Friday, October 28, 2011

One month of music therapy down and great results

It hit me today that we have now completed a full month of music therapy behind us.

If you remember from this post Alvin had to say goodbye to his Teacher Jesse from the gym. This summer he had bonded with him and when he left I was upset but was very concerned how Alvin would take it. This was not something we took lightly so when the opportunity presented itself to work with him in music therapy we jumped at the chance.

When we started this a month ago I had no clue what to expect as I talked about here. Four weeks later and I am in love with the way the therapy works and the progress we have seen.

The first week as I documented was amazing. Within 24 hours Alvin said his first sentence ever! Our first 4 weeks were spent trying new things and seeing what kind of responses we got each time.

The last week we started talking about goals for between now and the end of the year and have agreed on 5 goals that we hope to make progress on by the end of the year:
1. Cognative- work on choosing between 2 tiems or activities
2. Self expression through music. Work on displaying emotions or self expression through music.
3. Attention Span- Show progress in attending to an activity for at least 10 minutes without interruption in eye contact or following the directions given by his teacher.
4. Parent involvement- require very little re-direction from myself during a session. The overall goal with this is for him to gain more independence and be more sure of himself.
5. Following direction- this is a general goal to address transition issues and listening skills. The goal here is when asked to do something to show little resistance to doing what is asked and transition from one activity to another effectively.

The week that we started working on these goals. One of the things Jesse told me was that at some point we would be bringing out the real Alvin. This means that he wanted to see what a meltdown was what triggered them

Well this week it happened. Jesse brought in a CD player and for Alvin that meant numbers and electronics, two things that he is obsessed with. Well it didn't take long for a meltdown to occur. The great thing was that even with the meltdown Jesse didn't waiver. We have had therapists that when he looses it they back down and really don't want to push. The great thing was he worked through the meltdown re-directed the behavior to something positive and continued with the session. We got through the whole 45 minutes with 3 or 4 meltdowns but yet he left happy and positive about what he just did! On the way home he sang songs and was happy about what he just did.

Its been 4 weeks of music therapy with Jesse and Alvin is talking using 3 to 4 words in a sentence. He is showing posession of his toys by saying they are his when we or Elliot mess with them. He is telling us about what is going on around him like saying its raining or that at Petsmart he see's a lot of fish.

The main thing is he actually talks to us! Alvin is 4.5 and he is finally talking consistently!!

The past month I have started to learn more about what makes Alvin tick. I'm starting to see his wicked sense of humor even and timing even more.

For us music therapy has started to unlock our son. I am now starting to better be able to understand him and what makes him tick and how to work through things and work with him better.

So a month of music therapy down and I am hooked. To have something help my son be able to communicate and express himself is simply amazing!


  1. This is awesome! I truly believe in the power of music. Many blessing to you and your family :-)

  2. I'm really hoping that music will be a part of my son's development- this is an encouraging post to read. He loves music and dancing, though as with your son the CD player can be an issue. Recently he has started singing the words of songs, which can only be a good thing!

  3. Autisticson, Alvin has always loved music and seemed to really enjoy music in the gym so this was a good fit for us. The fact that your son is singing the words to a song is great sign! The CD player just adds a new element of challenge to the session but its something to work with. As long as the therapist is up to the challenge then you should be fine.