Monday, August 3, 2015

You may know that "music works", but HOW does it work?

Visit my webpage (click here) for some great Music Therapy resources! Find diagnosis specific FACT SHEETS, links to videos on evidenced based research on Music Therapy, frequently asked questions on Music Therapy, links to the works and research of Oliver Sacks (including case study based books, writings, and movies), and more.


Friday, July 31, 2015

Fun way to work on summer Social Skills/Peer Awareness!

Hello Friends! 

Raising peer awareness/increasing social skill is something to work on with your kiddos all year long.  Summertime provides opportunities for this, especially with kids who are enrolled in summer camp/programs.  In fact, social skills are often challenged here, as your kids are learning lots of brand new faces and names in a small amount of time and all at once! Soooo ... what a great time to implement some summer social activities that will aid this.  This may even be helpful to begin working on a couple weeks prior to the start of school.

I really like a lot of the Pancake Manor songs (their sound is easy and enjoyable for all).  I have included two video versions of the same song below.  I find that some of my clients who demonstrate shyness or social withdrawal/disinterest/sensitivity(especially kids on the ASD spectrum), benefit from this method.  

METHOD: With these clients, I will sometimes implement a peer awareness activity first using names paired with animal or fictional/cartoon characters.  I find that these clients are often more accepting of and willing to give visual attention/participation with animal/character pictures over pictures of actual people faces.  This is a "meet the child where they are" type of method.  Once your child is comfortable with this, begin to transition into using actual peer faces.  Depending on how sensitive your child is in this area, you may want to transition with one of the methods listed below:
  • Transition to peer faces by only adding in one peer face with each repetition of the song, keeping the rest of the song/activity the same as originally introduced (with animal/character pics).
  • Transitioning with peer faces, but have them more cartoon based ... then move little by little to actual face pics.
  • Transition by implementing 1 actual peer face (your child's actual peer) at a time.  This is if you are trying to work on specific peers in your child's life (neighbors, campers, family members, familiar persons, classmates, etc).  

The Name Song by: Pancake Manor
 (song version with animals/characters)

The Name Song by: Pancake Manor (song version with peer faces)

Have fun!


Thursday, July 23, 2015

2015 Carolina Children's Charity Run/Walk Event!

Hey Everyone!

Below you will find info on an upcoming CCC (Carolina Children's Charity) event.  CCC is a local charity which awards financial grants to Lowcountry children with birth defects and/or childhood diseases from birth through 18 years of age. Awesome cause, awesome people! See below!




Support CCC and our 2nd Biggest Fundraiser!!!

- Join us on Saturday, 9/26/2015 @ Hanahan Recreation Center - 3100 Mabeline Road.

- Run begins @ 8:30am and Walk begins @ 8:35am. Race day Registration begins @ 6:45am. **Arrive early**   Pre-registration is highly recommended.

- Team members can pick up their packets from 12pm – 6pm on Thursday, September 24th
   and from 12pm – 6pm on Friday, September 25th @ the Lowcountry Firefighter Support Team office
   6390 Dorchester Road, North Charleston, SC 29418.

- Participate in our 12th Annual 5K Run / Family Fun Walk. (Stroller and wheelchair friendly)
  Fast pace walkers (able to finish in under an hour) can participate in the 5K.

Invite your Family, Friends, Neighbors and Co-Workers
to participate with you.

- Register as an Individual or as part of a Team.

- Raise money to help Lowcountry children with Birth Defects and Diseases.

- Take the opportunity to meet CCC Diplomats and learn how your contributions help.

- Enjoy the Fun for children of all ages. We will have Refreshments, Live Music, Kid’s Activities, Face Painting, Fire Trucks, Clown, Mascots and more.                                           

- Make memories by joining in the fun and make a difference in the life of a child.

- Win a Prize. Prizes will be given to Runners, Walkers and Teams in several categories.

- Register @ or send registration forms and checks to the CCC office @ 1064 Gardner Road, Suite 112B, Charleston, SC 29407.  Make sure your team members know to include the team name on all entries, so that you are credited for all participants. If you are forming a new team this year, please let Shannan know so she can include your team name on the online registration form.
- Call 843-769-7555 for more information or visit


Monday, July 6, 2015

Man in the Can - The Life of a Dreamer (Autism Awareness)

Well, this got my heart! 

Patrick lost his job and both of his parents, but he never gave up on his dream. Here's a little smackeral of autism awareness and inspiration for ya! (click on the video link below) 

Keep on singing,


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Great Children's Books by Local Author!

                        It Was a Wild Ride, Even for Clyde!
 My Mom Thinks I'm a Quack Because I Quack!

Hello and Happy Tuesday!

I wanted to introduce you all to a couple of children's books!
My Mom Thinks I'm a Quack Because I Quack! has a good message on individuality, and It Was a Wild Ride Even for Clyde! is a great reminder of how important it is to listen to Mom! Both of these books are by local author, Brent Paape. I'm happy to have these as part of my collection of awesome resources!  Click on the links above to view and order from Amazon. Enjoy!


Tuesday, June 2, 2015

What Happens to Your Brain Under the Influence of Music? (Article by: Alasdair Wilkins)

"From the perspective of neuroscience, listening to music is one of the most complex things you can do. Many parts of your brain have to work together to comprehend even the simplest tune. So what is music really doing to our minds?" 

Hello Friends!

What a great article! This is an easy read with good concrete biological evidence/ examples (without being too overwhelming)!  Click here for the whole article.  Below are some at-a-glance bullet points ... good stuff! 


  • The prefrontal cortex, cerebellum, and many parts of the temporal lobe all go into our ability to recognize the tone of a given piece of music. Taken all together, this means that music already brings in three out of four of the lobes of the human brain - frontal, parietal, and temporal
  • (So what about the fourth lobe? Yep, even the Occipital is engaged ... ) Another intriguing side-effect of listening to music is the activation of the visual cortex, found in the back of the brain in the occipital lobe. 
  • Part of the reason that music tends to be so meaningful to us is that it's deeply intertwined with memory.
  • And let's not forget the language aspect of music. Obviously, not all songs have lyrics, but those that do draw upon the language centers of the brain. The two main parts of the brain associated with language are Wernicke's area and Broca's area, the former of which is found in the temporal lobe while the latter is in the frontal lobe. 
  • Previous research has tended to indicate that Wernicke's area is more crucial to language comprehension, while Broca's area is more tied up in language production, though it now appears that there's significant overlap. In any event, we can add them to the list of brain regions tied up in music comprehension.
  • A good song can trigger a cascade of secondary responses, often involuntarily. An obvious example of this is the propensity to move in time with music - not so much dancing, which is an active, independent process, but simple motions like tapping one's toe along with the song. This is caused by stimulation of neurons in the motor cortex.
  • Even better, the brain hangs onto the ability to understand the emotional impact of music, even if the finer points of comprehension are lost. One study, for instance, focused on a woman with damage to her temporal lobe - and, by extension, her auditory cortex - that made it impossible for her to comprehend different melodies and other basic parts of musical structure. Even so, she was still able to read the basic emotional content of the music, respond appropriately to "happy" and "sad" music in turn.
-Alasdair Wilkins 

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Autism related summer reads!

Summer reading anyone? Here are some awesome good reads related to Autism/ASD/Autism Awareness ...

Follow this link for 400+ books to help you learn more about Autism