Throughout the history of time, music has been a powerful way for people to come together and engage with one another. Music class is included in schools everywhere because of the many benefits it can bring. Specifically, for children on the ASD spectrum, music provides unique sensory experiences. The various sounds, tones, and melodies provide a new experience for the children.
Many children with autism are either non-verbal or currently developing verbal skills. These children have difficulty expressing themselves. Music can be an outlet for expression and help children discover new sides of themselves and also see the world in a different way. It can help with anxiety by allowing the child a method of releasing tension and stress that they otherwise would not be able to express.
Playing music can encourage a child to be more social and communicate with other children. When we look at a band playing a concert, we see that all of the musicians are working together cohesively and building off the sounds that each person is making. Introducing musical instruments can help facilitate positive interactions with others.
Think about when you hear a new song on the radio that you like. You immediately will begin to have your own interpretation of the lyrics and the instruments used. The song could help you learn a new word or expression. The song could help you better understand a certain social situation or give you a new perspective. Seeing and understanding the world from someone else’s view is a valuable and important life skill.
Putting children together to play or listen to music can help them interact with one another and build the confidence needed to make that big step towards initiating a conversation. These types of activities often lead to dancing which not only provides exercise for the children but it also helps build fine motor skills and stimulates the senses. Most importantly, music is fun!
Hooper, Wigram, Carson, & Lindsay (2011) concluded that a practitioner can use “musical experiences to develop a relationship that promotes health by resolving an individual’s physical, emotional and psychological difficulties” or can promote “health by providing music as a stimulus to reduce or eliminate inappropriate behaviors that tend to be considered an ‘unhealthy’” (p. 23).
One of our Registered Behavior Technicians and a current Masters level student in ABA has started a music program at Positive Synergy. I got a chance to talk with Johnny about this and he said the following: “These past few months have been very exciting at Positive Synergy.
After nearly a year in the making, the music program is up and running and has been very well received by both our kiddos and staff alike. The music program concentrates on further developing gross and fine motor skills, honing in on listening and imitation skills, promoting interaction and cooperation among all of the students, and most importantly, providing an outlet for the students to plug in and express themselves with the multitude instruments that are offered.
The Positive Synergy music program is excited to further grow with group sessions, as well as incorporating music in ABA sessions and providing individual lessons with regards to piano, bass, and drums. This summer is going to "ROCK!”.
Below is Excerpt from the full-length documentary:
MUSIC IS MY THERAPY
You may have heard the term “self-care” floating around lately. So what is it? Self-care is the things you do for the most important person in your life……yourself!
Sounds crazy doesn’t it? Your kids, significant other, pets, work are those who receive the most from you. However, in order for all the special people in your life to receive the best care from you, you need to care for yourself. I know, I know how in the world are you supposed to find time for that?
Sometimes, you have to demand that time or be real creative in making time for yourself. Some of us are lucky enough to have extra help at home when you need to just take some space. Other times, we are the only person we have in getting stuff done day after day. Regardless of your situation, it is important to find ways you can cater to your own needs.
My self-care routine usually entails a workout once a week, painting my nails one night a week, and taking an hour each Saturday to go wherever I want to (for example, driving to Target 5 towns away just to take a drive).
Your self-care might involve gardening, lighting candles at night to relax, and enjoying a hike in the woods. This is the most beautiful aspect of self-care, you get to pick what you do for yourself! Self-care also does not mean you have to perform these activities alone. You could take your kids out for ice cream or make time to see a friend you have not had a chance to see very often.
No matter what you decide is best for your situation, it is important to remember one thing. It is not at all selfish to recognize small things you can do for yourself each week in order to perform all the roles you are involved in. Being a parent is the most demanding role of all.
The sacrifices you perform for your children are seen daily. Your children will benefit from seeing you perform self-care for yourself. This can also assist in you teaching your child to recognize what they do for themselves for self-care.
When - May 8th
Time - 4:30 to 7:30
Do you have a child that has a hard time following directions or rules? Does your child sometimes exhibit unsafe behavior? Do you want to better understand human behavior, and how to properly motivate and encourage your child? Then Safety Care for Families may be for you!
QBS has developed Safety-Care for Families, a training program that allows professionals to support family members in a home or home-like setting. This innovative course provides parents and others at 18 and up with the skills interventions needed to improve behavior and to prevent, minimize, and manage potentially dangerous incidents.
The Safety-Care for Families curriculum consists of four sessions, attendance to all 4 sessions are not required. Families may pick to attend essentials 1 or complete the entire series! Essential skills are presented in a lecture format while advances skills are training in a small group for individualized instruction. To participate in any session, a participant must have attended each of the earlier ones.
The training will cover the following:
Part 1 – 2 ½ hours
Part 2 – 2 ½ hours
Part 1 – 2 ½ hours
Part 2 – 2 ½ hours
The Flutie Safe and Secure Program
1. What do you get? You receive SafetyNet Bracelets which include a Transmitter Bracelet, Tester, 6 Month Supply of Batteries and Straps. This is a $499 dollar value!
2. What is this program? This is the Flutie Family Safe and Secure Program which is a partnership between the Flutie Foundation and SafetyNet Tracking Systems. This partnership attempts to assists those on the Autism Spectrum who have the tendency to wander or exhibit bolting behaviors.
3. Who is eligible? Select New England States offer this opportunity to caregivers of individuals on the ASD Spectrum who have a tendency to walk away or wander. These particular families cannot afford to pay for assistive technology.
4. How does it work? The client wears a safety net bracelet around their wrist that emits radio frequency signals. These signals are tracked by local public safety officials via their SafetyNet Search and Rescue Receivers.
5. Are these public officials trained? The authorities in each area of coverage are trained on how to find lost people using the SafetyNet Tracking Systems Equipment and also on how to adequately communicate with people on the ASD spectrum.
6. What actually happens when the wandering occurs? You contact the authorities right away. The trained rescue personnel will track the radio frequency signal being emitted from the client’s bracelet. These personnel also are provided with key client information such as physical description, medical condition, or de-escalation techniques which can help in the search and rescue operation. Once your loved one is located, they will be able to be returned home safely.
7. How often does the battery need changing and how reliable is this bracelet? Once every 6 months the battery will need to be changed and can be done by local authorities. The tracking system works in buildings, densely wooded areas, and even shallow waters. The bracelet would even work in areas where cell phone coverage would be limited, such as a parking garage.
8. Why should I do it? Peace of mind. These bracelets increase the chance that your child or loved one will be found quickly and returned home safely.
To learn how to apply for a SafetyNet Bracelet through our Safe and Secure program, please email Lisa Collins at firstname.lastname@example.org
See How SafetyNet Tracking Systems Works
Does serving pizza, processed foods, or chips every day for lunch and dinner sound familiar? Meal time can be an important part of the day for families to talk to each other, relax, and bond. These are the perfect times for modeling proper manners and setting an example of healthy eating. Furthermore, research shows that children who eat dinner with families have a lower chance of engaging in high risk behaviors later on in life. It can be a difficult and anxious time for a child with autism which can create a stressful situation for parents.
When it comes to your child on the spectrum, making sure they get the right nutrition can be a battle. This can be very frustrating for parents and can sometimes leading to giving up or “giving in” and feeding the child only what they prefer. Think back to when you were a kid, did you enjoy eating fruits and vegetables? Most likely your answer is no. One important aspect of this for parents to understand is that this is not your fault, you did not create this problem. In certain cases, this can be very dangerous for the child’s wellbeing. Melissa Olive Ph.D., a psychologist with experience treating eating disorders, says “some of them limit what they eat, in some instances so severely that it results in nutritional deficiencies that lead to weight loss, malnutrition and inadequate growth”.
In the journal article: Food Selectivity in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and Typically Developing Children, the study concluded that food selectivity is more common in children with autism than in typically developing children, and limited diet may be associated with nutrient inadequacies. The article states that “children with ASDs exhibited more food refusal than typically developing children. A more limited food repertoire was reported for children with ASDs than typically developing children. Only four children with ASDs and one typically developing child were reported to demonstrate high frequency single food intake. Children with a more limited food repertoire had inadequate intakes of a greater number of nutrients”.
Often times a child’s diet will be diverse until one day they begin to be much pickier and only want to eat a few preferred foods. These foods tend to be unhealthy. This can be related to many different factors. The following is a list of some but not all of the possible reasons:
What Methods Have Professionals Used?
In their book Food Chaining: The Proven 6-Step Plan to Stop Picky Eating, Solve Feeding Problems, and Expand Your Childs Diet Food Chaining: The Proven 6-Step Plan to Stop Picky Eating, Solve Feeding Problems, and Expand Your Child’s Diet, Cheri Fraker, Mark Fishbein MD, Sibyl Cox, and Laura Walbert offer a “common sense approach to dealing with problem eaters”. The authors analyze the different characteristics of the child’s preferred food. These characteristics include textures, flavors, and food groups. The foods that are similar to preferred foods but are also nutritious are then introduced.
An additional approach is the the Sequential Oral Sensory (SOS) feeding program created by Dr. Kay Toomey. This program “integrates sensory, motor, oral, behavioral/learning, medical and nutritional factors and approaches in order to comprehensively evaluate and manage children with feeding/growth problems. It is based on the normal developmental steps and skills of feeding”.
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Seekonk, MA 02771