This Way In To Music program by Alex Smith – About our Team
Including Connie May MHST and Ric Davidson
This Way In To Music: Music Interaction
We have one simple mission: Transforming Families Through Music Interaction Sessions. We provide session examples for Music Interaction Play Sessions and best tips to assist parents, siblings, carers and educators helping children living with “DIFFABILITY.”
“This Way In to Music” PROVIDES suggestions for harnessing the power of MUSIC as a communication and social bonding tool. It can be used for nearly all types of diff-ability, including helping families living with children who have non-verbal Autism or are across the Spectrum, or who are wheelchair bound such as with Cerebral Palsy, Multiple Sclerosis or Muscular Dystrophy, or who have other physical or neuro-developmental and communication differences.
Aims and Potential Benefits of the Music Interaction Program by Alex Smith may include:
- REDUCING Social ISOLATION for families and children on the Spectrum OR who are wheelchair bound
- Empowering SOCIAL CONNECTION experiences
- Connecting SIBLINGS who might otherwise feel left out
- IMPROVING connection & communication capacities
- Suggesting NEW IDEAS for encouraging ongoing progress
One of the best potential outcomes of using Music Interaction for children with Autism or other DIFFABILITY is that participation helps individuals with COMFORT-FINDING in NEW situations (which may help reduce ‘meltdowns’). Parents also learn AWARENESS of subtle signals that indicate potential overload and NEW METHODS for managing stressful situations.
This Way In To Music (TM) was developed by Australian musician Alex Smith, lead singer of the band Moving Pictures (original singer of “What About Me” and “Never” as heard on the Footloose sound track).
Driven by personal experience and a passion to inspire positive changes.
A parent of a child with DIFFABLITY, Singer and Founder Alex Smith knows first hand the rewards – and challenges – of raising a child who has a different way of interacting with the world. But “where words fail, music speaks” as the famous saying goes. And that’s what we’re about – using MUSIC to communicate with children with diffability, in a fun, engaging and comfort-building way.
Our Music Program Series
Alex Smith’s music interaction program was launched with the assistance of Ric Davidson (Operations & Media Production) and Connie May MHST (Producer/Director, Community Collaborations and Project Lead).
The first Session release of the Year 1 series of This Way In To Music is targeted for digital delivery between 20-28 February 2018.
The parent support pack (“Adapt Pack”) will also be available on 28 February 2018 and makes an excellent Gift (you’ll get a voucher showing the item was purchased and will be digitally delivered on that date). There’s also a paper/USB option for the Adapt Pack.
What is Diffability?
Diffability is a difference in communication, sensory perceptions, cognitive processing or/or physical motor skills. Diffability is any condition that has an impact on social engagement and intimate connections between people in terms of attention, intimacy (connection) and mimesis.
This Way In To Music by Alex Smith – Making a difference for families who are raising a child, or children, with cognitive, sensory or perceptive differences such as Autism or Asperger’s or Intellectual Disability and/or with physical disabilities including Cerebral Palsy, ALS Motor Neuron Disease (MND), Multiple Sclerosis or Traumatic Brain Injury (acquired brain injury or ABI).
Our Story – Using Music to Connect with Children with Communication Differences or Cognitive Disability
This Way In To Music Program (by Singer Alex Smith, Connie May and Ric Davidson)
What it is: a powerful music-themed program for engaging children in socialisation within the family and education systems, using taskless, spontaneous and joyful music-themed experiences.
It aims to reduce isolation and increase connection. It does NOT rely on instruments or musical ability and any family can learn to experiment with the music themed games and activities we show parents and teachers how to employ for the benefit of the child or children with communication challenges or physical disability.
Our program aims to reduce isolation by providing fun, game-themed “task less” social opportunities using music as a form of engagement. It not only helps enhance family play-time dynamics, parents report it improves emotional connections (social intimacy) and self-regulation skills (comfort in new situations and melt-down prevention) through cognitive transfer.
Meet the This Way In To Music Team
We are a group of musicians, educators and community activists for community changes in relation to families living with diffability.
We believe that “where words fail, music speaks.”
This Way In To Music (TWIM) program is being offered as a digitally delivered series that will be streamable over the web. You can also sample a stand alone session or you can request a UBS version (streamable options, however, are the most affordable delivery method and there’s no waiting time for delivery of available episoded).
Each year, we release 5 sessions of This Way In To Music plus up to 10 additional downloadable resource sheets you can print out to use while you’re enjoying the program. It is fully adaptable to a variety of cognitive challenges, sensory and perception differences and physical disability conditions including for children who get around in wheelchairs.
- These are real-life music interaction session examples with real families.
- These show other parents the strategies and skills that Alex Smith and parents, siblings and teachers of children with disability use to create a joyful social experience with the distinct potential of cognitive skill transfer.
- This program has been used by Alex Smith and his team for over 20 years, and has helped to effectively engage children who are withdrawn, volatile, anxious or seemingly disinterested.
The key benefits of This Way Into Music include:
- reduced isolation
- increased social bonding within families or education systems
- improved socialisation abilities
- exploration of sound and music and how these are created using simple objects or second-hand instruments
- the joys of engaging our innate attraction to rhythm and simple music that crosses all cultures
- the opportunity for the child to have FUN in a shared social environment
- the opportunity for the child to use their own creativity and leadership to create their own games
For some children and families, This Way In To Music can also encourage improvements in the child’s attention or focus, eye contact, communication and comfort in new social situations.
This Way In To Music (TWIM) is specifically designed as a resource for families living with children with Cerebral Palsy, Acquired Brain Injury (ABI), Motor Neuron Disorder (MND), or Multiple Sclerosis(MS). It is particularly helpful for families with children who are thought to be on the Autism Spectrum or who have other neuro-developmental or cognitive or perceptive challenges. It is designed for anyone growing up with a physical, emotional or cognitive challenge or a genetic disorder that impacts the way they communicate with – or engage with -others in the community.
Alex Smith (Musician)
Founder & CEO
Lead Singer of the Australian band Moving Pictures, Musician Alex Smith has raised a child with Autism. He personally understands the challenges that families face when raising a child with a diffability as well as the struggles of siblings who often feel left out.
He lives in Italy with his wife, Sophie, a sculptor. Prior to moving to Italy and founding This Way In To Music several years ago, Alex spent 20 years in Special Needs Education teaching others how to use the power of MUSIC, SOUND, OBSERVATION and CONNECTION to reduce social isolation for children and families adapting to conditions such as Autism, Aspergers, Cerebral Palsy, Muscular Dystrophy, Downs Syndrome, Acquired Brain Injury, Multiple Sclerosis and other neuro-developmental conditions impacting socialisation, communication and temperament regulation.
Producer/Director, Program Lead & Sales/Marketing
Connie May, MHST, is a Writer/Director, Videographer and Digital Marketing expert. Her background includes new program development, product service launches, and education in health care sectors. She has also pursued public health research and wellness-related content writing.
She brings over 25 years experience in marketing, business development, community engagement and counselling.
Operations – Education Programs
Ric Davidson has over 25 years in Education and has worked in Special Needs program development.
He is an expert in film production/budgeting, special needs program solutions and program development.
Parents and teachers find immense value in our music interaction sessions. They use our examples to increase social interaction through music-themed games to help children where a DIFFABILITY impacts their ability to verbalise, communicate, socialise or be comfortable in new situations. Learning to find COMFORT in new situations can even help reduce meltdowns.
We essentially show parents and special needs education teachers how they can harness the power of music – and innate traits of memesis – for comfort, calmness, sustained attention and cognitive transfer in new situations.
Contact us if you’d like a downloadable catalogue of our products and to be added to our monthly e-newsletters featuring helpful tips for parents, teachers and siblings about using innovative music interaction strategies to help children with diffability and communication differences.