It’s 9 o’clock in the morning, time for 3-year-old Lucas’ weekly music therapy session. “Lucas is autistic,” his mother Katey Hernandez explained. “He has a lot of sensory processing sensitivities, which means he’s really sensitive to loud noises, bright lights and a lot of [activity] around his body, and he really likes to jump and swing and climb and anything active.”
Dixie Mazur brings to Lucas’ home session a bag full of instruments. During the session she plays music and sings. “I like to bring in a wide variety of instruments because, especially with younger kids, the attention spans naturally are very short and I like to be able to give them the freedom and ownership to kind of move our session in the direction they want to go,” Mazur said.
She brings in a piano, a couple of drums, rain stick and egg shakers, “things that provide a lot of sensory feedback as well.” Hernandez is happy with the results so far.
“It’s been very helpful,” she said. “Ms. Dixie has come up with a few songs to help him with social dialogue. So, it helps him communicate with us a lot more, when we can’t figure out what he needs.”
Healing soul and body
Music has long helped people express their emotions and connect with one another. Over the years, medical studies have shown that it has many health benefits, too. Those range from facilitating regular breathing and lifting mood to improving emotional function and motor control in patients.