On World Down Syndrome Day, we’re thrilled to publish this guest blog from Cassandra Dinkelman and the Gorgeous George about how music has positively influenced her son’s life.
As a child, I was in the Primary School Choir and recorder group from about Grade 2. I moved on to instrumental music, continuing in the choir all through my school years. I loved the camaraderie of being in the band, the sense of achievement when we won competitions and toured.
I became a teacher and music naturally affected everything. Working with Prep aged children I realised that it was easier to get something done, understood or expressed through music.
I loved that when I sang to my class they would sing in response, or sing along, whichever was appropriate. We used music to get active in PE classes, tidy up, or change our moods.
Having music in my son’s life was never a question
George was born premature and his first six months were filled with hospital visits. I sang to him every day.
I was desperate to find a music group that we could attend together, because in my own life music had brought joy to every aspect. I knew how positively it would affect his too.
From a soothing lullaby at sleep time, calming him when he was upset, eventually teaching him about his own body, learning the words and actions to his favourite songs, assisting in co-ordination, gross motor movements, listening skills and of course joining in with his friends.
I found Miss Vicky first. I sent her a message explaining that George has Down Syndrome and that I was keen to positively influence his life with music.
She directed me to a group that was perfect for us, with Miss Kate as the Music Therapist.
From the moment we stepped into the room, I felt like we were ‘home’
Before long it was easy to see a familiar layout to the classes. This helped the children to know what to expect, and gave them an opportunity to choose activities within the session.
At home it was easy to follow the same format, singing songs, playing instruments, exploring movement and senses. Enjoying time together doing something that was fun, yet therapeutic.
George is now almost 4 years old and I can honestly say that music is a massive part of his life. Although his spoken vocabulary is limited, he regularly requests songs to sing through actions and signing.
More than any other toy in the house, he seeks out musical instruments first, particularly the guitar (his ukulele) because two of his favourite people in the world (Miss Kate and Anthony Wiggle) play and he loves to play along.
Currently we have a microphone with backing music to encourage George to sing. He loves watching himself play the guitar and sing in front of the mirror.
I feel sure it won’t be long before his joyful babble in music class turns into coherent words then sentences.
I can’t imagine our lives without music and Music Therapy
The sheer pleasure written all over George’s face when music is involved and the adoration for his musical heroes.
The simple ways that music has turned therapy into enjoyment, a treat. I firmly believe every child has the right to access such joyous occasions.
We owe it to them to share music and it’s magic every day!
We offer music therpay programs to groups and individuals from a variety of respite centres, schools, disability services, community and child safety organisations, as well as HCWA and NDIS participants.