Children love music. Youngsters of all ages love to move, dance, and sing along to their favorite songs. My husband and I are both music lovers and musicians – he is a music teacher and I am a pianist/ And it broke my heart when I realized that our son, who has Childhood Apraxia of Speech, would have trouble singing his favorite songs. Through research and speech therapy sessions, we have come across some music that is great for children with Childhood Apraxia of Speech as well as other speech delays and concerns.
The first CD, that my husband discovered, is called “Time to Sing.” It is a peppy collection of favorite children’s songs. The tempos are upbeat and fun, but the words are sung slowly, giving a child with apraxia time to digest and imitate when possible. These songs are easy to listen to and are muscially well done. The CD includes songs such as, “Wheels on the Bus,” “Eentsy Weentsy Spider,” and “Old MacDonald,” all of which are favorites in our house. You can purchase this CD, which is great for any child, at www.apraxia-kids.org.
My son’s speech therapist, who worked very intensively with him, introduced us to a series of music called Kids Express Train. These CD’s are great for all children, especially children with Speech Apraxia. They are slow and simple, focusing on certain words, phrases or sounds that are meaningful to children. Most of the songs are done in a rhythmic speech style with call and response. The song leader sings a line and the children on the CD echo a response back. The music is upbeat and fun, and can easily incorporate movement. The vocal sounds are simple enough that even children with sever speech problems can become engaged and enjoy the music. I frequently hear my son singing these songs to himself as he is playing, and it gives me such joy because only a few months ago he could barely say a few words at all. You can purchase these CD’s at www.expresstrain.org.
Another great kind of music for children with apraxia is classical music. Specifically, Mozart Sonatas are great for organizing the brain and increasing left-brain right-brain interaction, thereby increasing speech and language. We have played a lot of Mozart Sonatas for my son, and he seems to be calm and focused when he listens to them. We also noticed an increase in vocabulary use when he listens to the sonatas frequently. Of course, there have been many studies done on the Mozart Effect (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mozart_effect ) and interesting other studies on how Mozart’s music effect people, such as premature infants (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/34365875/). I have often wondered if Mozart himself didn’t have some sort of difficulty such as Asperger’s, or Apraxia, and used his own music as the therapy that helped him hold himself together. Regardless, I think that my son enjoys listening to Mozart’s sonatas because he ‘feels better’ when he listens to them. You can find lots of Mozart music available at amazon.com in CD or MP3 format.
All of this music has done wonderful things for my son in his speech development. But what makes me even happier is that he has music that he loves, and music that he can sing!