Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Music Tip #7 Music and Special Needs Children

My brother and sister-in-law have 9 children. Matthew, their 7 year old has Down Syndrome. Music has helped Matthew in many areas--with speech, brushing teeth (which he used to hate), motor skills, and fears. Matthew rides the bus to school with other special needs children. He used to be really apprehensive about getting on the bus and leaving home. So the family started singing "The wheels on the bus..." and that would calm him down each morning so he could board.

Matthew and his younger brother love to dance. On Saturday nights the family will put music on from the 80's, 90's or current music and the whole family will dance and have fun. Matthew also loves to play the piano. He will sit at the piano and play whatever comes into his mind. He sits down like a concert pianist and pounds out notes, then takes a bow.

But when Matthew gets too much stimulus with music or tv, he gets hyper. There has to be a balance. His mother, Tammy, will play church songs to help calm him when he is upset about anything. Tammy writes, "I am definitely convinced that music is great therapy for any child, but absolutely helpful with children that have special needs."

Watch your children this week and see how you can use music to calm them, encourage them, teach them and just have fun with them.

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