This Way In to Music | A One Generation Changes Music Project
What type of music interaction program is “This Way In To Music?” and is it only for families with disability?
The program is designed for use by parents and/or teachers and carers working for children with special needs and/or social anxiety, including individuals with an interest in music or sound.
- A music-themed, sound-focused social interaction program for families living with children with learning difficulties, neuro-diversity, autism, social anxiety and other special needs
- An additional skill set to help teachers, carers, music instructors and music therapists engage with students with limited verbal capacity and other neurological disorders
- Evidence-based resources including downloadable guide sheets — informed by experts with over 20 years of music interaction in educational settings and/or caring/parenting of children with special needs
- Delivered via the internet of things (IOT)
WHO is the program suitable for?
Who can This Way In To Music help in terms of interests, engagements and interactions?
Music interaction programs can help individuals with various differences in cognition, verbal communication skills, socialisation, physical abilities and other ability differences.
Originally designed for children with Autism, Aspergers or Cerebral Palsy, the program is fully adaptable to a multitude of neuro-diverse conditions. These conditions include, but not limited to:
- Acquired Brain Injury (ABI)
- Autism Spectrum conditions (ASD)
- Cerebral Palsy
- Down’s Syndrome
- Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
- Motor Neuron Disease (MND)
- Shyness or social anxiety
- Spinal injuries
While there is no guarantee every person or family living with an ability difference (or social shyness/social avoidance) can be helped through music interaction, our experience has shown positive impacts in social engagement, non-verbal through verbal communication and family respite times.
And the founder (Musician Alex Smith) has first-hand experience as a parent AND as a music interaction instructor in special needs education for over 20 years; and he’s devoted decades of research, practice and insight into creating this brilliant music interaction learning series program.
What does music interaction DO?
How music engagement and sound-based social-interactions help individual children is unique.
- That’s because every child with a special need, medical condition and/or delayed learning/social skills challenges is one of a kind.
- Just like all other humans — no two are the same.
Despite not being able to promise major transformations, primarily because there are so many dynamics at play with children with special needs — and because each child, family, teacher and therapist is unique — our aim for Alex Smith’s music interaction training course is to help participants:
- Generate potentially transferable social engagement and communication skills for the individual with the neurological difference or learning difficulty
- Encourage children living with a disability to take the lead in a creative social setting
- Enable connection, fun, and sound-themed engagement
- Assist families find increased ways to find relaxation and ‘time out’ from otherwise typically stressful family environments where socialisation is either lacking OR feels substandard and hard to come by
- Provide coping resources and tools for parenting or teaching children with special needs and care considerations
How? By providing ideas for enjoyable social engagement activities — using the power of music and the intrigue of sound, innate in every human even though we have obvious preferences for certain sounds and unique aversions to other sounds — to help benefit the child, their entire family and/or caring circles including schools, teachers and therapists.
Skills that relate to socialisation, collaboration, comfort, increasing eye-contact and person-to-person connections can be enhanced by music interaction experiences and may be transferable skills in terms of helping individuals experiencing:
- Avoidance of social engagement
- Social anxiety
- Delayed communication skills
- Learning Difficulties
- Relaxation and comfort in otherwise stressful environments
- And for some but not all individuals with neurological disorders or and/or physiological challenges, aggression related to an inability to communicate effectively using other tactics
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.
- Some of these challenges include isolation, stress, multiple specialist appointments and family scheduling conflicts.
- With an easy-to-use music interaction program, families can build in times of relaxation, socialisation, connection and playful relaxation.
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.
The program is specifically designed to combat the isolation and challenges facing special needs parents today, and to help special need teachers and carers develop new skills to assist children with neurological differences and learning disorders or communication delays.
How is This Way In To Music delivered?
This Way In To Music is now available as an e-learning program, an online resource for parents, carers, music instructors, music therapists and others working with children with special needs, from pre-verbal to highly communicative individuals.
- It’s delivered online via digital learning episodes
- Can be taken individually or as a series
- Assessments at the end of modules help ensure knowledge of music interaction — the key DOs and DON’Ts of music-themed engagement – are understood in a way that can benefit
- individual(s) with special needs
- their families (parents, step-parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts and uncles)
- music instructors who seek to work with children on the spectrum
- other professionals with neuro-diverse conditions/communication challenges.
- who live with children with communication, socialisation and learning challenges due to neuro-diverse conditions.
Release date (estimated): The series first e-learning modules will be available in February 2020 via a digital online learning program.
How much does an online module for This Way In To Music – Music Interaction Training – cost?
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, a solo musician (“The Thread”) as well as the lead singer of Moving Pictures, who’s songs are some of the most well-known across the world.
As a lead singer, you’ll remember him from the song “What about me” – a popular hit song still played frequently on radio stations and music devices across the world — as well as his voice on Moving Pictures song(s) on the soundtrack of the movie Footloose.
Alex Smith’s solo album, The Thread, is a beautiful bluesy-folk CD that he’ll be playing while on tour in Australia later this year. Getting rave reviews, this solo work was released in 2019.
About Musician Alex Smith, Founder of This Way In To Music
- Devoted over 20 years to working in special needs education as a music interaction facilitator in the UK
- Created interaction session resources for several years, volunteering his time to work with families of children with special needs (filmed sessions as examples of the music interaction sessions/exercises)
We are currently in the development/publishing stage of our first series of episodes.
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 Connie May or Alex Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- This Way In To Music is a series of educational course modules designed to help families living with disabilities:
- reduce social isolation
- increase moments of joy and relaxation (fun)
- bring more comfort into the life of special needs families
- assist in developing transferable skills
- Guided by science and years of personal and professional experience in special needs education; informed by global experts in Autism and Aspergers (Alex Smith is a huge fan of Tony Atwood, the renowned Queensland Australia based Asperger’s expert and author of numerous Asperger’s books including the Complete Guide to Aspergers Syndrome).
- Real-life examples (filmed sessions of families using the interaction program, including different severity levels of Autism/Asperger’s diagnosis and other atypical-neurological conditions
- Adaptable guidelines and in-home play sessions can be implemented nearly anywhere
It’s also an affordable program, available in single sessions or as a series.
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 and philanthropists 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 to 40 minute online learning episodes and take online assessments to ensure the knowledge is transferred to the parents, teachers, music instructors and music therapists.
- Certificates of Completion will be provided on successful completion of the program surveys and assessments.
- Participants complete the online learning episodes on a PC and download music interaction play sessions.
- They then implement the suggestions with their children and/or the children in their practice as a music instructor, music therapist or special needs education teacher or carer.
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.
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.
- We know that “where words fail, music speaks” and we know the power of our brains to connect using music.
- 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.
Thank you for visiting THIS WAY IN TO MUSIC’s 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 +61.422.214.171.124.
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 email@example.com.