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Showing posts from September, 2011

What A Difference A Week Makes...

Last week stunk. There is no other word for the funk that I was in that was caused by work, or by the aspartame, or by the moon, or... Anyway, this week is MUCH better! I stopped drinking the Crystal Light. I made an effort to avoid the people who drive me crazy (A.S.P. - my new campaign...I may post about this at some point), and I tried to think positive thoughts all the time. Aaah, the power of the positive thought. I think positive thinking is often highly underrated. There is power to thinking about the good in things. The is forcing me to budget more carefully. The allergies...the medication makes me feel sleepy so I am sleeping well. Co-workers' opportunity to focus on my role in the facility. Broken opportunity to challenge myself with my piano skill development. There. Go out and think positively. It made a world of difference for me.

Leaving It All Behind

The work week is over. Thank all that is good in this world that the week is over. This week presented me with many challenges. First, a teacher didn't bother to communicate with me that his class would be 20 minutes late to music therapy. I waited and left because they weren't where they were supposed to be. He arrived a bit later and announced that they were NOW ready for me. I told him that I cleaned up and left because they hadn't arrived. He started yelling at me that I was denying his students their IEP-based right to music therapy. He didn't like it a bit when I informed him that music therapy is not on any student's IEP at my facility. He stormed off to tell the principal. Second...the principal. There aren't many people that I just cannot work with, but unfortunately, she is one of these people. She informed me that I needed to "give the teacher his planning time." I couldn't believe that her concern was not for the students but

Seeing the Entire Picture

Things are not often what they seem at first glance. This thought is just as true in the therapy setting as it is in any other situation or circumstance. This week has been an example of looking deeper into situations that are one thing at first glance, but are something else entirely at the second glance. I have the privilege of being a music therapist at a psychiatric residential treatment facility for children and adolescents ages 5-22. It is part of a larger program that offers educational and residential services for persons with developmental delays and disabilities from infancy to age 3 and ages 5 to end-of-life. (We do not serve kids from 3-5 due to an educational mandate in our state.) Kids come to my music therapy room with a variety of letters put very carefully into Axis boxes. Axis I diagnoses are often from the world of psychiatry. Axis II diagnoses are often developmental in nature, and Axis III diagnoses are other health diagnoses. It is not uncommon for a

Finding Your Way

This weekend I have been contemplating my choice of population. I have been remembering the path that I took during my 19 years of music therapy practice to the people that I serve. I was always a person who people were drawn to. I spent lots of time with my mother when I was little in her role as an Occupational Therapist. I spent time in nursing homes, in schools for children with physical disabilities, and around folks with exceptionalities. Children with developmental disabilities would find me in large crowds of people and would follow me around. I was destined to be a therapist, right? Now, as I was growing up, I knew I would be in a helping profession. I enjoyed being a Sunday School teacher, a Girl Scout, a camp counselor, a babysitter, a teacher's aide, you name it. If it involved children or volunteering to be around people, I was there. I met kids in the special education classes in my junior high, I played with a little boy with Down Syndrome at a pool party, a

Paying Attention

Today, September 11, 2011, is the tenth anniversary of the world trade center bombings. There has been absolutely NO WAY you could escape that fact here in the States. This has been a good thing and a bad thing.  I remember where I was when I heard about the incidents that happened on September 11th. I was in my old music therapy room at my current facility when the school secretary entered the room in a flurry. She told me that the world trade center had been bombed. (Information was a bit spotty in a place with limited internet exposure and no television access - she got her information from the country music station that she could listen to in her room. My room did not pick up many radio stations.) My first response was a simple thought of "again?" The world trade center had been bombed before. As I heard more about what had happened, my thoughts were varied. I went through dismay, surprise, fear, anger, and disgust. (The disgust was from all of the people here in Ka


This week has been a week of thinking. Now, just to warn you, my thoughts are not always nicely organized, but they are what they are. Be prepared for a bunch of randomness as ideas bubble to the surface of my brain and out onto the blog... Abstract concepts are difficult to teach to persons with developmental disabilities. I don't know how many times interns have done the "Play how you feel" therapeutic musical experience just to see it crash and burn as clients play the same way for all emotions. I wish we (we being all of us teachers and supervisors) would stop using this as an example of something to do with adolescents. NOT ALL ADOLESCENTS GET IT! There are SOOO many other good things that adolescents can and will do. Let's stop beating the emotion horse in this particular manner... I watched The King's Speech last night. I know I am one of the few people who didn't watch it in the theater, but I am glad that I didn't go to the theater to watch

Today in my Music Therapy Room...

This morning started off with a typical first-day-of-the-week thought..."What am I going to do with my students today?" When I left home to go to the car for my commute, the weather was crisp and cool - a typical autumn day here in Kansas. Inspiration struck! An autumn song would be just the thing! So, then I spent the commuting time thinking about how and what an autumn song would be. I finally decided that we would do an Orff improvisation using fall words. Now, here are the things that I had to consider this morning. Tuesday's clients are mainly verbal, ambulatory, and more involved on the psychiatric spectrum than on the developmental spectrum. They, as a large group, have difficulties with abstract concepts, so starting an improvisation based on words is not often a successful idea. Today it worked. I started the session with the opening song that I use often and then asked clients to choose Orff instruments. They then had to assemble the instrument -


I spent a bunch of time in a medication haze this week, so things kinda got away from me. Here are some updates to what happened in my music therapy room this week... This week we used novelty instruments. These are the instruments that I keep in the far back reaches of my cabinets. They are assorted shakers, loud obnoxious instruments, and things that are not easily replaced. I bring them out infrequently since one instrument gets broken every session. We played these instruments, tried everything out, checked long-term memory with Kim's Game , and practiced our social skills when it was time to trade. My individual sessions were very good this week. I had to discontinue treatment for one young woman who no longer participates in music therapy interventions. She has decided that music is a time to engage in inappropriate sexual stimulation. I can now use her time for a student who will participate. All of my other individuals really started to click this week. I had approache