Our journey through autism

Archive for July, 2012

Adapted Piano Lessons

I’ve mentioned before that Bilal had an ear for music, he’s always singing or humming something from school, TV the radio, he gets the tune right but the lyrics are a mess but because I’m able to recognize the song right away I help him out with the words. We tried music therapy but his class mates were way lower functioning than him and holding him back and it was more play with music than actual music, they barely got to play with the instruments just a quick couple bangs and it is put away because they’re acting up, so we only did 1 semester of that and moved on to swimming.

One day out of the blue I heard him bang the “where is Thumper?” or “Are you sleeping?”  song on his xylophone and later in the day he played it on a small toy piano that came with a Happy Meal, where he learnt it or was it just musical intuition we dont know, but his dad rushed out that day and bought a keyboard. Hubby has played with it more than Bilal has but its around the house where he can try out different things and maybe learn more. When I went to the Special Needs Summer Camps expo earlier in the year I met with another center that offered Music Therapy, called Music Therapy Services of Greater Atlanta in  Downtown Roswell  and I spoke with the representative telling her we were interested in music but worry about class mate developmental levels and the like and she said they offer several classes and options trying to find the best fit for the child, I thanked her took her brochures and left, we also met the center that offered the adapted swimming lessons that day and went with that soon after. So with the keyboard at home and summer camp over we decided to check out music therapy I gave them a call and they said they offered adapted piano lessons and they offered a free 30 minute consultation lesson first to meet the therapist she meets the child and we discuss options. Bilal loved it and we quickly decided to do an hour lesson a week. She is impressed with his musical ear saying she has tune, melody and pace. They mainly play the piano and learn the black key patterns, high and low notes, and he started learning musical notes, because he loses focus quickly and starts acting silly they play other musical games like dancing or drums or guitar, so he learns to appreciate other instruments and enjoy music in general. He’s a quick learner and she said he’ll move from Book A to Book B quickly. Ms. Megan is great she has a beautiful voice and is really good at her job dealing with Bilal’s silliness and keeping him focused.

Summer Camp

During the last month of school I was getting nervous about the summer, long days with nothing to keep him busy. From 7am to 9pm with only an hour or two of private therapy isn’t enough. It was always the case when Bilal gets bored to act up, throw tantrums or the very least start pacing about. At the end of March there was a camp expo for children with special needs that I went to check out, the camps were either for older children, too far or too expensive. I couldn’t figure out what to do and thought the camp being held by his horse back riding instructor the best option even though it was too far to go to on a daily basis. Then during the last week of school his teacher sent an email about a camp but it was for children 5-12 years old and Bilal wouldn’t turn 5 until the end of September, I emailed the instructor telling her that Bilal wouldn’t turn 5 until the end of September but that he was high functioning, potty trained and able to communicate well and if she would please consider him. She agreed and I sent in the paperwork. It was a sports camp and the instructor Maureen Wales  is a special ed physical ed teacher, the camp is called Camp Moementum and it was only $100 a week taking place at a local park on their adapted fields. I signed up for the first 2 weeks of June, but sadly Bilal woke up the first day of camp with a fever and wasnt better the next day I was so bummed that with a 10 day camp he already missed 2 days of, but as soon as he got better we went and he loved it, they played on the fields, the playground, went on hikes, they had a bounce house and a water slide and go carts and basketball,  laps, arts and crafts. The had a cook out one day and somehow they got him eating hot dogs something he just wouldnt eat at home. There were several teenage volunteers and she had them working and looking after each child. At the end of the 2 weeks she said she’ll extend it for another 2 weeks, perfect ! I signed up for those, and he really enjoyed it, he won at BINGO a couple times and got little toys, he got a beach ball, and t-shirt, 2 caps. Siemens came one day with a whole science expo for the kids, I cant wait till next year for him to go again.

So thanks to Camp Moementun we were able to fill up 1 of the 3 months of summer vacation. On friday I’ll look into music therapy, adapted piano lessons or something for Bilal to work on, and we’re still doing his private speech, OT and PT sessions, adapted aquatics and horse back riding lessons, and on yeah we’ve also started on the myofunctional therapy. So he’s not bored, the tantrums are a thing of the past alhamdullah and he rarely paces about. He also watches Disney Junior or PBS Kids, plays on the laptop, iPad or XBox, and all this time off school he’s playing a lot with his brother and he’s making amazing progress mashaAllah alhamdullah. I’ll write a progress post in August after he’s been in therapy for a whole year.

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