Symposium this week wrapped up our three-week discussion on The Out-of-Sync Child. The previous weeks focused more on the information provided in the book to enhance our understanding of sensory processing disorders (SPD). This week, we discussed intervention ideas provided in the book for each area of SPD (i.e. visual, auditory, vestibular, etc.) and brainstormed ways to add music.
There are many ways music can be used to help children with SPD. One common technique we use in our music therapy sessions for children with SPD who are seeking stimulation, is to use a cabasa and roll it on their body while singing a song. The sensory input provided by the cabasa can help a child with SPD become more aware of their body and help them calm down when over-stimulated. Music also provides rhythmic structure, which can be beneficial for vestibular and proprioceptive areas of SPD. Rhythm is used to elicit certain movements and provide stability during interventions. The list goes on an on of ways music can promote the needs of children with SPD. Our series on The Out-of-Sync Child over the last several weeks has helped increase my knowledge of SPD and provided beneficial discussions on interventions we can use in our music therapy sessions.
In symposium last week, we began a three-week series on “The Out-of-Sync Child” by Carol Stock Kranowitz. The first portion of the book we were required to read discussed Sensory Processing Disorders (SPD). Some children can only have SPD, while others may have also have similar diagnoses, such as ADHD or Autism. SPD can be defined in four categories; Sensory-modulation problems, sensory discrimination problems, sensory-based motor problems, and associated regulatory and behavior problems. Each category
Sensory-modulation problems are associated with frequency (several times a day), intensity (avoids or seeks sensory stimulation), or duration (unusual responses last for several minutes). A child may be over responsive to sensory stimuli, under responsive, or seeking more sensory stimulation. The second category, sensory-discrimination problems include difficulty in distinguishing one sensation from another. Third, when a child exhibits sensory-based motor problems, they often have problems using both sides of their body (bilateral coordination). Lastly, the fourth category, associated regulatory and behavior problems, includes inefficient sensory processing and other developmental problems. A child with similar diagnoses may not necessarily have SPD. Overall, this first week of our three-week series was an informative overview of SPD.
This week in symposium we worked together to develop a TDM for a client that we all work or have worked with in the past. We discussed his various strengths, making sure to emphasize the way he is motivated by and responds to music. We talked about different approaches we have taken to connect with him and build a strong therapeutic relationship. We then moved onto his needs and areas in which he can improve. From there, we came up with a goal to address, which happened to be centered around speech and language. At this point, Angela asked us all to spend a few moments researching different ways that other therapists (such as a Speech Language Pathologist or Respiratory Therapist) would address this goal. This search yielded many new resources for us to try with him. Next, we discussed the ways we could adapt those resources and intentionally use music to enhance their effectiveness. Last, we talked about ways to generalize these skills so that he could apply them in real life.
It was great to work on this in a group because our ideas fueled each other, and we were able to come up with so many ways to address his needs, and hearing all of our different perspectives helped me expand the way I think about therapy. It is a constant learning experience and that makes it so exciting!
Symposium this week was a little different than the past symposiums. Julie led Becca and I in a discussion over a book entitled “The Dream Giver”. The book follows the journey of the character “ordinary” and his big dreams, yet he faces “border bullies” and “Wasteland”, while also receiving support from “border buddies” and “border busters” to end up in “the Land of Promise”. Each of these analogies refer to various obstacles and types of people we may encounter on our own journey to pursue our dreams. This topic was quite appropriate for both Becca and I at this point in our lives. Having both had the dream to be in California and making the giant leap to move out here for this internship, we are familiar with the ups and downs of having big dreams and the many obstacles we may encounter. The book mentions “border bullies”, which refer to people in your life that may not be supportive of your dreams and can demonstrate their issues in various ways. Whether they feel threatened, they find problems in everything, or they fear losing control, it is important to understand your “border bullies” and why they may be feeling the way they do. However, it is equally important to recognize your “border buddies” and “border busters”, which are your champions; they support you, encourage you, and do what they can to help you pursue your dream.
While discussing this book, reflecting and applying it to my own life, it helped me realize how far I have already come in my journey of dreams. The step to come out to California alone was a risk, but with the support of my “border buddies” and “border busters”, I made it. The path that directed me this far in life has not been without trials and complications, but I am proud of where it has led me. I am happy at this point in my life, things are looking up, and I am excited for the next adventure that lies ahead. Not to say the journey is over, because as we learned in the discussion, the bigger your dreams, the longer the preparation and tougher the journey may be. And I am a big dreamer!