Transforming Our World Through The Arts

Posts tagged ‘music therapy’

How Music Affects Special Needs Children

I came across this post (well-really it came to me via linkedin), which reminded me of my own personal experience. Watch the inspiring video, and then read about my experience below. Ahh-the power of music!

I don’t know Ryan, but the video makes me smile! As for my own personal experience, I teach Drama and Dance to primary grades this year. Most of my teaching career has been spent in the junior and intermediate grades, so it was a real adjustment to teach primary children. To top it all off, there are a high number of special needs children in each class, each with their own unique set of needs.

I entered a grade one classroom at the beginning of the year with the same attitude/strategy as I would have a junior class with no high needs (what I had become accustomed to). BIG MISTAKE. In particular, I ‘locked horns’ with one child in particular who does have special needs. I was unaware of this at the time (Mistake number two). When I left that class, I thought I never wanted to go back, especially with that child in the room. He apparently felt the same, telling his classroom teacher that he did not want to see ‘THAT LADY’ ever again! This was difficult for me to swallow, since I usually find it easy to build a rapport with children. I am a pisces and a healer-not a big fan of conflict.

Well, it was going to be a rough year ahead if I didn’t do something, so I spoke to his teachers and educational assistants to ask for advice. One suggestion was to bring in a doll because he likes dolls. I did this, and it helped to ‘smooth things over’ a bit, but I really started to notice the progress when I added some music and movement to my classes. The class in general responded much better, but this one student in particular absolutely shone! After that he would come in with a bright light in his eyes; anticipating the chance to move to different music. The thing is, music and dance are two of my favourite art forms as well, which built a little extra connection between us.

I have now switched my program over to drama, so the need to be more attentive again presents itself, but at least I feel I now have a ‘fall back’ strategy should I need it-just put on some music and dance!!

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