The Music Lesson

This post is now available in the ‘Life with an Autistic Son’ ebook available to download from Amazon.

LWAAS 3d book cover

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22 Responses to The Music Lesson

  1. stepfielding says:

    Thanks so much for these postings. I have been looking forward to these for the past month or so. Oddly enough my son also hates anyone singing which isn’t good when his younger sister loves to sing. You feel very much torn between encouraging her creativity and confidence without distressing him overly.When he got his placement at the local Autism Teaching Unit we told them “no singing!” and thankfully they ignored us and he has music and singing almost every day since. It was a very great moment to be able to sing Happy Birthday to him for the first time on his 6th birthday and hearing him start to sing songs to us has been wonderful. I do occasionally wonder though if his dislike stems more from a true gift of musical appreciation – does he meltdown because the rest of us are so untuneful we are committing a crime against music? 🙂

    • B's Dad says:

      My son insisted no one sing Happy Birthday this year too. Banners and balloons were also banned for reasons known only to himself! None of which stopped him having a great time! Thanks for your comment; I’m glad you enjoy the posts.

  2. johnculkin says:

    Fascinating post, I really hope it helps him. Music is such an individual, expressive thing, a unique way of communicating – its wired in to us, and the wiring seems to be a circuit all of its own. Theres an amazing clip of the effect here – an old guy with dementia being totally changed by music

    Good luck and keep going with the guitar too!

  3. stephstwogirls says:

    Tee hee, I like Stepfieldings comment about the crime – I’m also shouted at to stop singing in the car (I can’t help it though, the words come out naturally!), and when most recently I asked why I’m not allowed (it’s taken 5 years to be able to question her), the answer is ‘it is not good’. We considered music therapy (local council run them, £30 per session though!) for our girl when she was 3-4, as she also seems to have a natural talent, but at the end of the day we never got around to starting it as we figured there was no way she would sit and do what a teacher says (that still applies, mostly). Back then it was unlikely we could have ever got her in the car to go to a place that she hadn’t seen before.
    B does sound like he has real ability though, and I really hope Karen can bring it out of him – like you said, the fact she is willing to try is the best starting point. I’m sure you won’t give up, however embarrassing he gets (wait til he’s comfortable there and starts stripping off 😉 ).

    • B's Dad says:

      Well, my wife’s taking him this week, so stripping is fine! Having said that, she might not be taking him after she reads this post. I did ‘sugar the pill’ somewhat when describing his first lesson to her…

  4. rossmountney says:

    Such an inspirational blog. Wanted to send very best wishes to you and your family. x

  5. Al says:

    Aw I loved this post. My son has always loved music and dancing but developed a real phobia about music linked with him starting school. Fortunately, after listening to the same CD for a whole year I kid you not, his enjoyment of music seems to have returned and it’s fab to hear him pottering about the house singing. Your post has given me lots to think about. I love what your music teacher said too, it’s difficult but she’s not going to give up. I’m never giving up either.

  6. Nicola says:

    Reading your blog is like reading about the trials and tribulations that go on in our life (autistic 7 yr old, ‘normal’ functioning 9 and 10 yr old) Oh, how we laugh, if we didn’t we’d probably cry! Thanks for sharing. N

  7. Have you investigated AIT for your son? Auditory Integration Training can sometimes help those children with ASD as they may have a sensory auditory problem e.g. some frequencies override others and some pitches can actually be painful for them. My son had AIT when he was 6 yrs old. Prior to that, aeroplane toilets, hand dryers and the school bell would cause him to freak out and put his hands over his ears. His second auditory test, after the treatment, was quite different to the first and the level at which he heard each frequency was far more normal than before. He was hearing very high pitched noise louder than any other beforehand. Cheers, Fiona.

  8. Being a huge admirer of Aldous Huxley’s works, you had me at the start here. Sometimes you stumble across blogs, and you offer such wise words and humour for the future that I find myself becoming a ‘follower’ instantly… How close that is to stalker I’m yet to clarify! Our little boy is just about to turm two, and in amongst his myriad of medical charms the scales are beginning to drop from our eyes and understand him as if not autistic (too early to say apparently, development delays overall not defining him yet), but at least within the elite. I write about the beginning of our journey at

  9. Zoë says:

    I read this and flashed back to my boy when he was little and fascinated with anything electrical. So similar to what you have described! No one knows what hard work it is, or the pain of knowing this child is different and will always be different, but they also have no idea of the consequent joy when a child with autism learns something new, or finds something that makes him happy. I remember my beautiful, cheeky, irrespressible, unreachable boy. He’s changed so much now at 12, and the journey has been totally unpredictable and quite amazing.

    Thank you for this post. It is a very good attempt at explaining the unexplainable! 🙂

  10. Zoë says:

    Reblogged this on Just Zoë, Just Life and commented:
    I am reblogging this because we are so busy with packing and preparing to move house.

    This post so resonated with me, and describes so well this little boy’s personality and behaviour, and the effect his disability has on his world, positive and negative, and on his family. It was like reading about HRH when he was small. I think unless you have SEN kids you can never really know what it is like, but this post details a single hour, out of a very long day, extremely well.

  11. Nikki Parsons says:

    So uncanny. So much like my son. I’ve not read many blogs where the children are high functioning and very verbal as is my son. My son HATES anyone singing which is hard cos I sing without even realising it. I’d love to find out more about ur dx for your son as I’m worried about my son starting full time school. At the moment he goes to a nursery where someone shadows him all day due to his unpredictable behaviour with the other children but I know this wont be possible at school. He is under a child Psyc, an Ed psych, a paediatrician and a sleep clinic. He was under OT but I’ve managed to get his sensory issues under control now. Nobody want to dx as they say he is too young but if he goes to school with no extra help I know he will just be sent home every day. The nursery think the same as me but nobody will listen 😦

  12. B's Dad says:

    Hi Nikki,
    Like you, we were very anxious for our son to get the dx (because it was obvious he eventually would) and, following that, a statutory assessment. Like you, we met opposition and reluctance. But you don’t need a dx to get a statement. We forced the issue by telling our support agencies we were going to make a parental request for a stat assesssment, if they wouldn’t. In the end we got 32.5 hours of support for B. Parent Partnership were pretty useful throughout this.
    I really hope things work out for you and your boy. It’s not easy, is it?
    As things progress, you might find my ‘supporting comments’ page useful for statementing. Also, check out the Special Needs Jungle blog for a link to a useful publication posted today.
    All the best. Stay strong.

  13. Fiona says:

    I found this fascinating. I’ve been both a Music teacher and a SENCo and considered training as a music therapist when I was at university. Brilliant to hear that Karen was so up for the experience and so enthusiastic about finding an appropriate way of working with your boy. I really believe that music can make a difference and reach kids in a way that sometimes other approaches can’t. Would love to hear more of this story – has B’s interest in music continued?

  14. Nicole says:

    Hi there, thank you very much for notifying me of your blog. As you know I’m doing a research project on how music therapy can help autistic children. Your blog has given me a parents view of how life is and the daily challenges. Would you object to me quoting your blog and offering a link to this page in my project?


  15. B's Dad says:

    I’d be happy for you to use the blog in any way you wish. Could you keep me updated with the project as it progresses?

  16. Nicole says:

    Yes I will keep you updated with how the project is going. Im not sure how close you are to Birmingham, but there is a centre there that has an arts therapy outreach programme that can do home sessions.
    You may have already heard of them, but they may be able to offer B music therapy sessions if you would rather. Thank you for all your help. Your blog is really insightful.

  17. First of all I would like to say terrific blog! I had a quick question in which
    I’d like to ask if you do not mind. I was interested to find out how you center yourself and clear your mind before writing. I have had a tough time clearing my thoughts in getting my ideas out there. I do take pleasure in writing however it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are generally wasted just trying to figure out how to begin. Any ideas or tips? Appreciate it!

    • B's Dad says:

      Thank you for the kind words. Before I sit down to write a post, I already have my topic, three or four key points and, quite often, my first sentence. I will have been thinking about it during the week so that I have a starting point. Without that, I’d probably waste time. I usually have limited time to write, so I have to have a head start. After the first few lines I tend to just find inspiration and the rest just comes to me. I rarely know how I’m going to end a post until I get there. I never re-draft or return to edit a post because I don’t have the time. Hope that helps. Hey, I feel like a real writer! Thanks!

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