Monday, October 29, 2007

Piggy Back Songs

This discussion about Piggy Back Songs is an Autism Games Web Site preview. This Friday, I will post a new Autism Games page, all about using music with children who have ASD. The upcoming music page was written by a Guest Contributor, Dr. Susan Larson Kidd. Even her name sounds fun, doesn't it? I hope this blog will spark your interest in more information about using music with your child.

The first time I heard about Piggy Back Songs was from another wonderful special educator, Speech & Language Pathologist, Marty Hesselroth. She could sing and she did sing as she worked with preschool children, often making up wonderful lyrics to preschool songs right on the spot. Everyone around her was happier because she sang, and her young students learned new words and new word combinations this way.

The good thing about putting new words to old music is this. Most of us are more able to make up new words than we are able to make up new melodies. Sometimes the new words are better than the original words--for our purposes. "The Farmer picks a wife" is just not that helpful to building a basic language system. Who needs to say that? I am not sure if "Hi Ho the Dairyo" was ever a useful phrase but what would the song be without it?

Used as a refrain after "Mommy combs your hair, mommy combs your hair, Hi Ho the Dairyo, Mommy combs your hair" the song becomes useful for teaching language. This song can be useful in other ways too. If you stop combing hair at the end of the verse, the song marks time--letting your child, who may not so much like hair combing, know how long hair combing will last. Even if your child does not like hair grooming, singing the song may bring your child willingly to the activity--signalling the beginning in a way that your child can accept.

"Amy doesn't like it, Amy doesn't like it, Hi Ho the Dairyo, Amy doesn't like it" allows Amy to express her feelings.

"Daddy thinks she's pretty, Daddy thinks she's pretty, Hi Ho the Dairyo, Daddy thinks she's pretty" helps Amy develop self-awareness, self-esteem, a relationship with Daddy.

"Amy picks a hair tie, Amy picks a hair tie, Hi Ho the Dairyo, Amy picks a hair tie" helps Amy learn to make a choice, participate in morning grooming routine.

"Amy's hair is done, Amy's hair is done, Hi Ho the Dairyo, Amy's hair is done!" helps give the hair routine a clear ending.

The clip above is not actually a Piggy Back Song, but it is a bit of musical fun that I found on You Tube by another talented educator Febielin: Get a Haircut

1 comment:

Niksmom said...

This is wonderful! I already do this with my son; must be the desperate mom musician in me! LOL This post helps me see how I can do it even more purposefully with Nik. Thanks for another great post!