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Showing posts from July, 2009
Camping I'm going to camp tomorrow. This camp is for children and adolescents on the Autism Spectrum. While I have worked with kids on the spectrum for many years, and while I have camped in all types of situations, I have never combined the two experiences. I am thrilled and VERY excited about going to camp this summer.I leave tomorrow morning for the 4-day, 3-night camp. I am lugging craft supplies, visual file folders, musical instruments, my digital camera, and my equipment for the week. I have been assigned to "assist" the music therapists who will be running sessions. This will be an experience. I have difficulty "assisting" and will have to remain in the role of "assistant" while taking pictures. I am in charge of sensory stimulation, assisting with field games, and leading arts and crafts.Camp has always been the best environment for me. I've been to day camp, overnight camp, survival camp, science camp, church camp, and snow camp. I have a…
Refreshment 'Tis the season for school therapists who get to work an extended school year to rest and rejuvenate. So, here is my time to relax. Now, I have a VERY strong work ethic, so I relax for a bit of time and then get back to work. I slept all of today, but now am ready to start problem solving and getting things ready for my next challenges.I am now faced with a change in treatement philosophy for one group of students at the school where I am the therapist. While the new philosophy is not all that new for the Autism community, it is VERY new for the teachers that I work with on a daily basis. They are excited and are trying to incoporate my treatment into their new format. This is fine, but there are some things that will not work within the format easily that I have to adapt to make music therapy effective for their students.I like this process of working through a potential problem until it is not a problem any longer. By the end of my Fall break, I will probably have a s…
We Evolve or We Die
There has recently been lots of controversy in some music therapy circles about how things are not being done the way that the circles would like to see. This is generally in the form of complaints about the national association and includes discussions about advocacy, protection of perceived professional "rights," and the "Us vs. Them" mentality that still figures in the now united, formally split association. One of the things that struck me as interesting was the perception that the association should drop everything to address my needs on my schedule. If I have a complaint, it needs to be addressed immediately!
This has started me thinking, which is never a good sign. I wonder if it is possible for any professional organization to be all things to all people. I know that it is impossible for any person to be all things to all people. Why do we expect our association to be able to cater to our every whim? Having said this, I find that the assoc…
Summer School Sonnet The heat is strong, the students are playing,Sounds in the hallways echo through the air,Teachers are working, their students complaining,About the work which won't go anywhere.Music room down at the end of the hallLends melody to the school atmosphereDrumming and singing and that is not allPiano playing is what you hear here.All people counting the days and the weekUntil the end of the extended yearLooking for solitude, quiet they seek,The end of the session is drawing near.Fourteen more days until two blessed weeks.Refreshment, renewal, and rest we seek.
Musical Preferences I love learning about others' musical preferences. It fascinates me what folks like and why. The extramusical associations are wonderful and enrich my own experience of musical selections. I often ask why someone likes a song, and there is always a story.Personally, I am a lyric-centric person. The musical structure grabs my attention, but the lyrics are what pull me in. For me, the poetry of the song is just as important as the music. I do love music without lyrics as well, but songs are my favorite.I thrill to the Beach Boys because they sing about familiar places - all of the beaches that I spent time on during my youth. I love Chicago's eighties music because the words illustrated many situations in my life. I thrill to Andrew Lloyd Webber's musicals - all of them - for those moments of emotion that suck me in and keep me there. I can only listen to or watch The Phantom of the Opera every so often since I end up in thrall around The Point of No Retur…
Disappointment The big event in my fall break is camp. I have volunteered for a camp for kids with diagnoses on the Autism Spectrum. When I heard about the camp, they were asking for a music therapist to lead the big campfire. I volunteered and was told that, in addition to the campfire, I would be in charge of music therapy, arts and crafts, and sensory experiences. I was up for the challenge and ready to go.Last night was orientation. Imagine my suprise when I found that I was going to "assist" with music therapy rather than lead it. As that was not AT ALL my expectations, I had to do some quick mental rearranging. In one fell swoop, I went from being the therapist to being the aide. The kicker,...no one bothered to mention that I was no longer in charge of that portion of things until I saw it on the schedule. Then, I felt like such a dink for asking if I needed to plan to lead therapy. The camp director looked at me with surprise on her face and offered a session on Satur…
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When a therapist has to serve others first...
This week, we received word that one of our clients had passed away. For some music therapists, this is a more common occurrence, but for us, it is a rare occasion. This young man had severe multiple disabilities and had stopped breathing several times in his short life. He had always responded to resucitation in the past, but this time the episode was undetected. We heard on Monday morning at the beginning of the school day.
I was bringing another student into the classroom from the bus. The support service staff get kids off the buses in the morning and take them to class. I walked into the class with the student to find all three of the staff hysterically sobbing. They had just found out about his death. The students, all of whom have multiple disabilities, were just sitting where they were, waiting for staff members to come and interact with them.
I helped out, getting kids ready for breakfast, fielding questions from others about why sta…
The Art of Listening This week I have had to do lots of listening. I have been listening to co-workers as the grieve the loss of a student, listening to interns as they work on their relationship with each other, listening to my family as they are off on an adventure that they want to share with me, 1500 miles away. The act of listening is not easy. It is an art.I was taught to listen (as well as many other things) by Sandy Rudder, now a Ph.D. Apparently, I was part of her dissertation project - an assertiveness training program for 6th grade girls. My parents thought that I was a good subject - I had some difficulties making friends and sticking up for myself - the products of many moves in few years - so I was pulled out of class to attend assertiveness training.I remember lots of things that occurred during that time. I have used it many times over my years. The things that I use everyday, however, are the tips on listening. Here are as many as I can remember:Active listening means …