for those students without autism.  That is a great question!   What is the main value of art education? Well art education serves to develop the student as a human being first rather than using education to make the student conform to a mold to fit into society.  Art serves the development of the inner realm of the student, the development of the personality and the expression of the child on every level mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually whether they have autism or do not.

Art will be all the more beneficial for students with autism as it allows them a venue of expression which they may not otherwise have if they are not able to express themselves with words.   It builds self esteem and self confidence which they will access for the rest of their life.  Art education is necessary and extremely valuable for society as a whole not just for the individual with autism.  Let’s imagine a world where we are all creating great pieces of art, poetry, music and dance!



Children with Sensory Needs By Christopher Auer /TEACHING CHILDREN with AUTISM

Caroline’s Commentary:

According to Christopher Auer, sensory issues are experienced by 5% of the general population as well as by as many as 40% of children with autism.  It is important to be aware that this problem touches the general population and is not specific to children with autism.  If we can try to understand that some individuals are having difficulty processing sensory information and work together to overcome this challenge in a spirit of goodwill and respect that will make it easier for everyone concerned.

Children with Sensory Needs – The Misunderstood Five Percent of the General Population  By Christopher Auer

Many children, perhaps your own, exhibit difficulty processing sensory information including: touch, taste, smell, vision, and hearing. As many as 5% of the school age population exhibit characteristics of sensory processing disorder (SPD), sometimes known as sensory integration disorder.

Further, many children with autism, ADHD (attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder), learning disabilities have SPD coexisting or underlying these conditions. Research has shown that as many as 40% of children with ADHD display symptoms of SPD.

If you are a parent of a child with special needs, perhaps you are struggling with the added stresses this can have on the family.

  • Your family relationships may be affected.
  • Siblings may be envious of the extra attention provided to the child with special needs.
  • Mothers may feel that fathers are not involved.
  • Fathers may feel unfairly blamed, when in their opinion, they are struggling to support the family.
  • Extended relatives, while intending to provide support, may instead offer conflicting advice, or just not understand the needs of the child and the family.
  • An already tight family budget may be stretched even greater to cover the added expenses associated with providing the best possible care for the child with special needs, and the family as a whole.

Only by sharing information and working together can we have adequate recognition and support for those impacted by SPD. Search the internet. Resources exist on the internet through non-proft foundations, and parent connections groups. It is my hope that all children grow up with the courage and wisdom to share their natural talents for the betterment of the world,

…express understanding and respect for humanity

…appreciate and extend the work done by previous generations of people. Continue reading “Children with Sensory Needs By Christopher Auer /TEACHING CHILDREN with AUTISM”