Thursday, October 18, 2007

Sing for Your Child

Today, Amy was less than enthusiastic about my ideas in our therapy session. Because nothing else seemed to capture her interest, I began to sing about a toy. I am being generous when I claim to have been singing. I stretched out the vowels and kind of piggybacked on some tune that I sort of remembered. "Amy wants the yellow car, yellow car, yellow car. Amy wants the yellow car. Here it is." I then handed Amy a yellow taxi--a refrigerator magnet which makes noise when you push a button. Amy took it and pushed the button and listened with interest to the sound of a car screeching, crashing into something and then a guy with a New Jersey accent saying "Where to?" The toy was too compelling because Amy pushed the button over and over. I wanted to move on. So I did some more singing.

Since I always have a parent right beside me in therapy, I hate singing because I am embarrassed by my lack of skill. But the problem is, singing works. Amy, the world class expert at ignoring what she is not interested in, chimed right in when I started to sing about the next magnet. "Amy wants the....." I paused. Amy looked over my magnet collection and sang "Duck". I gave her the quacking duck refrigerator magnet. Pretty soon, Amy was singing the whole song and asking for the magnets by name one after another. "Amy wants the radio, radio, radio. Amy wants the radio" Amy sang "Here it is!" I added-which is a dumb ending and I can see why Amy left that part off.

Singing is magic. Singing establishes Joint Attention when nothing else will. If you have not already done so, you have to try singing as an attention getting , vocabulary teaching, interaction sustaining, humiliating but worth it therapy strategy. It is even better if you can actually sing because then it is not humiliating. It is also good if you can quickly think of words that rhyme.


Niksmom said...

Singing is indeed magic. It is one of the biggest motivators for my non-verbal son, Nik! We sing songs for specific activities, transitions, about people...all kinds of things. Well, ok, I sing and Nik merely responds (most of the time anyway). He will join in with finger play or hand clapping as he is able (limited fine motor skills still so finger play is not "precise"), and I hear him humming and "singing" all day long.

Jordan said...

I sing constantly in my therapy sessions! Especially with my kids who are not yet verbal, it really captures their attention and I believe it's a great tool for learning new words and concepts - in addition to getting more engagement going, of course!

Anonymous said...

I think many therapists and parents don't realize how much we sing to our kids/patients. It is wonderful for language development as well as for motivation. It's amazing how easy it is to change the words of simple songs to incorporate into therapy sessions and everyday activities.