• Good News

    Veiws on Music Therapy, Bottom Up and Many Populations

      In every scenario of music therapy, music therapists are working towards bettering our clients. Music therapy services a wide range of population including mental health, hospice, individuals with autism, trauma issues, traumatic brain injury, and individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. In many cases, we (as a profession) are working from a bottom-up approach meaning we are assessing the…

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    BMMT Collaborator Vlog, Part 2

    Lets hear from her former partner in BMMT Music Therapy learning,  Madison. Madison had gained emplyment in a New Jersey School  before leaving her internship. She proptly took her exam, and due to COVID 19, is waiting to start her employment. However Madison, again, wasted no time and has begun to add to her website (https://gsmts.org/) Garden State Music Therapy…

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    BMMT Collaborator Vlog, Part 1

    BMMT interns have worked together as their internships pleasently overlapped. Bridget and Madison worked with me and came up with the idea for this vlog highlighting the BMMT team’s  thoughts and experiences working with BMMT. This week, hear what Bridget has to say.  

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    Music Therapy’s Universal Truths

           Adaptions have to be made with COVID 19. Alongside Back Mountain Music Therapy, I also am the Music Therapy Clinic Supervisor at Maywood University. When Music Therapy students finish their course- work for their bachelor degree, they then have to do an internship supervised by a certified Music Therapist. Some students intern with private Music Therapy companies,…

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    The Secret Ingredient to Child Engagement

    Does your child have difficulty staying engaged with you? Do they not interact with you at all? Or maybe your child does interact with you, but the interaction is very short? Well, you are not alone! There is a vital step that your child has to take before they can leap into an interaction with you. This secret ingredient is…

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    Great Lessons learned from BMMT Intern

    Back Mountain Music Therapy has continued to grow in it’s practice. We have been very fortunate to have a number of interns to work and learn with. Bridget McCormick is out current intern.Bridget has been with us for a little while and is coming upon the last 1/3rd of her internship. Learn a little about Bridget, ask questions, and in…

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    Music Therapy, Bottom Up Method, Feeding the Senses

    One of the many areas of need worked on during Music Therapy sessions at Back Mountain Music Therapy are sensory processing issues. These issues are often found in people diagnosed with Autism Spectrum disorder, Smith-Magennis Syndrome, Rubinstein-Tayebi Syndrome, Cornelia De Lange Syndrome, Auditory Processing disorder and a host of other developmental syndromes.  Sensory processing disorders affect many basic systems such…

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    The Buisness Grows, Others Speak

    Back Mountain Music Therapy, The Heyward Rooms has moved and grown. We are hosting our 4th intern now and have had 4 subcontractors in the last 3-4 years. The business has stretched its wings, and although we have written mostly about autism, we have always worked with populations with needs beyond the spectrum. It has been very difficult to continue…

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    Goal Attainment Scaling: A Method for Evaluating Progress toward Developmentally Based Music-Centered Treatment Goals for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder JOHN A. CARPENTE,

    Often people think Music Therapy is not “Evidenced Based.” Here is some research on evaluating developmentally-based, music centered treatment goals. I often refer to Dr. Carpente’s website, “Developmental Music Health Services” (http://dmhmusictherapy.com/) for information. Currently, I am being supervised by Dr. Carpente to learn even more. Here is his research on writing and attaining Music Therapy goals for children on…

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    “The Evolution of a Music Therapist” by Kimber Batzel

    Once again, Back Mountain Music Therapy is taking to the internet. The business has been busy and is looking to update. The owner (myself, Antoinette Morrison) has been busy working in schools, seeing private clientele, supervising at Marywood University and mentoring interns that have completed their academic work and are doing their mandatory internship hours before they can sit for…

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    Allowing Clients to Wander

    As business has been expanding and the academic year is well established, an issue that is initially hard for students to understand in a productivity-oriented society, is allowing clients to “wander” in therapy.  There have been times my students have referred to this as clients “being bored”.  My reply is:  “Perhaps, but this is a necessary part of the therapy…

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    Welcome

    Welcome to the exciting re-opening of backmountainmusictherapy.com!  As you can see, I have not completely figured out the new website builder yet, however, I will be taking a new class to learn the intricacies of blogging/website building! Please feel free to click any of the links above for information regarding music therapy.

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    Attention, Attention! Updates to BMMT Website

    Dear Readers, We are pleased to announce the first of our new changes and additions to Back Mountain Music Therapy. The first is our new email contact address: Antoinette.Morrison@BackMountainMusicTherapy.com.  Additionally, we will be soon adding new profile pages to our website including new additions to our team.. Back Mountain Music Therapy is growing and we want to thank all our faithful…

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    Resistance and the ‘Why’ Propelling It

    This week, I had to catch up on a couple of weeks’ worth of notes (not my typical routine) for one of my clients, an adult with intellectual disabilities. Fortunately, I had been video-recording his sessions and could replay them back. I have a little break right now in-between contracts, and it was a rainy day at home anyway. The…

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    Pause Before the Climb

    Hello once again to those of you who have been patient and persistent enough not to unsubscribe me from your mailbox despite my long silence. The Marywood Music Therapy Department has continued to grow and amidst its growth, it’s wonderfully progressive Music Therapy Director, Dr. Anita Gadberry, has moved on to University of North Dakota. Such a loss for the…

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    The Process, Having a Keen Eye

    Hello to all my faithful readers!  It has been almost a year since my last blog writing and reflecting on the many months, I thought that this was the most appropriate subject to come back with. Last fall, an unexpected job opened up which I applied for and subsequently filled as Coordinator and Supervisor of the Music Therapy clinic at…

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    The Importance of Clear and Specific Documentation

          Sometimes we need to be patient with ourselves and then extend this virtue to our clientele in order for progress to develop. In the midst of this, our documentation and education of those we work with and their families needs to be very specific and clear. If everyone has a clear expectation, not only does progress occur…

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    Do You Have to Go Back to Work Now?

      Previously, I have focused my writings on actually enjoying what one does and how important that is in therapy. This week I thought I would go back to one of my own daily stories about this. I very recently began a new summer contract with preschool children with special needs. I knew before arriving that this age and population…

  • Good News

    The “Just Right Challenge” and Building Trust

    In last week’s blog, I wrote about the importance of active participation. When an individual is actively participating in an activity, something that is done by their choosing, and is motivated, not only is their enthusiasm and focus increased, but also their motivation and control. An individual will continue to engage in this way if the activity challenges them just…

  • Good News

    The Importance of “Active Participation”, “Whistle While You Work”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kE1LsYATBRY   Last week I spoke about the significance of intrinsic motivation. This is important not just for children on the spectrum, but for all. This week, I would like to write about the significance of “active participation.”  Lets begin with a definition of “active participation.” When I looked up the definition, this is what I found: the involvement, either…

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    Why Intrinsic Motivation is Important?

      I think on an intuitive level, all can agree on the importance of an activity being intrinsically motivating. But why, why is it important? To begin, we all know, that it is almost effortless to engage in an activity that we truly enjoy. We seek out those activities, healthy activities, that we are good at, that make us feel…

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    Connecting the Dots

      I recently read a post on differing approaches to working with autism that is not exposed to parents and caretakers. As I commented on the post, it got me thinking about the fact that autism, like anything else in a family, affects the whole family.  Autism by its nature not only isolates the child, but also many times the…

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    Using What Already Exists to Facilitate Growth and Development

      I spotted an article written by another Music Therapist entitled “Music Therapists Do It Differently,” by Rachel Norman (http://soundscapemusictherapy.com/2013/10/14/music-therapists-do-it-differently/ )  The article is about how when walking by a Music Therapy room it may only look like people are having fun, playing, or singing along with the music, but there is much more going on than meets the eye.…

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    Change Through Music

      This week, Music Therapy once again exhilarated and moved me. However, this week I was only the observer, not the one conducting the session. I remembered being a college student and going away to the regional Music Therapy conferences, and for a few days, being away from the academic responsibilities, not yet being a Music Therapist, and listening to…

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    Moving Rhythm Forward at an Appropriate Rate

      There are several elements of music that Music Therapists employ in order to meet and accompany our clients in movement forward. This week, the element of rhythm and its importance in forward movement seemed to be a theme for my week.  All of life happens in a rhythm, appropriate for the situation: night to day, season to season, and…

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    Music and Autism: Are They Relate-able?

    Does music help a child relate to others? How can music help us relate to others?  I noticed an article by Oliver Sacks this week that was very relevant to my thoughts on the subject. The article “The Musical Brain: Novel Study of Jazz Players Shows Common Brain Circuitry Process in Both Music, Language” essentially talks about the brain and…

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    Is It What Music Helps Us To Let Go Of??

      Last week, after writing my blog, I asked my son to edit it before he left for school. He said, “Sure, but would you get my guitar first?” I thought he was going to take it to school, so I asked if he needed his case. He replied, “No, I need it so I don’t freak out.” Now, those of…

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    Intrinsically Motivating Experience

      Imagine a world where we asked our kids to do something and they did it right away, happily and without reserve or complaint. As parents, teachers or other authority figures, there are days where one may wonder, is this even possible? Is it possible that kids can move forward and take care of responsibility independently because they want to…

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    Obvious or Subtle Progress?

    I  was talking with a college this week about client progress and how sometimes what is visible to onlookers is instantly and so radically different than what is typically portrayed by a client, and at other times, progress is happening more internally and one has to look closer at finer details (body posture, intensity of eye contact, etc). Then, when…

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    Emotions Unleashed?

    Sometimes, in therapy, there is a display of unpleasant emotions. Sometimes this is exactly what is needed, and other times this could have been handled differently, so that processing of the events happening could have been understood or much needed connections made. When therapy is new, yet inexperienced situation, especially with smaller children, crying and tantruming can happen because of…

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    Listening First

    As a Music therapist, I believe one of the most important skills one needs is to be a very good listener. And when we are done listening, we need to listen some more, at a deeper level. What do I mean by this? Let me give a couple of examples. One time, while working with a group of young teen…

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    Music Therapy, Accompaniment

      This year’s theme for the American Music Therapy Associations Social Media Advocacy month is   This year’s theme is “We are . . . ”  centering on exploring and honoring our identity as music therapists and as a distinct and stand-alone profession, unique from other professions and professionals with which we work.  At my studio, since coming back from the…

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    “We are…MUSIC THERAPISTS!”

    Hello once again to the readers of Back Mountain Music Therapy’s Newsletter!  I had taken some time for the holidays to spend with friends and family and then get organized to work again.  The AMTA  (American Association of Music Therapy) has begun their yearly “Social Media Advocacy Month” of which I am proud to participate in.  This year’s theme is…

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    Music and Social-Ability

      Often this time of year, if you go to a Christmas party there is music playing in the background to enhance the mood. If you go to a concert, there are two parts: the audience and the performers. Although most everyone’s focus is the same, depending on the concert types, there are performers playing, singing, and/or dancing, and the…

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    School, Cognitive Skill, and Relatability

      I do not know if many other Music Therapists share this dilemma with me, but often when I see a client or child that is referred for a particular reason and time goes by and the need becomes met, when the client continues to have needs that are not as flashing red-light obvious, I begin to feel a little…

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    More on Mirror Neurons

      After the Thanksgiving feast with friends and family and then our annual Black Friday shop-til-you-drop marathon, Saturday was time to get back to work. I was reading some fascinating comments after the last mirror neuron blog and some suggested articles from faithful readers when my first client arrived. With mirror neurons fresh on my mind, I worked with a…

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    Music, Speech and Mirror Neurons

      This week as I worked with my client, who was a victim of a brain injury, I was struck by the intensity of her watchfulness as we sang a children’s tune together, pronouncing letter sounds. When I see this client start to fade the specific mouth movements in singing words, I employ this song. Firstly, it is a children’s…

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    Being Aware of What is Inside

      Recently, my family got a dog from the SPCA. I began to think, a therapy dog might a nice compliment to my therapy business. I decided to take my new dog, Charlie, to a trainer. Upon arrival, the trainer told me he was going to teach me about how I conduct myself with the dog (not teach the dog)…

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    Avenues of Hope and Health

    http://phdinspecialeducation.com/groups-activities/ This week I was thrilled to hear from Sarah Paulson, who notified me that Back Mountain Music Therapy would be featured in PhDinSpecialEducation.com. I was excited about the exposure of my business, but also grateful to be classified along with other businesses associated with the well-being of those in need of special education. It seems to me that quite…

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    Jumping In

      Recently, I have had clients make progress in the area of verbally relating to others. The two cases were completely different sets of circumstances, but both clients were headed towards similar areas of health. How is this possible? Most everything in life happens step-by-step. Most every change that we make ourselves in life that lasts happens over a continuum,…

  • Good News

    Music Therapy – In Relationship

        Last week I wrote about “The Jack in the Box Effect.”  (https://backmountainmusictherapy.com/2013/10/music-play-recipe-to-override-developmental-delays/).   This demonstrates how infants learn about the world and how to react to it by watching their mothers.  The blog talked about 93% of communication being non verbal and only 7% being verbal. Usually, when engaged in my Music Therapy sessions, my attention is on…

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    Music + Play = Recipe to Override Developmental Delays

      This weekend I attended a conference entitled “Considering Musical Dimensions in Relationship-Based Work” at Molloy College. All of what was presented there was relevant to all of my work and very timely for this portion of my blog on play, particularly the evidence presented by non-musical clinical developmental psychologist Dr. Gerry Costa from Montclair  University. In the presentation, he…

  • Good News

    To”Play” Music: A Literal Phrase

      The best part about play is that there is no right or wrong way. Sometimes aid or assistance try to help by saying things like, “You were supposed to…”, but play is devoid of perfection. This means anyone can do it and it is all okay. This week, as the group of musically untrained emotionally unstable boys joined in…

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    Playing, Freeing the Mind, and Being Oneself

        This week, even the typically developing teens with whom I work demonstrated their very best through play. Their up and down turbulence took a detour, but stayed on a path with direction. these teens did so freely, together, and when they were done were able to recognize their own accomplishments through their play. I think our biggest obstacle…

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    First Words Through Play

        The boy is now more motivated than ever. The structure of the predictable repeated tune holds his attention as he sees what else HE can do with it. Now his attention to the world around him absorbs him. There is a need or him to be heard. Over time, the boy begins pointing adamantly, as if to say…

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    To Play: The Process and Progress

    Play is literally defined as “without seriousness, to take part or engage in a game” (dictionary.com), the operative phrase being “to take part or engage.” When an unstructured 2 or 3-year-old enters the Music Therapy room with no direction and wanders from thing to thing, moving about like a whirlwind, leaves behind a path of chaos and is not engaged…

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    Play, Imagination, and Critical Thinking

    Currently, in most academic fields with young children, the emphasis on “academics” has increased. It is a very good thing that we can now see the capabilities of very young children and can begin when a child is young with the right approach to point a lifetime attitude towards learning into a much more positive one. However, the downside is…

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    Going Through to the Other Side

      Most all the time the clients that come to my studio are excited to come, smiling as they enter, and often run down the hallway to the Music Therapy room. I like the facilitation of development to occur naturally, unstressed, and to flow ahead. However, there are times whens smiling, excited faces don’t happen, when there is crying and…

  • Good News

    Validating Through Music – Part 3

      Sometimes part of the process of helping a child progress is validating that they are okay right where they are presently, even though where they are may be seen by statistics, norms, or by others as below the bar.  Sometimes a child that hugs the safety of the known needs a little nudging.  Other times, a child does not…

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    Validating Through Music: Part 2

      Last week’s example of validating through music is vastly different from this week’s. Last week, validation was done at a sensory level, where that child is presently. This week’s examples are initially made at verbal, cognitive, and emotional levels, backed up and made more alive through music. In working with a group of performing teens, all with their own…

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    3 Part Series: Validating a Child through Music

      I recently read an article by Southeast Psych entitled “Verbally Validate to Help Kids Manage Their Emotions” (http://blog.southeastpsych.com/?p=5001) which made me think, “Wow, We do that on a regular basis at a very deep level, which goes beyond words in music.” If one were to make a generalized slice through the brain, and generalized it from the outer brain…

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    The Grumpy Guitar

    This is a true story. As I discussed this situation, I thought immediately that I should be writing this down. I have a young adult client named TJ. I also have an old guitar in my studio. I’m not exactly sure where it came from, probably a relative whose attic needed cleaning. I took the nearly useless guitar, thinking that…

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    Processing – The Space Between the Notes

      Unfortunately, without machines there is no scientific way of measuring processing, at least not that I  know of. We have to use our own human observance skills and become familiar with the signs. It is most definitely the space between the notes; unseen, unheard movement forward. It is a little bit like when you know someone well enough and…

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    Music Helping to Make Sense of Sound

        This was a very hectic week, with many cancellations and rescheduling of appointments due to Memorial Day, Baccalaureate Mass, graduation, state volleyball playoffs, and an elementary school fire. In the middle of the week, I began to think about what I was going to write about for this blog. I wasn’t even sure what day it was! Towards…

  • Good News

    Parents, Professionals, and Diagnoses

        My last article was a little reflection on my own daughter and music, my gifts, and “my wish.” In my conversations in recent weeks with parents of clients, I wanted to write a little on professional dealings with parents. Last week, you got a glimpse of one of the “twinkles in my eye.” In conversations with parents, we…

  • Good News

    “My Wish”

        My sincere apologies to all my faithful subscribers, until recently, I have put out a newsletter weekly. I  have acquired some new work and have two children graduating this year, which has required my presence at many different functions. In light of that fact, I thought I would give you a glimpse of how music functions in our…

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    Avoidance vs. Seeing it Through

          When a child, or for that matter, an adult, devises an unhealthy or negative behavior and utilizes it to get what they think they want or gain control, what do we do? What happens afterward? What is the end result? First we have to know what it is that the child really wants. If we give what…

  • Good News

    Asking Why And Honoring All That One Can Give

      I have written many articles on subjects such as developing children’s strengths  https://backmountainmusictherapy.com/2013/03/the-amazing-power-of-building-on-a-childs-strength/  , achieving regulation,   https://backmountainmusictherapy.com/2012/11/part-4-achieving-self-regulation/ ,  significance in an individual’s development    https://backmountainmusictherapy.com/2012/04/recognizing-development-and-its-significance-in-each-individual/ , and sensory integration  https://backmountainmusictherapy.com/2011/11/sensory-integration-meeting-the-need/   .  On a day-to-day basis in my professional work, I have frequently been complimented on the degree of patience others have noticed.  Most times, I truly have not felt like I…

  • Good News

    Rhythm as a Healing Element

          Last week I talked about rhythm – the most basic element of music – and how we are born to live rhythmically. We are born with a basic beat, a heartbeat, and live our lives at regular intervals, minute to minute, hour by hour, day and night, month to month, year to year. Rhythm sets us up…

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    Rhythm: The Element of Movement

        After taking a coarse from Christine Stevens entitled “Music Medicine”, one of the concepts brought up in her coarse specifically, I had begun to look at , ignited reflection on the work I do, the concept of rhythm. Rhythm- the measurement of pulse, a regular scheduled timing of continuous sound and silence, movement and rest. Rhythm, the element…

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    The Importance of the “Rest”

        Recently, I have been concerned with my client “Frankie.” Concerned because I haven’t been seeing outward growth behavior demonstrated. “Frankie” is so intensely connected to the music that after sixty minutes, when I put the guitar away, he runs screeching because it is being put down. I see progress, then often no outward demonstrating behaviors, quiet, and stillness-…

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    The Benefits of Drumming

          The wonderful thing about a drum is that there are no wrong notes. This makes playing successful to anyone who tries it. Who would ever think that giving some drums to a small group of chaotic, unfocused, hyper children could actually pull their attention together and help increase their social skills. Knowing that children automatically speed up…

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    Why I Love Music Therapy

        Many things happened on this quiet snowy Martin Luther King Jr. Day. My husband left for work, and my oldest son for college.  My younger son was still sleeping, not yet starting his schedule of activities, and my daughter at an overnight. I had the choice today to start out and go to my first session, or wait…

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    Guest Post: How Music Can Be Therapeutic To Kids With Special Needs

    Music Therapy Advocacy month has arrived! As part of this community this weeks post is written by guest blogger Naomi Esterely.  Naomi Esterly is a stay-at-home mom to two rambunctious, yet adorable, little boys and a newborn baby girl.  In her spare time she balances writing freelance for 1800Wheelchair.Com and coaching her community’s little league. As society has evolved, so…

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    Music Therapy Advocacy Month, Changing A Life

          Introduction: Advocacy –> Recognition –> Access Since 2005, the American Music Therapy Association and the Certification Board for Music Therapists have collaborated on a State Recognition Operational Plan. The primary purpose of this plan is to get music therapy and our MT-BC credential recognized by individual states so that citizens can  more easily access our services. The…

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    Part 3: Eliciting Speech

    Back to my mantra: watch the child. Let the child direct and the therapist/parent/teacher support. Even if they child is not giving sound, one can support movement or even breathing with sound. Repeated sound, as I had spoken about in the previous blog (https://backmountainmusictherapy.com/2012/12/where-to-start-control-of-oral-movements/), sometimes gives structure to a child’s irrelevant, chaotic, seemingly impulsive behavior. Structure is a pathway to…

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    5 Part Series – Music and Speech

    Why does music make speech so accessible? Why are there so many stories about nonverbal clients (aphasic, apraxic, stroke victims, autistic, etc.) singing when they can’t speak a word? Why is Music Therapy so valuable to those who have difficulty with spoken language? Why is Music Therapy such a value to the autistic community? Although I am not a speech…

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    Part 4: Achieving Self-Regulation

    I have written about self-regulation several times and have given a couple of visual examples on video. This week in my series on Music Therapy I hope to connect some of the dots. I have often talked in my newsletters about the humanistic approach in which I believe wholeheartedly. Although Music Therapy is “evidence-based”, I tend to avoid that term…

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    Part 3: Music, the Organizing Tool

    The last two weeks I have talked about music therapy and attentiveness to our clients. Today I want to expand and talk about the results of these combined subjects, mainly the organization they help our clients to develop. As we promote music therapy as a nonthreatening medium, we often talk about how the qualities of music help to: captivate and…

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    Autism; The Key to Self Regulation and Engagement

    This week, I continued my thoughts from last week; to Support What is Given and Give Structure. Previously, I had trouble with my client “Frank”, staying engaged and wanting to leave the room. In my anxiety about this, I continually kept presenting new material to “Frank.” Last week’s blog (https://backmountainmusictherapy.com/2012/09/support-what-is-given/) presented a video clip of Frank staying and briefly engaging…

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    Support What Is Given , Then Give It Structure

    I have written on “The Importance of Giving Processing It’s Own Time” https://backmountainmusictherapy.com/2012/09/the-importance-of-giving-processing-its-own-time/ , but this week one particular example displayed a reason I had not yet considered. I have 2 severely autistic clients that are brothers. The younger “Eddie” appears to have slightly more difficulty with sensory issues. When he gets frustrated, it is very visible and unpleasant. He…

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    Feeding The Senses, The Key To Treasure Yet To Develop

    I had waited on this blog, unsure what to write. I had had a huge success this week. Last year, when I wrote “Don’t give Up On Speech!” (https://backmountainmusictherapy.com/2011/10/dont-give-up-on-speech/), although all the non-verbal children I had worked with had progressed from no speech to beginnings of speech, to labeling and even complete sentences, I had one exception. This week as…

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    “Teach” Very Little, Listen A Lot, Then Facilitate

    This week I read two articles that made an impact on me. One was about “Deep Listening,” and the other was “Autism and the Expected-Unexpected Social Thinking Vocabulary” (http://www.autismsupportnetwork.com/news/autism-and-expected-unexpected-social-thinking-vocabulary-2782942). Earlier this week, I also had a conversation with my son, a high school senior who is taking an AP Psychology coarse. He was telling me about a discussion they had…

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    4 Steps in Motivating Learning in Autistic Children

    I have often heard teachers or therapists’s ask the question, “what motivates her?” or “I can’t find anything that motivates him.” Well stop looking, it is found. It is usually being demonstrated when the child is left to his own devices. The answer is 1) watch, 2) listen, 3) mirror, and 4) watch again. Watch and see what the child…

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    Communication

    This week I thought I would keep the writings short and give a little visual commentary. I think when it comes to the communicative abilities of music, as Victor Wooten said, “In some instances, music works better than the spoken word because it doesn’t need to be understood to be effective.” This last week I had the wonderful experience of…

  • Good News

    11 steps in Developing Your Sensory Intuitiveness!

    Last week, I wrote about listening in order to figure out the information that either we have not been given concerning the children we work with or finding the clues that we need to progress (https://backmountainmusictherapy.com/2012/08/what-to-do-with-missing-pieces/). Someone asked me if I thought that was a skill one could develop, or if it came from years of experience in working. Like…