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I have to admit that as much as I try to inspire my children, the reverse happens, and interestingly they end up motivating me. I mentioned in my last post how my two boys play together, console one another when the other cries or gets hurt, and are able to communicate and understand each other despite the fact that my youngest struggles with verbal communication. They have an unspoken bond that allows them to “speak” and learn from each other.
I couldn’t help but to marvel at my eldest son’s involvement in wanting to perform and interact with his brother through music. My husband and I have partnered on creating short and simple alphabet songs that not only encourage our eldest to have fun, but to also have a hand in teaching his brother to speak and mimic his social play.
Parents with disabled children are attuned to the subtle and / or huge improvements that their child makes. In the past few weeks I have noticed my young son copying everything his brother does: when his brother rides his bike, he rides his bike; when his brother accidently falls off his bike, he purposely falls off his bike. He finds joy in repeating words, and reading the same books his brother reads (well for him skimming through the pictures and shouting out certain letters).
Since creating the Alphabet Rock videos my husband and I have noticed our youngest son mimic and take more of an interest in television shows (particularly ones with theme songs like Thomas the Train, SpongeBob, and oddly The Cosby Show). In the past he could hardly focus and his form of communication consisted of screaming to the top of his lungs when he was happy, upset, and even singing. His involvement in our family videos as well as his desire to watch it over and over has shown me that although he struggles with autism, he refuses to let the disability win. He has begun articulating words clearer and his vocabulary has grown. He is able to put more words together to create sentences, state and show his wants and needs, and can sing most of the words to the songs he loves with minimal screams and hums.
I firmly believe that music is healing and has a positive impact on my son’s development. Recently I read a note from my youngest son’s art teacher stating that his public school was ending the art program, which focused on creative expression and social interaction. Needless to say I was upset upon reading this letter. I know that my son struggles with speech and the standard forms of learning. He is able to relax and focus more while drawing, singing and listening to music, as well as in all forms of visual technology. The Arts play a pivotal role in his development and yet these programs are the first to go during federal funding cuts.
Therefore, I am eager now more than ever to continue with the Alphabet Rock videos to ensure my children continue to teach and learn in a fun and creative way through music, social interaction, and repetition. I hope the Alphabet Rock Letter B video inspires your family to develop fun projects and work together as a team for a greater good!