About Us: Passionate about making a difference for families living with difference
Alex Smith with Wendy B, mother of a 19 year old boy living with profound Autism, after filming a session of the This Way In To Music learning series.
THIS WAY IN…TO MUSIC is a new, digitally delivered music interaction learning program (online training course modules)
- Two Online Music-Interaction Course Streams:
- FAMILY – Parents / family members, siblings
- PRACTITIONER – Music Instructors, Special Needs Teachers, Therapists, Group Home Leaders, Support Workers/Carers
- Our program can HELP families raising children with special needs and neuro-diversity as well as other support professionals working in the disability and education sectors
- Featuring a series of online educational sessions to help participants learn how to use music interaction with children in their care
- The practitioner series is to enhance the skill sets of people working in special needs education, music therapy, teaching and disability care
- Read more on our home page
Our Team: Alex Smith (L), Connie May MHST (Center), Ric Davidson (R) and Ron Brown (shown below).
The THIS WAY IN TO MUSIC Team – Details
Our Program was created by Alex Smith after he spent over 20 years in Special Needs Education and music interaction sessions. Alex is also the father of a child On the Spectrum of Autism. Alex still tours with his band, Moving Pictures and he, his wife Sophie and his two children currently live in Italy. The other team lives in Australia (Victoria and New South Wales) and Alex frequently devotes his time to filming music interaction sessions between music tours and the launch of his new album, The Thread.
The Team Behind Our Program
Founded by Australian Singer ALEX SMITH, and led by Writer/Director/Producer and Researcher Connie May MHST, Special Needs Education Program Advisor Ric Davidson, and production support from Producer/Director and Sound Editor Ron Brown. This Way In To Music will aims to help parents ADAPT more comfortably to the needs of raising a child with a neuro-diverse condition or communication difference and/or learning difficulty – physical, socially, psychologically or linguistically.
All text, images and videos on this website are fully copyright protected. Reproduction of any kind of our proprietary program, materials, images, videos and content is a prosecutable offence.
This Way In To Music: Music Interaction and “Social Music Therapy” for Families with Autism or Asperger’s, or other Disabilities including Cerebral Palsy, Acquired Brain Injury (ABI), MND, Multiple Sclerosis and Downs Syndrome.
Philosophy of THIS WAY IN TO MUSIC (In brief)
- Socialisation, communication and connection through Music Interaction Sessions
- Reducing social isolation and increasing social skills and family enjoyment
- Discovering RELAXATION, CONNECTION AND JOY in the day to day lives of families living with neuro-diversity and special needs
- Easy to follow formats – 20 to 30 minute e-learning episodes and downloadable session sheets
- Fully adaptable to different ability levels and a wide range of neurodiverse conditions
- Ideal for home use as well as teaching environments
- Encourages grandparents, siblings, parents and other family members to participate
Each episode of This Way In To Music demonstrates fun, music-themed social interaction opportunities that have the potential for building comfort, connection and self-expression.
Driven by personal experiences and a passion to inspire positive changes.
A parent of a child with neuro-diversity (ASD/Asperger’s), Singer and Founder Alex Smith and his wife know 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 our program is all about – using MUSIC and SOUND to communicate with children with neuro-diversity, in a fun, engaging and comfort-building way, so that they can feel the sense of belonging, fun and connection that others in our society come by so easily.
Our Music Program Series provides social interaction opportunities for families and children living with Neuro-Diverse conditions.
Alex Smith’s music interaction program was launched with the assistance of Ric Davidson (Operations & Media Production) and Connie May MHST (Writer/Producer/Director, Collaborations and Project Lead) and Ron Brown, post-production advisor/co-Director). Details below. We are keen to hear from sponsors for our first year’s episodes, forming the basis of the four further years of session releases.
The Music Interaction Online Training Course Sessions of our Year 1 Series of This Way In To Music are targeted for digital delivery by February 2020.
It makes a great gift for families living with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, MND, Multiple Sclerosis and ABI/Acquired Brain Injury or Downs Syndrome.
Using Music to Connect with Children with Communication Differences or Cognitive Differences
- 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.
- The program aims to reduce isolation and increase connection.
- The music interaction program delivery methods do NOT rely on instruments or musical ability — any family member, teacher or therapist can learn to experiment with the music-themed games and sound-based activities.
- We show parents and teachers how to employ — and adapt — a variety of music interaction techniques for the benefit of children with communication challenges or physical ability differences, and limited to advanced verbal communication skills.
Meet our This Way In To Music PROGRAM Team – a Synopsis of who we are and what we stand for
- Musicians, parents, families, educators, media commentators and community engagement leaders
- Encouraging compassionate and inclusive understandings of living with NEURO-DIVERSITY .
- We believe that “where words fail, music speaks.” (Hans Christian Andersen quote/paraphrase).
The key benefits of This Way Into Music program for children with Autism or other disability:
- reduced isolation and increased socialisation in a playful, “stress-free” manner
- increased social bonding within families or education systems
- improved socialisation abilities and/or language communication skills
- 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
How? Through exploration of sound and music in taskless ‘play sessions’ – created using simple objects or second-hand instruments.
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 perceptual 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.
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.
Alex Smith (Musician)
Founder & CEO
Lead Singer of the Australian band Moving Pictures, Musician Alex Smith has raised a child On the Spectrum of Autism (Asperger’s or ASD). 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 neurodevelopmental conditions impacting socialisation, communication and temperament regulation. He is an avid self-researcher into all aspects of different abilities (formerly called disability) and is a fan of Author and Autism Expert Tony Attwood, in Queensland, and numerous other writers. EMAIL us and opt in to our e-newsletter for a list of books recommended for parents of children on the spectrum and/or with other ability differences / neuro-diversity.
Connie May MHST
Producer/Director, Program Lead, Health Researcher/Writer & Community Engagement/Digital Marketing
Connie May, MHST, has a Masters degree in Health from the University of Queensland and a Business Administration/Marketing Degree from the University of Texas. She moved to Australia in 2001, and has worked in various private health, public health and education/training sectors. She is an author, Writer/Director, Videographer and Digital Marketing expert with distribution expertise and education writing skills. Her background includes public health and communications research, new program development, product launches, and education and health care research and content writing. She has numerous insights into how special needs family situations impact the emotional, mental, practical and social outcomes of families living with neuro-diversity. In addition to filming the series and working with families with special needs, Connie May is also co-authoring a book with Alex Smith about the value of MUSIC INTERACTION in the lives of individuals who struggle with the day-to-day and social exclusion. Her background includes digital marketing, content writing and over 25 years experience in marketing, business development and community engagement.
Operations – Education Programs – Post-Production & Special Needs Education Advisor
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.
Supported by Ron Brown, Producer/Director, who has produced over 1500 films through his career.
- Parents and teachers find immense value in our music interaction sessions as examples to inspire curiosity and parenting-innovation to increase child-family and child-others engagement.
- They use our examples to increase social interaction through music-themed games to help children where a disability or condition such as Autism or Asperger’s or Cerebral Palsy impacts their ability to verbalise, communicate, socialise or be comfortable in new situations.
- Learning to find COMFORT in new situations MAY even help parents and children reduce overwhelm that leads to meltdowns.
- Based on 20 years of Special Needs Music Interaction education, and founded by Alex Smith, after researching, implementing and adjusting various ideas for utilising the power of music for families with children with special needs.
We essentially show parents and special needs education teachers how they can harness the power of music – and innate traits of mimesis – for comfort, calmness, sustained attention and cognitive transfer in new situations.
Contact us on +61 421 99 55 22 or by email 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 disability (diffability) and communication differences.