The Benefits of Music Therapy for Children with Special Needs

Here is a picture of my little guy at about 6 months old in Kindermusik.  We went to Kindermusik for about 3 years.  I truly believe that music has played an extremely important role in Jacob’s growth and development.

I can remember even when he was a baby, how I would move his legs and arms around, while singing “Wheels On The Bus” to help him increase his low tone issues.

We dance and listen to music every day.  Music has become such an important part of our lives.  I incorporate a lot of songs into our daily tasks for example “Following the Leader” or “Clean Up”.  They all help to increase his knowledge of learning and provide him such physical and occupational input.

Before Jacob was born I can remember holding up speakers to my belly playing instrumental music like Jim Brickman.  I read that this helps with cognitive development.  I can honestly say that even though Jacob has Down Syndrome one of his greatest areas of strength is in the area cognitive learning.

I have taken him to see the Notre Dame Glee club sing when he was about 9 months old.  The library had a free performance of the South Bend Quartet and we sat right up in the front.  Jacob just moved his hands to music.  We took him to see Swan Lake and the Nutcracker, now keep in mind he’s only 5 and he stayed awake and alert through both performances.  He absolutely loves music and anything that has to do with it.

I just took him to see Barney Live for his 5th birthday.  Wow what a smile on a child’s face.  Barney is wonderful.  People may have mixed emotions about the show, but I can tell you that purple dinosaur has taught my son a lot and I’m thankful.

If you have the ability to get involved with your local music class or program, I would definately suggest it.  It brings tremendous benefits to our children.  See more in the article below:

The Benefits of Music Therapy for Children with Special Needs   by: Betsey Zenk Nuseibeh

While therapists and medical professionals have long recognized the measurable benefits of occupational therapy and physical therapy for children with developmental disabilities and other special needs, the far-reaching benefits of music therapy have only relatively recently been discussed in depth.

The latest research proves that music therapy offers children with special needs a wide range of long-term benefits. It helps children improve their gross and fine motor skills, aids in academic achievement, improves social interaction skills and helps with communication.

Do you remember learning the alphabet? Did the familiar “A-B-C” song help you retain that information? That’s a small example, but a good one, of how music can help us learn and retain academic knowledge. Music therapy helps organize a variety of information in smaller, easier to learn, bits.

One of the greatest upsides to music therapy that makes it one of the best activities for children with special needs, is the fact that it music very appealing to the children themselves. For example, children with autism are often extremely interested in and stimulated by music. They respond more often to music than many other types of sound. In fact, there are some children who will respond only to musical stimuli. Their affinity for music is a great motivator for them to participate in therapy and helps make music therapy that much more effective.

According to the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA), since music is processed by a different area of the brain than speech, it’s easier for children with special needs to absorb and retain a wide range of information using music therapy. The well-known mood enhancing or soothing aspects of music help the children improve their emotional state. Research shows that group music therapy for children empowers them to channel feelings such as frustration and anger into creative forms of expression and communication.

Music therapy also helps these children focus. Again according to AMTA, research proves that children in early education programs who participate in music therapy group activities greatly improve their ability to pay attention and stay on task. Furthermore they score higher in language skills, fine motor skills, social interaction and cognitive development.

Finally, the benefits of music therapy in helping children with physical disabilities or other special needs to improve their motor skills are enormous. For example, learning to play a musical instrument through adapted guitar lessons or adapted piano lessons can help these children improve their fine motor skills as well as hand-eye coordination. The repeated rhythms of music therapy have been proven to help with gross motor skills also, helping children who have irregular gaits or challenges with muscle control.

Truly, music therapy is one of the most effective and helpful ways to teach special needs children. One of its best, most appealing qualities is that it’s fun. Like all of us, children are drawn to music. It engages them, improves their mood and helps them focus. Music therapy makes learning enjoyable and offers a remarkable variety of benefits to children with developmental disabilities and other special needs.

About The Author Betsey Zenk Nuseibeh, of Melodic Connections is a special educator and a board certified music therapist in Cincinnati.

The author invites you to visit:
http://www.melodicconnections.org

Great Video to Answer Questions About Breastfeeding

How often do I breastfeed my child?  Will too much cause obesity?

Do I supplement if I don’t have enough breastmilk?

Can I have caffeine if I am breastfeeding?

 

Some questions that were submitted to Amy Gole, Manager of Parenting Education of Morristown Memorial Hospital and Overlook Hospital in New Jersey.

If you have asked yourself these same questions and more, check out this video.  It’s very informative.

We are also discussing this topic in our community forum at the SpecialMoms Entrepreneur ClubDid you breastfeed your special needs child?  Come register as a member and join the conversation – it’s FREE!

“Music From The Heart” by Darius Rucker

Darius Rucker and 25 ACM Lifting Lives music campers with developmental disabilities joined Rucker on the ACM Awards stage to perform “Music from the Heart.” One of Sunday night’s most moving performances, the ACM Awards shared a moment with the audience and had many people recognize the value of music to all, especially those on stage for the presentation.

The special performance supported the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center, as fans were asked to call or text to donate after the performance. The Center makes a positive difference in lives of those individuals with developmental disabilities as well as their families.

As the ongoing tradition of helping the fans of the music, the ACM Lifting Lives is the philanthropic arm of the Academy of Country Music. It is dedicated to improving lives through the power of music and each year a new organization or charity is brought to the attention of the audience to support.

I love Darius Rucker, he is a fantastic performer.  I saw him in concert and he is just incredible and you can see why.  Click here for video.

Do These Statements Describe You, SpecialMoms!

I came across this post in BabyCenter that talked about raising a child with special needs and why us SpecialMoms ROCK!

And I wanted to share some of the quotes:

“Because we never thought that ‘doing it all’ would mean doing this much. But we do it all, and then some.”

“Because we’ve discovered patience we never knew we had.”

“Because we are willing to do something 10 times, 1,000 times if that’s what it takes for our kids to learn something new.”

“Because we have heard doctors tell us the worst, and we’ve refused to believe them.”

“Because we have bad days and breakdowns and bawl fests, then we pick ourselves up and keep right on going.”

“Because we manage to get ourselves together and out the door looking pretty damn good. Heck, we even make sweatpants look attractive.”

“Because we are strong. Who knew we could be this strong?”

“Because we aren’t just moms, wives, cleaners, chauffeurs, cooks and women who work. We are also physical therapists, speech therapists, occupational therapists, teachers, nurses, researchers, coaches and cheerleaders.” (This one is actually my favorite, because it is so true.  Look how many hats we wear.  So don’t let anyone tell you “well you don’t work or have a real job”.  You have more jobs then they can handle in a lifetime.)

“Because we understand our kids better than anyone else does – even if they can’t talk or gesture or look us in the eye. We know. We just know.”

“Because just when it seems like things are going OK, they’re suddenly not, but we deal. We deal even when it seems like our heads or hearts might explode.”

“Because when we look at our kids we just see great kids. Not kids with cerebral palsy/autism/Down syndrome/whatever label.”

I also wanted to share a Chicken Soup book that I have started reading “Chicken Soup for the Working Mom’s Soul,” and on the front cover there are pictures of the Hello My Name is Labels with Boss, Daughter, Soccer Mom, Consumer, Wife, Maid, Neighbor, Aunt, Cousin and that quote made me think of this book, so I thought I would share.

Have a wonderful day in whatever hat you may be wearing!

Downs Designs – A Clothing Line for People with Down Syndrome

 

Do you have a child with Down Syndrome and know that clothes shopping for them can be a daunting task.  I know personally my son is tall and skinny so I need to purchase the bigger sized pants because of his length, but they have to be adjustable waist for his skinny waist.

Well at Downs Designs they have created their own clothing line for our kiddos.  They have an online store to

About Downs Designs
 
  Our InspirationCreating a clothing line for people with Down syndrome has been an overwhelming task but a true labor of love. My inspiration has been granddaughter who was born with Down syndrome. As I watch her grow, I see the challenges her mother faces in finding clothes that fit her appropriately. 
  Free Consultation
 
  For first time buyers only, do no order pants with hem. Once they are hemmed, they cannot be returned. After proper size and style is established, return pants in prepaid postage envelope with proper inseam length marked. Hems can be made according to your measurement for $5.00 and returned to you with free shipping. Future orders can then be hemmed according to your inseam length at time of ordering. How to MeasureNeed to know what size will fit you best? Click here to view our instructions in how to correctly measure your body for best fit.

 Check them out at: http://www.downsdesigns.com/index.html.

Helpful Tips for Moms on the Go

For busy moms there always seems to be something that needs to be done.  However, finding the time to do it all can be a challenge.  Have you ever found yourself out at a restaurant or doctor’s office, and you need to take your child to the bathroom for a change and you find there are no diapers in your bag?   Do you have a back-up plan if your child has an accident and soils their pants while you are out?  Have you ever thought about what might happen if you get into an accident and you are unable to speak and tell the EMS personnel about your child’s medical condition?

Well here are some tips to avoid an embarrassing or unforeseen situation:

  • Right as you return home from being out, as you clean out the used bottles and dirty bibs.  Take a few minutes to restock your diaper bag with the necessary items: diapers, wipes, plastic utensils and bibs.  If you get yourself into a routine doing this, you should never find yourself without the necessary baby supplies in your diaper bag.
  • Why not create a small emergency kit for your car.  You may find that you need to take a quick trip to the store and do not feel like bringing your diaper bag.  Accidents happen, especially for our little ones.  If you have a small bag filled with wipes, diapers and an even extra change of clothes, these may come in handy someday.  Why put your wet child into the car seat.  You will now have to clean the car seat cover, their clothes and they will be uncomfortable driving home.
  • Take a small index card and right down pertinent medical information about your child (diagnosis, medicines taken, dosage, physicians name, etc) that would be helpful for EMS personnel to care for your child, in the event of an accident and you are unable to speak for your child.  Take this card, laminate it and tape it to your child’s car seat, on the side that would be visible when personnel would open the door.
  • Check out My Precious Kids website for the child car seat id tag that you can fill in and tape to your child’s car seat.  My Precious Kid at http://www.mypreciouskid.com/products.html

Tip: You may not think that you need to sanitize the inside of your diaper bag.  However, studies have shown that bacteria can grow on the inside of your bag especially with dirty clothes, wet diapers or spilled bottles.  Take an anti-bacterial cloth and wipe your diaper bag inside and out.

Ways To Conquer The Clutter

As much as we try to stay on top of all the appointments and paperwork we receive everyday with the use of our PDA’s, calendars and files; new things enter our lives every day.  If you are not careful, these things can soon become clutter.  Here are a few tips to stay cleverly organized:

  • Make it work for you.  Make your organization process work for you and your style.  Do not create an elaborate organizing system that will take you longer to understand then to use.  Make it convenient for you to be able to put things back where they belong.
  • Put big projects on your calendar. Let’s say you have a big project that you want to accomplish that week.  For example, it may be cleaning out your closet or garage.  Look at your calendar and see what a good day to schedule that is.  If you notice that the day you chose has other appointments scheduled for that day, schedule it for another day.  Why?  If you are pulled away throughout the day for other things, you will end up with more disarray then you initially started because of an incomplete task.
  • Schedule some catch up time.  If you are noticing that you are starting to fall behind on certain tasks, schedule a day to play catch up.  Work only on that task until you have accomplished what you set out to do.
  • Complete tasks.  If you have several incomplete projects, they will start to weigh on you, causing you to get depressed and wondering how you will be able to get to it all.  By completing each task you start, you will begin to feel energized and a sense of accomplishment.

Organize Yourself and Your Thoughts

The way you are feeling that day, can affect what actions you decide to do.  If you are feeling overwhelmed or confused about a certain project or task, you start to become stressed and therefore put off completing that task.

I would suggest making a plan.  Write out what parts of that task you can easily accomplish, so you can start to feel a sense of achievement.  This will help you to feel more empowered to complete that task.  Here is a quote to think about when you find yourself in this situation.  Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task.” by William James. 

Challenge for the week:  Take those appointment cards that are either in your wallet or taped on your refrigerator and enter them on to your calendar.  Nothing is more frustrating than a missed appointment.