How to teach children with autism to speak.

(Some children with autism will not need this method but it can be useful for those who are seriously speech delayed). It is my understanding that there is what is called an autism epidemic in the USA and around the world.  California it seems is especially afflicted in this way for some unknown reason, especially in a part of northern California named Granite Bay.  So there is probably more than one mother, aunty, grandmother, friend etc. out there who may benefit from what I am writing here.
I unfortunately seem to have scored an Australian record for this unhappy business.  I have put an article on my web site mentioning various comments made by people about autism in my family and also autism in general.
The article addresses the question about vaccines, in particular  the MMR vaccine particularly in regard to my oldest child (a daughter). The article gives my daughter’s full vaccination schedule and proves conclusively that she did not receive the MMR vaccine (Measles, Mumps and Rubella combined).
I mention this vaccine because there is a lot of fuss about the
connection between autism and this particular vaccine around the world and there are parents ready to sue governments in the USA and The UK because they maintain that they had normal children and then after the administration of the MMR vaccine their child, and in the case of a lady in Britain who has been with  4  or 5 different men supposedly 5 of her 6 children were “normal” and then became autistic due to the MMR vaccine.
Among her autistic children there were I think at least three different fathers.  So if autism has a genetic component as scientists in the field now  strongly suspect  it would not be too hard in her case to work out whether autism is coming from the mother’s side or the father’s side. (I point out here that autism has afflicted my family both in a sibling of mine who was born in 1965 and who is now deceased and in four of my  5 children), also my children all have the same dad.  If it’s genetic in the case of my children we have two generations of autism and unfortunately it all is on my side of the family.)
If you are interested the article on this is at:
My oldest child was very autistic at the age of 3 and because of this she could not speak. To a mother this is nothing short of alarming. This is the approach which was taken to help her to learn to speak. My daughter received 2 hours of occupational therapy at the largest hospital in Australia (Westmead) which
fortunately was on the same road as our previous home. (Fortunate because I could walk there with my daughter in a stroller. I don’t drive a car).  She received this help for 18 consecutive weeks.
What did they do with her?  Well they played games with her, rolled her over enormous beach balls, got her to play with puzzles and blocks etc.
etc.  This was done by an occupational therapist.  The speech therapist was negative to say the least.  At the end of many weeks of occupational therapy she announced to me that she could not give my daughter any speech therapy. When I asked her why she said it was because my daughter did not have any speech.  This was true but my daughter could hear and has working vocal cords and a brain. The occupational therapist made a bit of a blunder. She gave my daughter a lot of wooden blocks to see what my child would create with them. My daughter put them in a straight row.  Triumphantly the therapist announced “There you are, see she is autistic!”.  I replied “Yes she is autistic but why did you say that?”  “Because all your daughter did was put them in a straight row.  She cannot do anything constructive and sensible with them”.
I told the lady that my daughter had made a train with the blocks. “How do you know” She demanded to know. Because she told me I answered.  My daughter only had a word here or there but I as her mother was practically the only person who could understand her occasional word. Even the dads have difficulty with this understanding because of the fact that they spend much less time with the child than the child’s mother. The Autism association of New South Wales used to come to my home around this time once a week and do their best to stimulate her brain with puzzles and games. They also accompanied her and stayed with her at the local pre-school.  She would not stay there by herself. She cried a lot and became sick if she had to go independently. She was very afraid that no one would come and get her.  I only know what was bugging her at that stage because she
has since told me.
I went to all the church and school fetes and brought up as many
children’s books as I could.  Mainly second hand copies of the Little Golden books series. These were very cheap. Then I obtained large blank page art books.  The pictures from the books were cut out and put one to a page.
I broke down the structure of the English language to it very essence for my daughter. Then I went through the books with her on many occasions and
described with great emphasis slowly each picture in terms like this.
“RABBIT COOKS DINNER”
“BEAR MOWS LAWN”  etc.
The format of my speech was very slow and deliberate”.  The grammar was simply Noun verb noun.  All the trimming were left out.  It would have been futile to Say something like.  The rabbit is mowing the overgrown grass with his brand new  lawnmower.  Doing that to an autistic who is struggling with language problems will probably lose their attention and confuse them. It would even have been worse to say these words in a normal speed and level of voice. The idea in this is not to teach English or English grammar but to give to a child with autism a chance to understand the very beginning of language in this case English.
If the child with autism has this mode of learning to talk will they continue to speak like a newcomer to the USA or Australia or even worse than the beginner in the English class? The answer is no.  Because they can pick up a fuller grasp of the language later on from their parents, and those around them and from T.V. radio etc.
Believe me my daughter’s speech is fairly complex now but she needed this very basic stuff for a long period of time to get her brain started on the ideas of speech. Autism muddles the communication section of the brain and if you overload it with normal flowing language the poor kid sometimes can’t cope and then won’t make any progress in language/speech/understanding.
Mary Ann Matulis
(Australia)
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A Simplified Method of Teaching to Play Music on a piano keyboard, (for the intellectually disabled and also for young children)

music keyboard

This book is under the patronage of  The Holy Infant Jesus of Prague, St. John Bosco a great teacher of youth and St. Cecilia the patron saint of music.  Holy Infant Jesus of Prague please grant blessings and success to this work.

infant-jesus-of-prague-for-blog

St. John Bosco and St Cecilia pray for us and for the success of this work.

An overview of the method

This music learning program is based on a method that was devised and taught by Richard Weber, an American music teacher in late 1950’s and in the 1960’s.  I found an outline of his method in an old magazine article and picked tunes that fitted in with the method. The only notes that are used in this method are the following consecutive notes:  C  D  E  F  G  A.

The C note involved is Middle C on the piano.  Middle C is the C note, which is nearest to the middle of the piano keyboard. (There is more than one C note on the piano).

Many tunes cannot be used, because they require additional musical notes to the six that are listed. There are no sharp or flat notes. (They are the black notes on the piano keyboard).  B notes are also not used in this method.

The method is a simplified method of teaching music because only six notes are used. This simplicity makes the method suitable for teaching mentally disabled children and adults and young children. It is therefore a method that can be used as a stepping stone for further musical development if that is appropriate. More notes and tunes can be introduced later on, if the student shows that he or she can progress to a higher level. It has been noticed that the application of this method helps mentally disabled children and adults to learn better by stimulating their interest.

Richard Weber had great success in teaching mentally disabled children and adults with this method.  Some of them went on to progress in learning other subjects which they previously could not do. It also helped to improve the behaviours and moods of the disabled children who were taught the method. Two music song books using Richard Weber’s method were published in 1968, unfortunately they are no longer available, that is why I made this book.  I have not been able to obtain the books that Richard Weber published, but I hope that somehow I will be able to track them down. If anyone can help me to find copies of these books, please contact me with the details.

Some of the songs included in this book are whole tunes and some are only sections of songs. In the partial songs, the students plays the notes that are supplied and then the teacher can play the rest of the tune or help the student to sing the rest of the song.

The first part of the method is to teach the student to sing the songs so that he or she knows how they sound. Make up two sets of cards that have the individual note letters on them, (One note to each card e.g. C). Show the letter (note) cards to the student and teach him or her what the notes on the card are and then get the student to match the cards with the other set of corresponding cards. Paste or stick the six notes on the piano or the keyboard, even a glockenspiel is suitable. It is an instrument that has metal bars which produce a chiming sound when it is played. These are available from stores which sell musical instruments. There are shops which sell sheets of stickers with letters on them, which are suitable for putting onto the keyboard.

When starting out to play a tune on the keyboard or piano, say to the student. “John we are going to play:  (name the tune here) e.g. Mary had a little lamb”. This is important because music is made up of notes of different lengths.  The song would not sound right even if the right notes were played if the notes were all the same length.  Of course we are dealing with intellectually disabled children and baby steps have to be taken.  Even a small child can sing a song with notes of the right lengths e.g. fast, long etc.  Announcing the name of song helps this concept in the child’s mind.

(When you read music from a music book the music is written in a way which indicates everything that the musician needs to know: which notes to play, how long to play the notes, pace, beat, etc).

When I finished the trial edition of this book, I brought it to my niece who is a normal five year old child attending kindergarten.  She has been taught the alphabet by her mother and she took to it like a duck to water, playing a tune by looking at the notes in the book and matching it to the keys on her electronic music keyboard, which had the six notes stuck onto it, using commercial letter stickers, that her mother had purchased from a bargain store.

To see this success was satisfying, because my niece had been asking if she could go to music lessons like her friends do.  Finances are a bit tight for her parents and the method is going to get her up and running in the music department.  She can take formal music lessons later on, or learn to play the school descant recorder. The instrument and the instruction book are inexpensive. My niece worked out the notes, for the parts of the songs, which I did not supply in full, because they fell outside the six note range which this method is based on. It is good that she can do this, and it points to the fact that this method helps the student to think things out for themselves, and to develop an ear for music.

The school recorder book is so good that students can teach themselves to play the recorder without a teacher. In fact when I was eight years of age, I was taking descant recorder lessons at school taught in a group instruction of about forty children.  I did not have a clue what the teacher was talking about, but one Saturday morning I sat down with the recorder and the book and in a short while I learnt how to play it.  The book was my teacher not the school music teacher!

The recorder is a real musical instrument not a toy. It was once played by the notorious King Henry VIII of England and also by the well known Von Trapp Family of Austria, who were the inspiration for the film The Sound of Music.

This method outlined in this book does not teach music in a formal way going through the usual steps like learning to read music etc.  because it was designed with special needs people in mind and many of them cannot learn music in the ordinary way.  If they do develop their capabilities in this area that can be addressed with more formal music lessons.  I should point out here that some people who have intellectual disabilities, especially people who have autism, actually have special musical abilities. Methods like the one outlined in this book can help to bring them out and develop them.

One of my daughter’s carers mentioned that she is working with a blind girl and lamented the fact that the method could not be used to teach her, the idea then came to me that this book might be able to be  translated into Braille and also that the notes names in Braille could be pasted onto the music keyboard. Learning music in this way might be a bit slower for the blind, than it is for a sighted person, but the student would still learn music, learn the sound of the notes, the position of the keys and could memorise the notes for the tunes.

Formal music lessons (that are specially designed for blind people) could be taken at a later stage. Later on the student could learn to play by ear. i.e. hear a tune and play it. Playing by ear is a natural talent that some people are born with, or this skill can be developed after the person has learnt to play music. The simplified method of teaching music which is presented in this book would be suitable for blind people who have an intellectual disability. It would probably be better for other blind people to learn music by more formal methods.

I do not have any experience working with blind people, so  I am just presenting these ideas as food for thought, for those who do have teaching experience with them, especially in the area of teaching music. The songs included in this book are familiar childrens’ songs, including several nursery rhymes. I mentioned my niece in this posting.  She asked for some Christmas carols written up for her in the format that is outlined here.  First of all;  the carols needed  more than the six notes that this method employs.  Since my niece is of normal intelligence and can read and spell, it was  time for her to learn to read music, but she had become used to the method outlined in this posting. In order to help her, there is a book of Christmas Carols in the EZ play today series. The series has special musical notation, which is very helpful for those who do not have a teacher to help them to learn to play an electronic music keyboard. If you would like to see how they write up this musical notation, have a look at this location on the internet for a sample picture.

http://www.halleonard.com/series/seriesnotation.do?series=EZPLY

and then return to this posting and read on.

I translated the notes into numbers and wrote them down on an old copy of the Christmas Carol music book.  The numbers were put onto stickers and pasted onto her electronic keyboard.  She took to this well.  Later on I will give her a new copy of the book and the numbers will be no longer needed.

music keyboard_with _layers

The piano music keyboard which is pictured above, shows the positions of  the notes which are used in this method.

Click here to see a larger picture of the piano music keyboard  (with the notes for the method).

Index of Songs

Michael Row the boat ashore
Kumbaya
Mary had a Little Lamb
Row Row Row your boat
Old MacDonald had a farm
It’s raining, It’s pouring.
Heidi Heidi Ho
Jingle Bells
Three Blind Mice
Oranges and Lemons
I wrote a letter to my mother
Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
London Bridge
Lavender’s blue
Little Bo Peep
Ten Green Bottles
Silent Night
Mamma’s Little Baby
Looby Loo
O Sussana
Brother John (to the tune of Frère Jacques)

Michael Row the boat ashore
(The whole tune)

C    E    G    E   G

A    G   E

G    A    G

E     G    G   E

F    E   D

C   D   E   D   C

Michael Row the boat ashore alleluia,
Michael Row the boat ashore alleluia.

Kumbaya
(The whole tune)

C    E    G    G    G

A   A    G

C   E     G    G    G

F    E    D    C

E    G    G    G

A    A    G

F    E    D    D

C    F    E

D    D    C

Kumbaya my Lord, Kumbaya
Kumbaya my Lord, Kumbaya
Kumbaya my Lord, Kumbaya
O Lord Kumbaya,
O Lord Kumbaya.

Mary had a Little Lamb
(Whole tune)

E    D    C    D

E    E    E

D    D    D

E    G    G

E    D    C    D

E    E    E   E

D    D    E    D    C

Mary had a little lamb, little lamb, little lamb.
Mary had a little lamb whose fleece was white as snow.

Row Row Row your boat
(Part of the tune)

C    C    C    D    E

E    D    E    F    G

Row Row Row your boat gently down the stream
Merrily merrily merrily merrrily, Life is but a dream.

(Play the non-bold section, sing the bold section).

Old MacDonald had a farm
(part of the tune)

G    G    G    D

E    E    D

Old MacDonald had a farm,
E I E I O
and on that farm he had a duck
E I E I O

(Play the non-bold section, sing the bold section).

It’s raining, It’s pouring.
(Whole tune)

G    G    E    F

G    E    E    G

E    F    G    E

E    G    G    E

E    F    G    G   E

E    F    G    G    G   E

E    A    G    E

It’s raining, It’s pouring,
The old man is snoring.
He went to bed and he
bumped his head and he
couldn’t get up in the morning.

Heidi Heidi Ho
(Full tune)

G    E    G    E

C    C    D    D    D

E    F    G    E

C    G    E    G    E

C    C    D    D    D

E    D    C

E    F    E    D    F

E    D    C    D    E    F

E    D    F    E    D    C

G    E    G    E

C    C    D    D    D

E    D   C

Heidi, Heidi Ho,
The great big elephant
Is so slow,
Heidi, Heidi Ho,
The elephant is so slow.

He swings his tail from side to side
As he takes the children for a ride.
Heidi, Heidi Ho,
The elephant is so slow.

Jingle Bells
(Part of the tune)

E    E    E

E    E    E

E    G    C    D    E

F    F    F    F    F

E    E    E    E    E

D    D    E    D    G

Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way,
O what fun it is to ride in a one horse open sleigh, Hey!
Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way,
O what fun it is to ride in a one horse open sleigh.

(Play the non-bold section, sing the bold section).

Three Blind Mice
(Part of the tune)

E    D    C  E

D   D    C

G    F    E   G

F    F   E

Three blind mice, see how they run, three blind mice see how they run. They all ran up to the farmer’s wife. She cut off their tails with a carving knife.  Did you ever see such a sight in your life as three blind mice.

(Play the non-bold section, sing the bold section).

Oranges and Lemons
(Modified version of the tune)

G    E    G    E    C

D    E    F    D    G    E    C

G    E    G    E   C

D    E    F    D

G    E    C

Oranges and lemons say the bells of St Clements,
When will I see you say the bells of Old Bailey.

I wrote a letter to my mother
(Part of the tune)

C    F    F    G    A

F    A   G    C

F    F    G    A

F    E

I wrote a letter to my mother on the way I dropped it.  Someone must have picked it up and put it in their pocket.

(Play the non-bold section, sing the bold section).

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
(full tune)

C    C    G    G

A    A    G

F    F    E    E

D    D    C

G    G    F    F

E    E   D

G    G    F    F    E

E    D

C    C    G    G

A    A    G

F    F    E    E

D    D   C

Twinkle twinkle little star,
How I wonder what you are,
Up above the world so high,
Like a diamond in the sky.
Twinkle twinkle little star
How I wonder what you are.

London Bridge
(Full tune)

G    A    G    F

E    F    G

D    E    F    E

F    G    G    A

G    F    E    F    G

D    G    E    C

London bridge is falling down,
Falling down, falling down,
London bridge is falling down,
My fair lady.

Lavender’s blue
(full tune)

C   G    G   G

F    E    D    C    C

A    A    A    C

G    G   G   F   E   D

C    F    E    D    C

Lavender’s blue dilly dilly,
Lavender’s green,
When I am king dilly dilly
You shall be queen.

Little Bo Peep
(Part of the song)

C    C    C    C

D    D    D    D

E    F    G    G    F

E    E    D

Little Bo Peep,
Has lost her sheep
And doesn’t know
where to find them.

Leave them alone
and they will come Home,
with their tails
behind them.

(Play the non-bold section, sing the bold section).

Ten Green Bottles
(Part of the tune)

C    C    C    E

D    C    D    E   C

E    E    E    G

F    E    F    G   E

Ten green bottles hanging on the wall,
Ten green bottles hanging on the wall,
And if ten green bottles should accidently fall,
There’ll be nine green bottles hanging on the wall.

Silent Night
(Part of the tune)

G    A    G    E

G    A    G    E

Silent night,
Holy Night
All is calm
All is bright
Round yond Virgin
Mother and child,
Holy Infant so tender and mild.
Sleep in heavenly peace
Sleep in heavenly peace.

(Play the non-bold section, sing the bold section).

Mamma’s Little Baby
(Whole tune)

C    C    A    A

G    A    C    A    G   A

C    C    A    A

G     G    A    E    D   C

Mamma’s little baby
Loves shortning, shortning
Mamma’s little baby
Loves shortning shortning bread.

Looby Loo
(Whole tune)

C    C    C    E

C    G    C    C    C

E    C    D    C    C    C

E    C   G

G    A    G    F

E    D   C

Here we go Looby Loo
Here we go Looby light,
Here we go Looby Loo
All on a Saturday night.

Part 2 of the song: I put my right foot in (hokey pokey)

D    C    C   C

C    C    D    E    E

E    E    E

F    G    G    G    G

G    G    F    E

E    D    D

I put my right foot in,
I put my right foot out,
I put my right foot in
And I shake it all about.
I do the hokey pokey and I
turn around and that
what’s it all about.

(Play the non-bold section, sing the bold section).

O Sussana
(Full tune)

C    D    E    G

G    A    G    E

C    D     E    E

D    C     D    C

D    E    G    G

A    G     E

C    D    E    E

D    D    C

F    F    A    A    A

G    G   E

C    D    C    D

E    G    G    A

G    E   C

D    E    E   D    D    C

O I come from Alabama
with a banjo on my knee,
O I come from Alabama
with a banjo on my knee

O Sussana O don’t you cry for me
cause I come from Alabama with a
banjo on my knee.

Brother John (to the tune of Frère Jacques )
(Almost the full tune except for Ding Ding Dong, Ding, Ding Dong).

C   D   E   C

C   D   E    C

E   F   G

E   F   G

G   A    G    F    E    C

G    A   G    F    E   C

Are you sleeping? Are you sleeping?
Brother John, Brother John,
Morning bells are ringing,
Morning bells are ringing.
Ding, Ding Dong,
Ding, Ding Dong.

Special note: If the notes names for the songs in this music book are made bigger than they are in this posting, they will be able to be seen and identified more easily by the student. The tunes can be copied into a word processor and the size of the text enlarged. Choose a large size text.

I would appreciate any feedback or ideas that you have on this book, to help me to develop it further. Thank you. I can be emailed at:

catacomb@bigpond.com

My name is Mary Ann.

I made up this book primarily for my autistic son, now it will also be used for my autistic daughter as well.  I am keen to share the book with anyone who can benefit from it, e.g. mothers with small children, pre-schools, centres and schools for the intellectually disabled etc. Please let others know where the link to the book is.  Thank you.

If you are not familiar with these songs, purchase a CD or two from the shops.  I purchased two, that were on special yesterday with nursery rhymes songs and other familiar children’s songs. Play the CD to the students. The ones which I purchased were pleasant to listen to even for an adult. I am playing them to my autistic daughter.

Some other matters of interest

The powerful intercession of the Holy Souls in Purgatory for their benefactors.

The Holy Souls in Purgatory can obtain many favours for their benefactors. The web page has accounts of the intercession of The Holy Souls in Purgatory, for their benefactors in cases of illness, addictions, cars that won’t start, infertility problems, serious weight loss problems, protection in accidents, noisy unruly neighbours, conversion, chronic insomnia, their help for people who are experiencing major trouble with city councils, success with projects, employment, real estate, television sets that don’t work properly, finding lost property and trouble with relations, etc. and prayers and ideas on how to help The Holy Souls in Purgatory.

Read my book: Help from Heaven (Answers to prayer),

free on-line at the link provided.

Masses for the Holy Souls in Purgatory through the organisation: Aid to the Church in Need

A good way to assist the Holy Souls in Purgatory is to have Masses offered for them through: Aid to the Church in Need. You can contact them at: 

http://www.churchinneed.org/site/PageServer?pagename=mainpage 

Having Masses offered through this organization is a good way of multi-tasking. You assist the Holy Souls in Purgatory, you support priests in poor areas of the world. The Mass offerings go much further than they would in a developed country. 

For instance the recommended minimum Mass offering in some areas of Australia is $10 (Australian currency).  In Australia this does not go very far, but in a third world country I have been told that it can buy a large sack of rice and feed many people for a week. The people in these third world areas are usually so poor that they can hardly support themselves, yet alone the local priest, going back to the theme of multi-tasking, you are supporting the building up of the Catholic Church in these areas and are in the process fulfilling one of your important obligations as a baptized Catholic. 

You are also building up these communities with their education, infrastructure, health and housing and protecting them from the threat of communism (which will promise them the world and will deliver them misery) and are ensuring that they stay Catholic and not join some other religious denomination. In South American countries, poor Catholics are being diverted in droves into other religious dominations that have lots of financial backing. 

You can also ask the Holy Souls for necessary favours as well, perhaps for conversions and for an end to the culture of death. This last petition is an ever increasing need.  On the TV news last night there was a very unwell man who is planning to go to Switzerland to end his life, because thankfully Euthanasia (murdering yourself) is illegal in Australia, although there are definite pushes to have it legalized. 

I muted the sound of this manipulative TV news item so that my children could not be affected by it and told them that this man probably has someone encouraging him to do this.  I had a particular Australian doctor in mind who we refer to here as “Dr Death”.  I don’t know why he is not put in jail.  Then the camera angle changed and sure enough there was the doctor that I had in mind.  He was behind this unwell man urging him to end his life, just as he had urged others to do so. Unfortunately some of them have listened to him and have ended their lives. Please pray for the conversion of this doctor.