Monday, February 15, 2010

Day 29- Sensory Intergration- Music

I think by far, this is one of the issues that baffles me the most. It's not the loud noises, it's not soft noises, it's not specific genres of songs that will set him off. It's listen on his terms and at the decibel he wants to.

Wedding Music... As I talked about in an earlier blog, soft wedding music set him off. This could be from number of things. My belief is that it was not JUST the music that caused the meltdown. It was the soft music (that to him was boring music) along with the overload of people. I took a lot of information from that day. I am still processing it all and working with him to figure out exactly what we can do to make those occasions better for him.

Music class at school... we suffer in there a lot. Once again, it's a combination of things. While we don't have as many problems in there as we did last year, every once in a while he refuses to cope with it. It's a boring class to him. He hates to do things he doesn't like on other peoples terms. He hates being called out when he is unsure of the answer and this is a class in which he could be unsure. And most importantly, he hates people watching him. In music class, this is an easy perception for him to get. They sit in a "U" shape on risers. Kids look all over the place during class, it's unavoidable. So, one child looking in the direction of Tanner can cause him to perceive that child is "looking at him" and "making fun of him." He comes home everyday and tells me they played a boring game. And to be quite honest, I am surprised he doesn't have more problems in there.

Music during church... when I was a kid we went to Sunday School. We MAYBE sang a couple of bible songs and did a craft and had a story. NOT NOW! These kids are given sensory overload in the form of music, lights, and body movements! This is a great concept, except that they seem to have forgotten some kids being over stimulated is not a good thing. Mine in particular. Most of the time he does well, however, this was one of the big problems we had in the beginning, when we did not know how to help him. I have figured out that he needs to go to church first thing in the morning, before he goes anywhere else and we have a close relationship with the volunteers and staff at the church we go to. They know what to do with him and can even recognize when it needs to be done!

Concerts... he loves to go, but when we get there they are too loud. He solution to this is to hold onto Mom for the entire time. This is great exercise for me, holding a 50 lb sack of potatoes for two and a half hours. But soon it will not be. We have a set of earplugs for him to wear, but he only wears them about half of the time and still hangs on me. The last concert we went to was a Christian hard rock and I caught him on several of the songs 'feeling' the beat through my body and his. It's a feeling I think I take for granted, but he appreciated.

Car.... he doesn't seem to be bothered by the car noise most of the time. However, Mom and Dad have a hard time with the music in the car, because we can't hear his soft voice in the back of the van when he is asking a question (which he does A LOT).

MP3 Player... by far his favorite. He cranks it up so loud we can hear it and plays "Big House" over and over and over and over and over and over again. It's currently the only song on his player. I think this is cool because I remember rocking out to "Big House" when I was in junior high. I think it's strange that he chooses and rockin' song as his favorite to calm him down. He asks all the time to listen to it.

Commercials... (insert Olympics Theme here).... he LOVES THIS SONG! Spends hours a day imitating it. Right now the Olympics are going on, so naturally he is hearing it quite a bit. But last night, with everyone in bed, in the silence of the house I heard him humming it to calm him down. He picks up on contemporary songs that are on commercials also. I catch him singing songs I didn't know he had heard. "Tanner, where did you hear that song?" "It was on the (insert commercial product here) commercial the other day."

For now this is all the data I have collected on music. It's a continuing process as we will enter the world of choir and band in a couple of years. The state of Texas has some mandates on taking these classes so it may be one of the future modifications we will have to make for him.

For now, I hope it brightens your day every time you hear "It's a big, big house, with lots and lots of rooms." Know that Tanner is rockin' out with you!

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