My 5 year old son, Bryn, has autism.
When Rani first met him he was completely non-verbal, (apart from making clicking sounds and moaning).
He had very limited attention span, was easily distracted and did not make eye-contact or engage with people.
I found it very difficult to bond with him and this saddened me deeply.
After trying various other therapies and attending numerous courses, I considered trying music therapy.
I hoped that it would help me connect with him on a basic level. I already knew he enjoyed music because it had a calming affect on him. I hoped it was something we could do together and share an enjoyable experience with each other.
Rani was referred to me through a friend who had found music therapy successful with he own son.
When I first met Rani I was struck by her extremely calm and understanding manner.
She has sound knowledge of ASD (autistic spectrum disorder) and what having this disorder entails.
Developmental delays (mostly verbal and social) and sensory integration processing difficulties.
She understood about his dysregulated episodes (moods) and that it was extremely frustrating and tiring, not only for Bryn, but for myself, his older brother and my husband.
We were desperate for help.
We were desperate to help him anyway we could.
Rani came to our house to conduct the therapy sessions. It's where Bryn feels most secure.
She came on a weekly basis.
Initially, she just worked alongside him. Getting to know his likes and dislikes. She allowed him to lead the sessions. If it meant we needed to go outside for music, Rani would accommodate for that. There was a "no pressure" approach. Bryn started to trust her.
From these initial sessions, Rani was able to develop an individual programme that was based on Bryn's needs and interests.
It involved repetition and a familiar routine.
She introduced different types of instruments sounds and visuals to keep him interested.
During these sessions, I noticed his engagement level increased from 10 mins to 30mins.
Bryn showed interest. He smiled, jumped, clapped, made eye-contact and was vocal.
We were getting somewhere. It was encouraging.
Each week there was more progress with engagement. More eye-contact, cuddles and his task persistence improved.
He also appeared excited in anticipation of Rani's arrival.
Then.... One day.... Bryn made ALL the sounds of the animal visuals eg. Moo for Cow/ meow for cat .
A couple of sessions later he named the animals themselves. He said "Go" and "Hello". He could fill in missing words to familiar songs if you paused in the middle or end of a verse.
He seemed empowered, happier, more regulated and calm.
During these sessions I felt a real connection with Bryn. For that hour we ALL enjoyed ourselves. We ALL had fun.
I would highly recommend Rani and her music therapy experience to anyone wanting to engage and connect with their child in a positive, relaxed and enjoyable way.
She allowed me to "enjoy" him. I am forever grateful for that.
The music therapy sessions we had were for one of our high needs students. ASD with limited to no communication. The sessions had been designed around his communication needs and interactions. During the course of the sessions the child was observed communicating, using language and interacting with both Rani and the teacher / aides. These sessions met the needs of the child and I was really impressed with the way they went. Great to have follow up notes of each session (as I didn't attend all sessions).
Rani was able to adapt her programme to meet the needs of the child and took the lead from him each session. This was a very beneficial service to which I will be applying for another grant to have it again for other students at our school in the future.
Hutt Central School
“I want to express my sincere appreciation to you and all the fabulous support workers at xxxx – as you know Nan has had a rough 4 months but the Music Therapy really has made an amazing difference overall.
She has gone from screaming to smiling, and is actually eating again!
When we pick her up on a Friday afternoon she’s happy and dancing and will sing, I’m seeing the person who raised me again and there are no words to describe how wonderful that is.
I’ve not only seen a difference in Nan but also everyone else who seems to have been recharged, meaning everyone is alert and happy.
Rani’s music therapy is absolutely amazing! I’ve been telling everyone!
My family are amazed that Nan is singing and dancing, some are even shocked as they didn’t think it was possible at this age.
Thank you all so much for Rani’s music therapy sessions. This had absolutely been the turning point for Nan and has allowed for me to continue to care for her at home when it was honestly looking very bleak.”
Words from a clients granddaughter
DEMENTIA MELODIES Music is helping Wairarapa elders with advanced dementia reconnect with the world around them and reunite with seemingly lost memories. Trust House Community Enterprise and the Roy and Jan Mace Charitable Trust have granted funding for Enliven’s Kandahar Court to run music therapy with residents. Kandahar Home recreation office Di McCuish says music therapy, which involves interactive musical performances, is making a notable difference to the residents’ lives already. “It is just awesome. Elders who don’t normally participate in activities are participating in the music therapy sessions,” says Di. “One resident used to play the trombone and he’s only played it once over the past few years he’s lived here. The music therapy session inspired him to get it out again!” Di explains that music therapy is proven to be very beneficial to bringing back memories with songs. “The music therapist sings one-on-one to residents in the group and gets down to their level and makes eye contact. She asks them about the memories that come with the songs which usually results with the resident recalling a memory. It’s quite amazing.” Mike Keyworth, manager of Kandahar Court and Kandahar Home, says Enliven will be seeking funding to continue to offer music therapy. “It is proven that singing and music reduces social isolation and gives elders the chance to reminisce and share stories about themselves through music, which draws on memories,” says Mike. “Music therapy has so many potential benefits and we’re very excited to see what it will do for our residents.” Kandahar Court and sister-site Kandahar Home are both operated by Enliven, part of the not-for-profit organisation Presbyterian Support Central, and provide a full spectrum of aged care including dementia care, rest home and hospital level care, as well as respite, health recovery and day programmes.