This Way In To Music – Music Programs for Children and Families living with Autism, Aspergers and other ability differences such as Cerebral Palsy, ABI or MND.
Transforming Families Living with Communication Differences through the Power of Music and Sound – Music Programs to help reduce social isolation linked with having a disability or neuro-developmental disorder. Program: This Way In To Music by Alex Smith.
What is THIS WAY IN TO MUSIC all about?
- This Way In To Music is a digitally delivered music-themed program to help families living with disability.
- The music program was developed and designed by musician Alex Smith over 20 years of experience in music interaction in Special Needs Education settings.
- The program aims to help parents, children and teachers who live or work with DIFFABILITY in terms of socialisation needs, communication styles and sensory-perception-and-cognition processes.
- It is designed specifically to assist families who are raising children with various forms of neuro-developmental differences including being on the Spectrum of Autism.
- It’s particularly effective for families living with Asperger’s, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Cerebral Palsy (CP), Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Motor-Neuron Disease (MND), Downs Syndrome and Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) or Spinal Injury.
Our program can help families living with Disability (although we prefer to call it Diffability or Different Ability).
The Music program can be adapted by parents to meet the capacities of each child being helped.
It aims to encourage focused attention and social skills, creative self expression and vocalisation learning by providing comfortable socialisation opportunities and connection – using the power of memesis and sound (music).
What is the aim of the “This Way In To MUSIC” program for children with Autism or other Disabilities?
- Our Program is designed to assist families and teachers or carers in transforming socialisation, play time and skills building capacity in children with special needs or different communication styles.
- The program provides REAL LIFE EXAMPLES of at-home, play based session themes.
- Parents can implement and improvise, using these examples as a basis, using home made instruments or inexpensive store bought versions of instruments – but pots and pans work equally well.
- We’re essentially talking about using small, inexpensive drums or bongos, pots and pans and wooden spoons for percussion, tambourines, hand shakers, ukuleles and/or guitars – basically anything that can be used to generate a sound and attract attention.
- But it’s performed in an entirely invitational manner that encourages gentle, comfortable social interaction and engagement between family members or classroom participants – not demanded attention and not forced attention, but using the power of curiosity, mimesis and sound to connect and communicate in a playful, task-less yet skills-building capacity.
The tools and tips This Way In To Music provides include special strategies to meet FIVE key Music Interaction and Music Socialisation objectives:
- AROUSAL OF INTEREST – Increasing a child’s willingness to engage and connect, socially, with others by participating in music-themed games (reducing social-withdrawal or self-isolation tendencies).
- ATTENTION – Sustaining attention in an interaction between family members including siblings (at home, it’s primary purpose) AND with teachers and other classroom participants/peers.
- MEMESIS – Developing natural tendencies to imitate (mimic) as well as to lead via imitation games that evoke sounds or sound-related games made with voices, names, objects or musical instruments.
- COMFORT – Building comfort in a controlled setting to enhance connection and communication (verbal or non-verbal); with a potential for cognitive transfer.
- COMMUNICATION and CONNECTION – Generating mimesis and recognising and encouraging self-regulatory behaviours; to increase a child’s comfort with changes and help minimise situations of overwhelm which lead to ‘meltdowns’.
Who developed the session strategies underpinning the This Way In To Music program for children with Autism, Asperger’s, Cerebral Palsy or Acquired Brain Injury (ABI)?
- The program was developed and honed by musician and lead singer of Moving Pictures, Alex Smith.
- Alex is a parent of a child with Asperger’s (now a young adult) and he was frustrated with his early dealings with the educational system for children with special needs.
- Inspired by what he saw as a gap in educational strategies for children with neuro-developmental differences, he then spent over 20 years working in Special Needs Education and Music Interaction in the UK (along with small training sessions in Australia while on Tour).
- Together with Healthcare Researcher and Director/Producer Connie May MHST, Education Advisor Ric Davidson, and Co-Producer/Director Ron Brown, the program is being brought to families across the world through digital means, beginning in late 2018.
History of Alex Smith:
- As the lead singer of the Australian band, Moving Pictures, Alex Smith is best known for the hit songs “What About Me” and “Never” (heard on the Footloose soundtrack).
- Most recently, Alex toured with other famous musicians in the Red Hot Summer Tour in Australia. He is also releasing a new album in October 2018, but his primary focus is on his This Way In To Music program.
- Alex Smith became involved in Special Needs Education and Music Interaction as a Trainer/Educator and Parent of a child on the Autistic Spectrum. He spent decades doing reading and research on Autism Spectrum and Asperger’s conditions.
- He had the goal of empowering his son as well as the teachers, families and kids he helped in the Special Needs Education system in the UK.
- In creating his music program, Alex drew on numerous resources and extensive experience (including experimentation, trial and error) to compile a proprietary system of working with children with Special Needs, using MUSIC as an engagement and social-learning tool.
Alex’s motto is: “be willing to experiment” and “get to floor-level participation.”
He now brings his learning to other parents, carers, teachers and educators with a passion for using music interaction towards positive changes. All sessions are required to have an adult FAMILY MEMBER in attendance and ALL family members are encouraged to participate.
Other facts about singer Alex Smith, founder of This Way In To Music (Music Program for children with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, ABI, MND, MS or other disabilities or differences):
- Alex Smith and his wife Sophie (a renowned UK Sculptor/Artist) are loving parents to two amazing children.
- They reside in Italy most of the time but spend a lot of time in Australia, where Alex was born.
- One of their two children is on the Spectrum of Autism (diagnosed with Asperger’s).
- Hence, the Music Interaction Program founder and episode presenter, Alex, has first-hand experience raising a child with a DIFFABILITY and how that impacts the family dynamic and education system decisions.
- He has an additional 20 years of working with hundreds of families and children with special needs using music interaction techniques.
He has done extensive personal research into how to best help families adapt to the challenges they face when their children move through the education system and/or socialise or study with peers who have different capacities and unfamiliar ways of processing events.
We know that “where words fail, music speaks” and we know the power of our brains to connect using music.
- This program uses music-themed sessions to engage (stimulating attention), connect (encouraging emotional intimacy), and encourage sound-themed imitations (mimesis) for using music and musical instruments to create enjoyable and productive social interactions with others in the family or learning group.
- There are several methods of participation or involvement for parents interested in the program.
This Way Into Music Program: Designed as a Series (Year 1, Year 2, Year 3 and beyond) of 6 to 8 digitally streamed sessions that parents, carers and teachers can use to learn and hone these skills.
- Digitally streamed – one episode or the yearly series are available (affordable annual subscriptions).
- Downloadable guides and resources to help parents adapt to initial diagnosis.
- Filmed interviews with experts in Autism and with other parents, to help parents understand the different ranges of professionals that MAY be able to assist with their child’s development, education and growth – and which approaches may be worth trying first in terms of effectiveness or likelihood to suit their child’s unique capacities.
Annual Subscriptions – Digital Streaming and Downloadable Formats
- Each year starting in late 2018, we will release streaming video sessions (5 to 8 Digital Sessions each year) of real session experiences with real families and music interaction program method examples.
- We will be featuring several different families who have used Alex’s Music Interaction and socialisation music therapy game theory with their children who have a disability or neuro-developmental/cognitive processing difference.
- There will also be downloadable resources and special-needs parenting tips from Alex Smith and other parents of children on the spectrum.
- In addition to the core series sessions, extra Music Interaction sessions will be released as new research emerges in areas of parenting, special needs education, teaching, music interaction and disability.
The cost for one episode (Music Interaction Program segment) ranges from $19.95 to $29.95 each, and the annual series (renewable each year for five years) is only $99.95 USD/AUD each year.
Contact us or visit our Music Interaction Program product pages for details.
“Emergency” Parent Pack: The Adapt Pack
Adapting to Hearing a Diagnosis of Autism, Asperger’s, Cerebral Palsy, ABI or other Diff-ability
- Getting a diagnosis (or suspected diagnosis) of your child’s diffability can be confronting for most parents and family members.
- So we’ve created Special Resources for parents who have just found out their child has a DIFFABILITY, such as Autism or Asperger’s (on the spectrum), Cerebral Palsy, Multiple Sclerosis, MND, or an Acquired Brain Injury (ABI).
The Special Needs Parent ADAPT Pack is only $19.95 (digital delivery format). Contact us for other formats (prices vary).
The ADAPT Pack includes one REAL LIFE EXAMPLE session along with downloadable tips sheets for printing or laminating.
Price: $29.95 (PDF/digital delivery option) AUD/USD.
Contains: One session/lesson, Adapt Pak and downloadable/printable TIPS sheet.
Optional: $49.95 for a USB stick and printed version.
Shipping outside of Australia or the USA may incur additional shipping and handling fees; contact us for details if you prefer the non-digital version. Delivery time frames for digital: As per the release schedule or upon order for pre-released segments. Delivery time frames for USB/paper versions: Allow up to 20 days post session release date.
- You do NOT need special instruments to employ the strategies of Music Interaction that we share in our TWIM program.
- However, we have arranged for discounted packs of musical instruments for TWIM families at a special rate.
- Contact us for a catalogue (available in March/April 2018). We will be offering four (4) different packs to suit all budgets and needs and these will include special discount offers from Music Store sponsors.
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, 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, Ric Davidson
Special Needs Education Advisor and Post-Production Advisor for This Way In To Music (By Alex Smith)
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.