This Way In to Music: A digital streaming program for families living with children with special needs, learning difficulties or neuro-diversity
Music Interaction Skills for Special Needs Families
We know firsthand that raising children on the spectrum, or with other types of neuro-diversity, has its challenges. One of these challenges is finding time for relaxation, connection and play. To combat the isolation and challenges facing special needs parents today, This Way In To Music was developed to help bring siblings, parents, grandparents, teachers and carers into positive engagement experiences with children who are neuro-diverse or differently-abled. It’s a series of digital episodes that will be available in 2019 on a streaming platform for an annual subscription fee to cover the series development, production and distribution costs. The series is led by Alex Smith and Writer/Director Connie May MHST with assistance from Education Advisor Ric Davidson and Director/Producer/Sound Engineer, Ron Brown.
Snapshot of the Program founded by Australian Musician, Alex Smith
This Way In To Music for children who are neuro-diverse was founded by Singer Alex Smith of Moving Pictures. He has devoted over 20 years to working in special needs education as a music interaction facilitator in the UK, and has been filming episode material for the past 3-4 years. We are currently in the post-production stage of our first 7 episodes and we need sponsors to assist us with our first year’s series. For information, phone Connie May on +61 421 99 55 22 or email her at email@example.com.
- This Way In To Music is a series of streaming episodes designed to:
- reduce isolation
- increase moments of joy
- bring more comfort into the life of special needs families
- Guided by science and experience
- Real-life examples
- Adaptable guidelines and in-home play sessions can be implemented nearly anywhere
It’s also an affordable program, available in single episodes or by annual subscriptions (most popular). Household objects or cheap second-hand musical instruments go a long way, so the only real expense is the course subscription and a second-hand instrument or some shakers or rounded sticks, pots and pans (adapted to your child’s level/special needs).
- Experimentation with different forms of music interaction are strongly encouraged
- Remember, every child is different and a label is simply that — a label
- Labels do not define you or your child, nor what your child is capable of learning (that’s why we prefer to say ‘pre-verbal’ instead of ‘non-verbal’)
- We have seen some amazing developments when music interaction has been implemented on a regular basis in schools or family environments, and we encourage all special needs families to give these sessions a try — on a regular basis — to see what social interaction skills and cognitive transfer abilities might be possible using the power of rhythm and sound
This Way In To Music uses sound and music — along with everyday items for ‘taskless play’ to encourage social connection
Click to watch our INTRO video about our program (currently seeking first-year sponsors for post-production support).
How our Music Interaction works as a fun, playful and lighthearted social interaction session:
- This program is comprised of 20-minute episodes, of which we’re releasing 6 to 10 each year, on a digitally streaming platform.
- Parents watch the episodes (20 minutes each) on a tablet, television, PC or phone, and download the PDF tips sheets for those music interaction play sessions.
- They then implement the suggestions with their children.
The social interaction sessions are adaptable and spontaneity are encouraged; in fact, for some children, this is the first or only time they’ve been able to engage in a form of social play that is adaptable for their neurodiversity.
One of the joys of This Way In To Music is watching children with neuro-diversity take the INITIATIVE and get the opportunity to LEAD a game of FUN music interaction, whatever way that suits them best. The smiles on their faces lights up the parents and everyone else in the room!
Note our sessions can be led by carers or teachers, but all of our interaction episodes are fully adaptable. We film our interaction sessions and examples directly with PARENTS and their CHILDREN.
- That’s because our program is primarily aimed to help to parents, carers, siblings and grandparents
- Who spend the MOST time with their children and hence, have the greatest opportunity to engage in interactions that could lead to increased comfort in new situations, and cognitive skills transfer including social engagement skills
- It’s also adaptable to being used in school settings or after-school care or by certified music instructors working with special needs children and others with neurodiversity
BENEFITS of Music Interaction for Neuro-Diversity and Special Needs Families
These music interaction episodes help parents use the power of music to CONNECT with children with neuro-diversity or limited verbal communication skills. So in addition to being ENJOYABLE and FUN, these sessions have potential benefits ranging from increased forms of direct communication to social bonding and reduced isolation.
What we have found in over 20 years of using music interaction with neuro-diverse families:
- Helps children gain COMFORT in new environments including situations when they are learning new skills (research suggests strong cognitive transfer potential)
- Reduces social isolation commonly seen in families with children with neuro-diversity or other special needs
- Gives a reprieve from typical day-to-day stressors of special needs family life (adds a bit of RELAXATION, COMFORT and FUN)
- Alex and his wife are also the parents of two children, and one of their children is on the Spectrum
- You may recognise Alex Smith as the lead singer of the band, Moving Pictures (“What about me?”); Alex Smith also just released a solo album of ballads, called The Thread
Alex’s music interaction program has one key aim: to reduce social isolation for families living with neuro-diversity
- He hopes that, through using music interaction, he’ll help increase moments of joy and relaxation (reprieve) for parents raising children with different neuro-abilities such as being on the Spectrum of Autism or with other different ways of communicating, learning and socialising
- The program suits children with a variety of ability differences and neuro-cognition capacities, from CP to ABI to SPECTRUM to MS and MND
Music Socialisation: Bringing SPECIAL Fun into the lives of Special Needs Families
How many sessions in each annual series are there?
We have filmed the material for our first year’s series. We plan to release between 6 to 10 new episodes each year for at least five (5) years, plus other parenting resources.
- Digitally-delivered series (streaming) watchable via a paid subscription
- Each episode is approximately 20-minutes in length
- Each session builds on the information listed in the preceding session
- Uses everyday home objects and/or second-hand instruments
- REAL LIFE scenarios of parents using Music Interaction, based on Alex’s concepts, with children of varying abilities and cognitive capacities.
The series is particularly designed for parents and others supporting children with neuro-diversity. They aim to help transform families using the EMPOWERING nature of music and social interaction focused on sound, rhythm and music.
When will the series be available?
The first sessions are releasing in 2019 in approximately August or September. We have already spent 4 years filming several different special needs families in Australia, of music interaction examples in real life home settings of using this program with children with different levels of neurodiversity, ability, socialisation, verbalisation,cognition and focus.
- reduced isolation / enhanced sense of belonging
- enjoyment of ‘family time’ and sibling participation
- increased sense of connection and new modes of communication (verbal, pre-verbal and in-between)
- relaxation and parental/child stress relief: “taskless fun”!
- bringing social connection where isolation and ostracism otherwise reigns
This Way In To Music by Alex Smith is a Music Program for families living with neurodiverse conditions, e.g. Autism, Aspergers, Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Cerebral Palsy, Downs Syndrome, Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) or Motor-Neuron Disease (MND).
The program can help families through the entire range of disability conditions and is fully adaptable and easy to learn to use.
Do I need instruments and musical ability?
- No special skills or music ability is needed
- The program uses FLOOR BASED exercises
- Common household objects work just as well as inexpensive second-hand instruments from sites like Gumtree or in second-hand shops
- Or contact us for some ideas about sourcing some instruments if needed (subscribers only)
How can I get my child to participate in music interaction sessions, given my child withdraws from most forms of social interaction?
- That’s the MAGIC of this program — the inherent attraction to sound, rhythm and music
- The interest in sound and rhythm is UNIVERSAL and cross-cultural, and although some neurodiversity is particularly sensitive to sounds, the program is self-led and the child has control; while being introduced to new experiences such as playing with the sounds a guitar makes, or a drum, or a rhythm shaker
Our interest in sound and music is INNATE. Every culture has songs and even nursery rhythms; and the ability to MIMIC others and play games (have fun) is also universal. The key is that the child needs to feel comfortable in order to participate, and that’s what we teach parents, teachers and siblings to provide – COMFORT and CONNECTION. A chance to be themselves, while having fun, and even taking the lead in social engagement in a positive, rewarding way. This can sometimes lead to cognitive transfer of a child becoming more comfortable in new situations, reducing meltdowns and encouraging more social engagement (reducing isolation).
- We show parents ways to provide a COMFORTABLE, CALM yet CONNECTING environment that encourages participation by children with special needs or neurodiversity, such as being on the spectrum of Autism
- Participation is NEVER forced — it’s invited
- Participation, attention, connection and comfort in social settings using music interaction can lead to potentially TRANSFERABLE social skills or cognitive processing enhancements (the brain is NOT static — remember that!)
- Some children also demonstrate virtuoso music abilities – a surprise to parents but a sudden awakening of another skill they didn’t even know their children had
Music Interaction with Alex Smith – Digital Series for FAMILIES living with neuro-diversity including Autism or ASD Spectrum conditions, ABIs, CP, MS, MND and Downs Syndrome.
We include interviews and TIPS from other parents raising children on the spectrum of Autism/Asperger’s or with Downs Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, MND, Multiple Sclerosis, Acquired Brain Injury, Stroke and more.
Transforming Families Living with Communication Differences through the Power of Music and Sound.
Music Interaction program aims to help parents, children, siblings, teachers, and carers who live or work with children with neuro-diverse conditions such as Autism, Cerebral Palsy (CP), Downs Syndrome, Motor Neuron Disease (MND) and Multiple Sclerosis (MS).
The program aims to encourage positive social interactions and creative self-expression for children who are otherwise isolated or restricted in engagements with others, using MUSIC as the conduit to connect and calm.
Adaptable to Suit the Child’s specific level of development, communication styles and cognition.
The Music Interaction program is readily adapted by parents to help meet the capacities of each child being helped.
We know that “where words fail, music speaks” and we know the power of our brains to connect using music.
Welcome to the THIS WAY IN TO MUSIC program pages from parent & musician, Alex Smith.
- We know it can be challenging to have a child, or children, who have different neurological or physical abilities to others in the community.
Founder, Alex Smith, talks about his own experiences being a parent of a child on the Spectrum:
“I know, as I am the parent of a child on the Spectrum (Autism Spectrum).
My wife, Sophie, and I found it frustrating to get our child the attention we felt he needed as he journeyed through his early education years. I ended up going into special needs education (special education) as a Music Interaction Program trainer.
I served for over 20 years in the UK special needs education and music interaction training systems, helping teachers, parents and carers learn these powerful methods. I saw a lot of cognitive transfer of skills and comfort levels in new situations, and I felt called to offer this program and my insights to other parents who want to use the POWER of MUSIC to help their children progress as far as possible in life.”
Founder, Alex Smith
Presenter and Program Founder of This Way In To Music (By Alex Smith)
Producer/Director & Health/Wellness Researcher/Writer, Connie May MHST
Producer/Director, Writer and Health Researcher/Community Engagement Coordinator for This Way In To Music (By Alex Smith)
Special Needs Education Program Advisor/Post-Production, Ric Davidson
Special Needs Education Advisor and Post-Production Advisor for This Way In To Music (By Alex Smith)
With post-production and digital delivery support from Director and Producer, Ron Brown.
Connect with our Team
Request a catalogue or an in person session with one of the This Way In To Music team members. You can also phone us on +61.4184.108.40.206.
We are also in search of CORPORATE SPONSORSHIP or seed funding to complete our first year’s post-production series.
If you want to help, contact (+61) 421 99 55 22 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.