It seems I get inspired and learn something new from my clients every day. Most of what I know about autism I learned from my clients over the past eight years. Recently, I was especially touched and inspired when a client’s FATHER joined us in the music therapy session. And he still comes faithfully each week.
I have been working with this young boy who is quite charming and gifted, but lives with the challenges of Autism, which affects his speech and language. From the beginning, I saw that the boy’s mother was very involved with her son’s cognitive development. I see mothers take on this role quite often, so this was somewhat expected. But rarely do I see dads come to the music therapy session as well. So having BOTH of this young boy’s parents present during the music therapy made for an incredible session.
When Dad first walked in, I expected to receive a barrage of first-timer questions about music therapy, its effectiveness, and my experience. Earlier in my career these questions would put me on the defensive, but as my confidence grew over the years, I began to see these questions as a wonderful opportunity to explain the amazing power of music therapy.
And Dad indeed had a lot of questions. He was genuinely curious about how this modality could help their boy, whom he obviously loved very much. As the session progressed, I watched him go from “protective mode” into “enthusiastic supporter” right alongside Mom. It was incredibly gratifying to see them cheer their boy’s progress as if he had just scored a winning soccer goal!
While this experience was special and moving for me, I believe it was exponentially more beneficial for this boy’s cognitive development. It was so clear to me that the cheering from Mom and Dad greatly enhanced my effectiveness as a music therapist. It was as if the combination of music and cheering parents generated an exponentially greater benefit.
In a society where both parents are often working full time jobs, it is understandably difficult to have both available to participate in music therapy sessions. But I am amazed at how quickly we are achieving our therapeutic goals for this boy, which I believe will go along way towards ensuring he grows up to live a happy and productive life.
We are always so appreciative of mothers who work so hard to provide the very best for their child. But we also want to send a big “thank you” to Dads who are able to take time to be a part of the program as well! For Dads that are not yet involved, we invite you to join us one day, ask questions and learn about how your participation in music therapy can really make a difference in your child’s life.