Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Singing as an integrative tool

Is your child resistant to singing? Ours has been in the past. Everything ran smoothly along as long as we were singing what HE wanted to sing. But, of course, we didn't all want to sing [as much as we loved it] the Sponge Bob, Square Pants theme song! Unfortunately for Will, there is always a very diverse group of people in his mini-van, all vying for a different spot on the radio. In any given road trip, we could be listening to Chopin, Earl Klugh, Dashboard Confessional, the Flogging Mollies, The Beatles, hymns, John Mayer, Shaka Khan, or Green Day!

We've all had to learn the words to songs we loved, songs we hated, songs we were tired of, and songs we tolerated. I think it's part of any lifestyle that ANYONE should learn this skill. But there is something about music that can teach kids on the ASD spectrum about give-and-take in an almost effortless manner. This kind of teaching also utilizes age-appropriate information. At some point, the Sponge Bob Square Pants theme will be out of date, and the words to a Green Day song (or some other current band) will be more appropriate. It may even give your ASD kid a leg up on the other kids -- if he/she has teenage siblings, they can help in teaching what bands are "current", and the ASD child can figure out what he likes and be that much ahead of his peers.

**NOTE -- In the teaching of "current" band information, parents will have to be incredibly vigilant about knowing what lyrics are being taught, and what lyrics are appropriate for a young child to know. It's very hard to weed through songs and bands that are out now and find the few that tend to not have strong language/explicit language included -- but it IS possible. Just keep in mind that ASD kids are rule-oriented, so if you teach them a rule of "no bad language, no sexually explicit lyrics", they will generally hold to that concept like a bulldog -- one of the many positive things about ASD kids! **


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