I am so excited to say that after a year and a half of waiting Avery had her first music therapy session last week!! It was better than I could have ever imagined. Avery absolutely loved every minute of her session.
The first session was just seeing what instruments Avery is interested in. Well, that turned out to be every single one. Avery played with the guitar, piano, drums, xylophone, ukulele, tambourine and more. When we first walked into the office Avery immediately went to the piano.
I was not sure what to expect or exactly what music therapy entailed. The therapist started off by singing the “hello song” to Avery while playing the guitar. Avery was just walking around checking everything else out when the therapist pointed out to me that Avery moves to the beat of the music. (Something I have never really noticed. Or maybe I am so used to it by now?) After the “hello song” they played the drums and Avery was able to put her knees and feet on the drum so she could feel the beat. To my surprise Avery actually took turns playing the drum with the therapist. At the end Avery ended up with all four sticks but it’s a start 😉 The therapist incorporated pictures of animals with the songs she was singing. I was especially excited about the since it goes along with the PECS system we have been using with Avery. At the end of the session the therapist sang the “goodbye song” to Avery. When she was done she put the guitar on the stand. Avery went over and took the guitar out of the stand and handed it back to the therapist. I guess Avery wasn’t done. But to my surprise she was totally okay with leaving after we put the guitar back.
It is so amazing watching Avery with music. She is so calmed by music and she really seems to understand it. I don’t think Avery has ever heard a song she doesn’t like. Even if it’s a theme song from a television show you can bet that she is going to stand still and listen. (Or dance to it.) Ever since her first session she has been playing with her little piano more and her other music toys.
It took about five minutes of us being there when the therapist said “Oh, this is going to work. She is a perfect fit.” It seriously brought tears to my eyes hearing that this was going to work. After so many challenges with school and judgement from others we finally got it right. We worked so hard to get Avery into music therapy and waited very patiently. All of that paid off. It was so worth the wait and then some.
I so wish that there were enough music therapy centers so every child that is interested could go. I would love to be able to wave my magic Oprah wand and say “You get music therapy! You get music therapy! Everyone gets music therapy!” It is that incredible! Unfortunately, I do not have a magic Oprah wand and there are just not enough music therapists for this area. I hope some day the benefits of music therapy are recognized by insurance companies and other programs. (I know it’s a long shot but a girl can hope.) I cannot imagine what it feels like for the therapists to have to turn people away.
To all of the parents on a waiting list do not give up! I know it is hard and having to wait for services is beyond frustrating. But it is so worth it when you finally reach the top of that list and your child’s name is called 🙂