Following the child

In many instances it is important to follow the child's lead. Here is an example of taking a client centered approach, and the positive outcome. Last night I brought this Orff alto xylophone to Alex's house for him to try for the first time. The xylophone was a HUGE hit, and extremely effective in encouraging and increasing language, though we did not use it in the traditional sense. First, all the bars came off, one by one. When I began to sing goodbye to each note letter (written on the bars) Alex took over. I would sing "goodbye_______", and Alex would sing the letter as he took each bar off. Then, came the bells...

I had brought three bells (also new to Alex) with me that evening with the plan to include them in the song Old MacDonald. Alex began putting the bells in the empty xylophone and laughing, so I began singing the colors "First Yellow, next comes orange, then comes red," as he placed them in the xylophone. Then Alex, who has emerging language, began singing the colors, approximating the word "next" before each one. Once they were in the xylophone he would then take out each one, ring it, and we would sing "buhbye yellow, buhbye orange, buhbye red." We sang this song for quite some time, with Alex getting up and jumping and dancing between each rendition as I played guitar. Alex then found a blue lid to add to our song to increase number of colors.

We spent nearly 30 minutes singing about the bells (and blue lid). During this time Alex accessed more language than had previously been observed. It is an important reminder to always follow the child. This may not have happened if I had instead encouraged Alex to leave the bars on the xylophone.

#autism #musictherapy #speech #socialskills


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