Dr. Stephen Shore says, “If you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism”. As a teacher of a classroom of six elementary-aged students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), I teach students with unique communication modalities, social skills, interests, and aversions. One area that they all have in common- a love of music. Music therapy has impacted my classroom of kindergarten and first grade students with ASD in so many positive ways. Over the several months that Ms. Daneyelle has been working with our class, I have noticed improvements in communication skills, social skills, sensory regulation, and motor skills. These skills generalize to the classroom and home environments. I have heard many parents report their excitement that their child is singing at home with them! Not to mention, we have had heard the soft sound of “Five Green and Speckled Frogs” and many others at the playground while the children are playing.

Many of my students are emerging communicators, learning to communicate their basic wants and needs. Just last week, one of my students labeled an animal “cow” to participate in “Old McDonald Had a Farm”! It has been a joy to watch them sing and dance along to the songs, participating in their own way (using voice, communication device, or picture symbols). They are always so excited to participate in the group sessions each week. In addition, Ms. Daneyelle uses picture symbols to ensure that the students have the opportunity to make a choice of songs each session. The students work on turn-taking to share instruments, and music therapy has helped them to grow socially as the year has progressed. Many of my students have significant sensitivities to sound, as well. It has been amazing to watch students overcome some of their sensory sensitivities through music therapy participation, and the joy that they get each week through the music therapy sessions. We are able to work on their academic goals through music therapy as well, such as stating their name, math concepts, reading concepts, and other skill areas.

Ms. Daneyelle’s passion for music, and its power to heal and impact all lives, shines through her work. She has made a tremendous effort to get to know each of my students over her time with us. We are so grateful for this program, and the opportunities it provides to students. Thank you, Healing Sounds!