LETTER FROM SENSATIONAL KIDS DIRECTOR SHARON WATTS:
Hello, We at Sensational Kids are so excited to receive the generous donation of MP3 players, headphones, and chargers from Music Is Our Weapon! Our children with Autism will benefit from this increased access to music in a variety of ways:
Calming Strategy – Music can help regulate children who are overwhelmed, over-stimulated, or agitated. Optimally, this is a preventative strategy that would be learned to use proactively. For example, when a child is upset or agitated, he can request his headphones and alone time, which help him regulate and de-escalates the situation.
Enhance Verbalizations – Many individuals with autism are motivated by music. Some essentially non-verbal children vocalize the most through music. Valeria, is a seven-year old girl who is the most verbal when she sings parts of songs, usually from Disney movies. By listening to her favorite music, it is enhancing her ability to verbalize and giving her power to use her voice.
Participating in Community or Family Events – Some individuals with autism have great difficulty staying with the group at restaurants or other social outings. Having headphones with motivating music to listen to can help distract them, while still allowing them a chance to participate.
Motor Sequencing – Individuals with autism benefit from therapy helping them with sequencing for activities of daily living. To be able to understand how to program the MP3 players, make playlists, and operate them is a great step towards independence. Vaughn, a 13 year-old boy with Asperger’s, is looking forward to making his playlist.
Variation in Interests – Many individuals with autism have limited interests, only wanting to engage in one or two leisure activities. Having exposure to another activity can expand their interests, resulting in more social opportunities and less rigidity.
Listening Therapy – Some individuals with autism become very agitated when hearing loud sounds such as vacuums or sirens. One therapy technique, known as Listening Therapy, or Auditory Integration Therapy, can be used to help children desensitize their hearing so that they are able to tolerate louder sounds.
We can’t wait to show you all the ways our Sensational Kids are using the MP3 players! Thank you!
Sharon Watts, MS, CCC-SLP
Dorali Garcia, OTR
Nayra Anzaldua, MS, CCC-SLP
STAYED TUNED FOR UPDATES AS THIS PROJECT PROGRESSES!