Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Musical Toys - Hitting The Right Note

Music is such an important part of people’s lives and has an impact on us in many different ways. It can relax us, make us want to dance, tap a beat or sing. Music is used as therapy for many different situations and for people of all ages and backgrounds.

In 1943, when psychiatrist Leo Kanner first introduced the term "autism", he observed that several of his patients showed a real love for music. Ever since then, therapists and researchers have agreed that children with autism often respond to music, melody and rhythm.

Music is a form of non-verbal communication which is non-threatening and can soothe and calm an autistic child. Music enables children to communicate and express their feelings.

Some simple music therapy to try at home:

1. Get a simple instrument such as finger cymbals or hand clusters and play it next to your face. This will help your child become more comfortable with eye contact.

2. Sing some simple songs while holding a doll or stuffed toy. Act out the song using the doll.

3. Using some castanets or maracas, take it in turns to play a rhythm.

4. The rainbow sound blocks are a wonderful toy that can not only make music with the beads in each block, your child can also look through the different colours as well as stack and construct objects.

We also have many other musical instruments including triangles, rainmakers and xylophones which are perfect for use at home with your child.

Parents and carers of autistic children usually find their child has a real affinity for music and will be able to recreate and remember songs. You might want to even consider getting your child lessons in a particular instrument which will provide both self-esteem and a creative outlet which will no doubt be of great benefit.

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