As a new initiative for MTSA this summer, we are choosing to share different ideas for Music Therapy practice in the hopes that this will provide a valuable resource for beginning music therapists and as inspiration for practicing therapists. Every Monday, a different intervention idea will be presented. They will be very basic and will be best as beginning inspiration to be varied and adapted for different clinical settings. They may include specific music, but will typically only indicate the style of music to be incorporated.
The following basic format will be given for each intervention: 1) Activity, the type of intervention; 2) Target population, the intended client population for the intervention; 3) Materials, the instruments and supplies required; 4) Goals/Aims, ideas for goals or aims that could be addressed in the intervention; 5) Method, a detailed description of what would occur during the intervention; 6) Comments, an explanation of why this intervention is applicable for the given client population and how the goals/aims are addressed; and 7) Evaluation, questions to allow for reflection on whether or not the intervention was effective for a particular client or clients.
“This Little Light of Mine”
by Yukwei Chan
Singing “This Little Light of Mine”
- Children with Autism
- Communication impairment; non-verbal
Flashlight (for prompt)
- To allow increase in speech and vocabulary
- To increase listening
- To increase focus and attention
- To increase awareness
The setting will allow for dim lights, and clients will be facing the therapist.
The therapist will begin by singing through the song “The Little Light of Mine” a cappella. Throughout the song, when the word “mine” is reached, the action of her hand patting her chest will be demonstrated. As well, for the work “shine”, the therapist will shine the flashlight on the client.
In the second run through, the therapist will sing and motion the hand to the chest as “mine” is reached without vocalizing the word. She will then pause, and then prompt to see if the client can come up with the word on their own. Similarly, on the third run through “shine” will be done with the flashlight shining on the client, and prompting the word to be said.
For children with autism who have communication impairments. This can result in the child being non-verbal, rarely speaking or using speech in unusual ways. They may have difficulty making complete sentences that make sense, speak only single words or use the same words repeatedly. As well, following verbal instructions can be a difficult task for these children.
Through this intervention, children with autism who are non-verbal are given the opportunity and support to speak a few words to complete the structure of the song. In addition, this song allows the client to follow along and try to understand the prompts (following verbal instruction of filling in the blank) that are facilitated with specific words (“mine” and “shine”).
- Was the client able to repeat the words that were being prompted?
- Did he/she understand the prompts?
- Could the client sing the words on his or her own?
- Were the cues needed?
- Redo this exercise to see if client remembers the song from this session
- See if the client retains the words learnt today
- Fill in different blanks, so new words are learnt to expand vocabulary
- Possibly change up the words or learn a different song for diversity