Creating New Understanding around Autism Spectrum Disorder​


On Day 3 of the 2014 ICare4Autism International Autism Conference, Dr. Stephen Shore, assistant professor in the Special Education Dept. at Adelphi University and ICare4Autism Advisory Council member, gave a presentation of Autism and the Arts: Movement, Music, and the Sensory System. … Continue reading

Center Uses Music Therapy to Treat Autistic Kids

It turns out that music therapy can be used with children with autism.  Every day at the Autism Outreach Center, Shilah Gonzalez and four other therapists teach children how to build friendships and initiate conversations through activities such as cooking, drama, music, recreation, and fine motor skills.

“You can celebrate the smallest little achievement,” said Gonzalez. “A lot of these kids say they’re being bullied at school, and now they’re around children who are the same as they are. At school it might be really difficult, but when they come here, it’s easy… The best part of working with children who have autism is seeing their confidence build up every day.”

The center was started by MARC in April 2012, and serves children afflicted with all ranges of autism, from mild Aspergers to those who are completely nonverbal.  Each child’s treatment plan is individualized, and can include anywhere from one to 20 hours per week at the center.

The music therapy program began in January with the arrival of music therapist Kayla Minchew.

“A lot of our kids are nonverbal or have difficulty expressing themselves, so we use music to bring about that communication,” said Minchew.  “The hardest part of working with autistic children is the difficulty with communication.  Not being able to talk to them — they can’t always tell you what they need.”

Gonzalez said that not all autistic children will be able to develop verbal communication skills.  To alleviate this, they try to teach them alternate ways to communicate, such as holding up pictures so that they can show what they want.

Read more:

Fighting Autism with Music

The difference music can make for children

Music therapy has been practical in the treatment of autism. Autism is a neuro-developmental disorder that affects children, and its effects can be seen as early as infancy. Symptoms may appear at the age of six months, and the disorder is established before the child reaches three years of age.

Music has always been a way to get young people energized. Music that engages autistic children in dancing and singing works very well in helping them communicate and develop social skills. Autistic children respond to music by singing in the same note, and some of them may even start communicating through singing. They may take up an instrument to play, and this will help them gain interest in acquiring a certain skill. Music therapy can help different autistic patients in different ways, but generally, it is beneficial to them because it makes them more responsive to things around them.

Shema Kolainu – Hear Our Voices is hosting a free workshop on Music for children with autism on April 16th, 2013 from 10am to 12pm. It is open to all. If you would like to RSVP >>Click here>>
It will be focusing on including children with autism in the music curriculum and teaching them how to play a musical instrument this presentation explores techniques that are applicable to learners of all abilities and presented by Dr. Stephen Shore of Adelphi University and on the Advisory Committee for ICare4Autism.

A local group is trying to help kids with autism and other developmental disorders bring out their inner celebrity feelings .

Rock the Autism was started years ago by local musicians to play together and make a difference for those on ASD. It happened after its founders noticed the effect that music could have on children with autism

Rocky Neidhardt started the organization in 2010, after seeing the effect music had on Joe Santley’s son Luke, a member of the organization’s board of directors. ,” Neidhardt saw that music could make a difference in reaching autistic children and adults.

“Luke Santley sat right down on the drum set and did a perfect drum rollMusic has been shown as an effective therapy to help those with autism, as it helps to improve development in a number areas, such as word recognition and pre-writing skills. It also serves as an effective way to help students interact with one another and “neurotypical” children.”

 “That’s been one of the real breakthroughs,” Neidhardt said. Early on, he said, the program was split into two rooms, one for autistic and special needs children, and the other for neurotypical children. But that division isn’t necessary anymore, Neidhardt said. “The neurotypical children have fully embraced the special needs and autistic kids. They’re all friends and they’re pulling for each other.”

Neidhardt said that while the organization has used a number of different musical instruments, including bass guitar and piano, drums remain the most popular instrument option, as they were with Luke.

“They thrive on them,” Neidhardt said. “They usually just line up for it, and we usually have a great drum instructor to help them.” Initially, Neidhardt said he’d been told that drums might be problematic for some autistic children due t­o the noise. “They said it might be too much for them, that they’d run from the sound.” Neidhardt said. “We’ve had quite the opposite experience. We have a lot of kids who come with headphones or earmuffs on, and when they sit down, they’ll take them off and turn up the volume on the drums.”

Tammy-Jo Leonard, a friend of Neidhardt’s, said she knew the positive effect music could have after seeing how music had helped bring her own son out of his shell.

“It’s something we’ve always believed in,” Leonard said. “Once you see the look on their faces, the love of it, it’s amazing. It’s such a healthy, therapeutic outlet for them.”

For more information about the group, visit its website,


Music Therapy for Autism

Music Therapy at Shema Kolainu - Hear Our Voices

Music Therapy at Shema Kolainu - Hear Our Voices

After covering how one boy’s hidden talent was discovered through music therapy, we thought we’d take a closer look at how music therapy works. Continue reading

Hidden Talent Discovered Through Music Therapy

Kyle Coleman

Kyle Coleman

Kyle Coleman is young Cornwall man with autism. He also has an amazing talent.  25 year old Kyle’s incredible singing voice was uncovered after his mother took him to music therapy in 2009.

Kyle can only say a handful of words; while unable to express himself verbally his music therapist, Carine Kelley, has found that music is an instinctive way for Kyle to express his emotions. Continue reading