Over the weekend, I read an article about research for those with Parkinson’s disease and the importance of singing to improve their symptoms. I’ve always believed singing doesn’t just happen on a stage, or the shower. Singing can be incorporated into teaching and learning, speech development, social communication, motivational encouragement.
In my early years of working with children with a vision impairment, I was given a small class of kids who had some additional challenges. They all had a degree of intellectual impairment along with their vision issues. The language abilities of the group varied including one boy who was quite echolalic, an anxious boy who needed more confidence to feel comfortable talking and a young girl who presented with delayed, but clear speech. I played guitar at times when I felt like being musical and a song or two in a classroom was always ‘a hit’. This group of children had struggled with their literacy skills and reading so I thought I would try a different strategy. I collected information about the students, their interests, where they lived and what they enjoyed doing at school. We then put it to a tune and played them on the guitar. They loved singing and to sing their stories was extra special. Since using this strategy, teachers commented on how much they had come out of themselves and were talking so much more.
As an O & M specialist teacher, I have continued to use song for teaching techniques. Encouraging the arcing of a cane has included “side to side, side to side,…..”, or to the tune of “Where is Thumkin, where is….” , “Here comes J…, here comes J…, with his cane” and these songs have motivated the children to follow the directions and become more automatic in their cane skills.
I would love you to comment on where you have seen great success in singing, inspirational ideas, or what has singing done for you? There is a lot more to write about singing – or sing about!
Below is a photo of a 'robin' singing.