I have been in a feisty advocacy mood lately. Maybe because its report card time of the year or update the IEP time of year or winter doldrums but I just want to create a sense of urgency in those around Johnny to go along with his natural curious passionate nature that always wants to know MORE and WHY. So who was next in my line of sight? The music teacher. Johnny’s Grandma, Daddy and I have been concerned because Johnny has always loved music, loved to hum to songs as a baby, and could sing words before he could say them. In his music playgroup he would keep beat with any drum given to him and would pound out complicated rhythm with a mischevious look in his eyes to that teacher. So when Johnny started Junior Kindergarten 2 years ago we thought well at least once a week he will have a fun class to look forward. It turned out that it was not the case. This is what I sent to Johnny’s school for the music teacher.
Dear Mr Music Teacher,
Hello, I am Johnny’s Mom and I’ve been meaning to contact you for awhile about him. As you know, Johnny is Autistic and until recently has become verbal. He has “Childhood Apraxia of Speech” or severe motor speech delay which also hinders his ability to coordinate singing and doing hand movements or dance all at the same time.
Before Johnny’s could speak, he could always hum tunes at a very young age and then later sing songs using words he could not say yet. He loves to spontaneously sing at home and I prompt him to practice a song or to check that he knows a song by using “carrier phrase prompting.” I sing the first 1-3 words and he finishes. Singing uses another part of the brain than speech so its a fun way for Johnny to practice articulation of sounds and words that he cannot say right now. i.e. School Board SLP who works with Johnny’s helped us use songs and clapping or percussion that he loves in order for him to move past the stuttering that occurred last year at this time.
I also wanted to take a moment to let you know a little about Johnny’s that you might not be aware of. Johnny’s has sensory challenges so life can be overwhelming with all the sensory input coming in that he is filtering. He has a very keen sense of hearing so his challenge is he hears every single little thing so at times appears that he is not paying attention but instead is not prioritizing what he is hearing and finds himself behind everyone else processing what he hears. On the other hand I have had him tag along at his sister’s music playgroup and he can keep a drum beat in the midst of preschool age children excitement. He has a big love of classical music specifically Mozart Piano Sonatas and Beethoven Fur Elise. He saw the movie Disney movie Frozen twice with his sister and heard the song “Let It Go” from the movie two times and was singing the main verse so he can learn songs quite quickly. His favourite singer is ******* ***** whose music playgroup he attended when he was little but now has an adult listening acoustic album out.
I was wondering if you could send home the lyrics of any songs that you are teaching in Music class? I think this is a great way for me to help him practice for Music Class as well as work on his own articulation. When School Board SLP is in next feel free to talk to her about Johnny’s and speech and song.
So two weeks after I sent the letter I found a large manilla envelope in Johnny’s bag from the music teacher. He wrote me a very nice letter and included a whole bunch of lyrics to various types of songs he is doing with the children in the class including some special songs to help with increasing Johnny’s gross motor around the mouth and jaw.
Thank you Mister Music Man:)
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