The music therapist

June 10, 2015 § 1 Comment

So this is quite a different post for me to write but as I watched her teach today I knew her sparkle needed to be shared with the world.

I did get her permission to write about her.   

Her name is Danielle Bayer.

She and I met several times over the years at fundraisers for the Williams Syndrome Association where she performed for children – using her special music therapy skills to bring complete joy to the children around her.

Over the years I have observed many music therapists.  I have come to form opinions about what makes a music therapist great and effective and I have found all of those qualities within Danielle’s abilities.

  She brings an air of magic into the classroom and she is without a doubt everyone’s favorite part of their week.

She works so hard through routine , bonding , understanding of complex disabilities and brings laughter to everyone’s day. 

  • The effects of her work are reflected both during class but also continue to effect us all even after and has left. 
  • I have witnessed non-verbal students , finding their voice.
  • I see increased speech production from all Students involved, neurotypical or not.
  • I see from these students increased ability to follow directions and most importantly the students see themselves as a group and they have bonded as such and now look after and respect one another.

I have never been moved to write about a specific person before but as she was leaving yesterday after our last session for the year I thought – I need to write about her, the world needs to know what a great music therapist can do.

Danielle also performs live singing in Plymouth, MA regularly.  


Thank you Danielle! 

 

It’s not regression – 

June 4, 2015 § Leave a comment

I DID NOT WRITE THIS BUT IT IS SOMETHNG THAT MUST BE SHARED THIS TIME OF THE YEAR!

This is such an important message.

It was shared with me about 3 years ago, maybe more.  

I apologize that I can not give due credit to the author but the original link is below ! 
http://www.spdbloggernetwork.com/2012/04/26/it-isnt-regression-2/It Isn’t Regression!


April 26, 2012 by Hartley Steiner in Advice, Behavior with 14 Comments

This is the time of year where parents all over the world are wondering, worrying and asking, “Why is my child regressing?” with a level of terror usually reserved for things like walking into your kitchen and finding your 4 year old has stuck the hose in the French doors and proceeded to turn it on, effectively flooding the kitchen with water – for the third time this week.
Oh, actually, that probably isn’t your life (the hose thing), just mine. . .
But the regression question is at the forefront of everyone’s minds these days. Isn’t it?
Teachers, parents, therapists, are all watching as our kids, who normally can perform a certain task, or have acceptable behavior in a given situation, are now magically unable to.
And it scares us. The idea that all of the therapy and consistency is somehow erased one spring day without so much as a warning – that it will all be for not, because our child has regressed.
I hate the word regression. It is so permanent. It is so damaging. It suggests that our kids have LOST skills that took them months, maybe years, to attain. But so you know, I don’t think what we parents see this time of year is true regression. Ah, then what is it?
Remember how we talked with Dr. Roya Ostovar about the analogy of sensory information coming into the body as stress – just more stress on an already overstressed body?
I am going to use that analogy – but I am going to take it one step further.
Think of your child as experiencing all disruptions – things that throw them off, that cause confusion or that upset the delicate balance in their lives – as stress.
Time Change

Season Change

Allergies

School Routine Changes

Home Routine Changes

OT/Therapy Routine Changes

Anticipation of Summer

Sleep changes

“Spring Fever” in the Air

Worry About Summer Scheduling

Worry About Next School Year

Worry About Not Seeing Their Friends

Worry About Leaving Their Teacher

and MORE.
Imagine if all of these things are coming into your child’s body as stress. Your child is probably too young to have any real skills in the area of self talk (where you tell yourself, “Don’t worry, it will be OK.”), so they are not truly processing any of these thoughts or phenomenon. Instead, it is all just a garbled stew of stress.
Now, enter his school teacher who normally just says, “You need to put that away, it is time for circle.” And your child screams. Then throws the toy.
“Little Tommy has regressed!” your child’s teacher says with pure exasperated annoyance. “He hasn’t done this since last fall!”
And you feel awful.
Or this example (stolen from SashaSays’s real life with her Wild Child).
You get a note home, “Your child was putting her knees on the table, and she refused to stop. So she was made to eat in the office.”
And you are at a loss for what to tell the teacher, because you don’t know why your child doing something that they haven’t done in ages.
Or this one, (stolen from Chynna’s blog).
Jaimie gets to school, just to realize her friend isn’t there. Big MELTDOWN.
And you think, “OMG she hasn’t done this since last September – I can’t handle her regressing!”
Do those sound familiar? They probably do. They are happening to everyone, everywhere, right now. Including our family.
But it is NOT REGRESSION.
Then, what is it?
It is your child’s way of handling stress.
This time of year (and usually the winter holiday season too) your child has so much stress coming into their body that they cannot access the skills necessary to react adaptively to situations that they normally don’t have a problem with.
Example reasoning from the above scenarios:
Little Tommy: He can’t transition because he is stressed – Maybe the time change has him not sleeping well, his allergies are flaring up and he really just wanted to play with the toy. Enter flip out.
Sasha’sGirl: She was obviously in need of some input in her legs (duh!) and was attempting to get it in a fairly adaptive fashion (knees on table at my house would not be a problem). Why couldn’t she follow the rules (the teacher thought she wouldn’t, but we have all read Dr. Greene’s work, and believe that this darling little one would do well if she could )? Because the need for sensory input was just one more stressor and it put her over the edge.
Chynna’s Jaimie: Why did Jaimie start to have the same behavior as she did at the beginning of the year? Because having her friend not there was just too much – as Chynna wrote, Jaimie was dealing with transition issue to 2nd grade, loss of her school routine with summer coming, and a myriad of other stressors. The absence of her friend was just too much.
Here is my point:
Our kids take two steps forward and one step back. Every year. Every month. Every week. Every day.
It is more important that we realize this, lower our demands of them during the rough times, and allow them to continue to feel successful, until we can ramp back up to where we were before – and move forward again. This isn’t a ‘loss of skills’, it is more of an ‘unable to access the skills’ issue.
So the next time someone says, “Your child has regressed” or “He hasn’t done that all year!”
Ask them if they would be able to function seamlessly after just after being fired from their job, finding out that their MIL is moving in with them for the summer, and having their husband call to say he’d wrecked the family’s car – without insurance.
How focused would they be then? Would they blow up? Be irritable? Easily frustrated? Not feeling flexible?
Of course they would be.
Imagine how your kid feels now — in their little lives, it really feels like that big of a deal.​

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