Music Therapy for Autism : How to use simple instruments to help children

everyone welcome back to the rhythm tree my name is Ryan John a board certified
music therapist and I’m gonna give me some more great
tips on how to use music to help children with special needs today the topic today how to use simple
percussive instruments to you bond with children with special
needs and connect with them and work on eye contact and communication I’m gonna teach you some easy great ways
to do that at the very end share a video clip me working with the child with
autism that illustrates these techniques all right
before we jump into some fun instruments and ideas I want to make sure that you signed up my
free newsletter I’ve got a link right below I’m gonna give you exclusive videos great ideas
is just more of this great stuff so let’s jump into it instruments my
favorite ones are little moraccas kid size maracas
colorful little ones awesome colorful shakers rhythm sticks simple percussive rhythm sticks and little tambourines. I like the ones without
the heads you can stick your hand through so let’s talk about some other things
you can do. In this video coming up you’ll see that I hold on to this part of the tambourine and
have my client hold onto this part and we play that way together so that’s a great way to face a child and you can do like a little row, row, row,, your boat
or you could sing a little song with them and then suddenly stop and have them
communicate they want more so that’s a nice way to work on some speech
communication goals yeah that’s why I love these little tambourines yes same things were shakers. If a child is
unable to hold on to it or they tend to drop them on the floor you can hold on to it and they can put
their hands on it as you sit face to face and again do a little rocking a little singing
in this video clip I just used the melody skip to my Lou and I just change the words up a little
bit so I prompt my client to work on saying yes
so much great fun stuff you can do with instruments oh by the way these are all the same
instruments I including my DVD and Music kit you can check that out on my store page if
you’re interested and I hope you enjoy this clip if you do please give me a thumbs up if you are
youtube and send me a comment. Like share on social media I really appreciate it. Thanks so much I’m I say yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes should we do some more yes Let’s play those shakers today Let’s play those shakers today Let’s play those shakers today Let’s all play today I say yes yes is yes yes yes I say yes I say yes yes yes me twinkle twinkle little star how I wonder what you are up above the world so high like a diamond in the sky Got to look yes Twink twinkle Grab on! little star how I wonder what you are up above the world so high twinkle twinkle little star how i wonder what you are how i wonder what you are and stop them


  1. Thanks for sharing this!  I would like to share it with friends and colleagues who have hearing or auditory processing difficulties, but the captions are inaccurate in some places.  Can you correct the captions?  If you need assistance, you might consult CaptionMatch or the Do It Yourself page at CCAC Captioning dot org.  Thanks!
    Judy Bailey, Centreville, VA 

  2. thanks for sharing your trip. It is inspiring, helpful, and easy to understand. I attended to your lecture at NER conference 2 years ago. I used your tip with my clients and it work out!!!! so glad that I found another of your tip on youtube!!!! Thank you!!!!!

  3. Hi Ryan I love your ideas I work in Edinburgh as a music specialist with children with autism. Where do you get the small tambourines from? Great idea for you to hold on with pupil.

  4. Hi Ryan,
    I am currently a junior in high school and I am on my way to figuring out what I want to do with my life after school. I've always had a strong passion for music and I participate in my school's wind ensemble (I play the clarinet). Although I love music, I can't say that I'm the greatest singer. Music therapy has begun to greatly interest me, but I'm not quit sure if it has a chance of becoming my future, since I can't sing. Do you have any thoughts or advice?

  5. Hi Ryan, I'm a senior in high school who is on their way to college. I want to go into music therapy. I'm a very good singer but I can't play guitar. Is that okay?

  6. This was super helpful! I am a Music Ed undergrad and this was a great aid in some BOCES work I am doing this semester.  Thanks!

  7. Hey Ryan. I'm a music therapist here in tropical Trinidad & Tobago. Great job on the vids and sharing your ideas/resourses. What's the name of the App you're using for "Yes"/"No" responses? Thanks.

  8. Hello Ryan, I'm a M.T student at Temple University, I just wanted to say thank you for sharing this video I found it to be very useful for understanding this population.   

  9. Music has done so much for my 3yr old, especially from YouTube. He wouldn't say more than 7 words several months ago. Now he sings about shapes, colors, numbers and knows ABC's. He recently started wheels on the bus. Some words aren't clear but he knows what he is trying to say and keeps trying. Time to get some instruments.
    Also, great video. Your Awesome.

  10. I'm working on a paper about different supports that are beneficial for children with autism and I found your videos to be helpful! thanks for the video!

  11. Amazing job …. I have special needs center in amman jordan I will start show you amazing therapy videos to my therapists for one hour in daily basis. … am speachless. . Becuze I feel that will works with children. .. especially am a mom autistic child 6 years (spactrum). All the best and I wish to cu soon in Jordan.

  12. I really enjoyed your videos.  I have been an Autism Paraeducator for the past four years and our kids love anything with if we can teach them important social skills while having fun with music, I'm all game.  Currently, I am one year away from receiving my Mod-Severe Credential.

  13. Hi Ryan! I'm a Registered Music Therapist working in Hong Kong. Thank you for your sharing! It is always heart-warming to see other music therapists doing such meaningful job and are willing to share. Thank you.

  14. What other fields are there for music therapy? is it mainly children? or can you be like specified to an older range of people?

  15. Hi. This is great. I"m a musician as well as am currently in a master's degree program for speech language pathology. I'm about to start working with a new client who is 4:6 and nonverbal with autism. What this yes/no PECS app you're using? I'm heading off to school in a minute, but look forward to watching more of your videos soon. In the meantime, thank you!!

  16. Love how simple your intervention is, yet very effective. Clear and easy for the client to understand. Keep up the good work!

  17. Did you start out maybe asking him if he could say the word yes???
    I found that letting an autistic child know what was expected and giving them well defined, simple tasks usually works best for me… im no expert though.

  18. Hello sir.. I am very interested to avail of your CD so i can use it.. pls. advise how to contact you. and the app is just awesome

  19. I'm interested in becoming a music therapist, could you tell what you did education wise? I've read somethings about getting a degree in music therapy, or studying music and psychology then getting the 'equivalency' afterwards.

  20. Hi Ryan, I have a 9 yr old with Low functioning autism and severe behaviors. I work with him on my own because I can't fid anyone willing to work with him in my country. Do you have any recommendations as far as how musical practice with some instruments could help soothe his anxiety and minimize aggressive responses? Thank you!

  21. Hi, ive been inspired by your videos, you r brother how autism, but he is pretty much a genius with lego. A few years ack he was not enjoying therapy, so we got him to start drumming, he pretty good now, but he doesnt like to practice unless he gets to play the play station afterwards. The only time he actually got ingaged was when i got him to perform on the drums with my friend and i at our school talent show. Do you have any suggestion as to how we can further ingaged my brother into continuing his drumming.

  22. this is definetly helping me today my music might not be soo musical but i definetly get too bang out my feelings and feel a bit calm

  23. Hello Ryan,
    I'm brasilian music therapist, and I live so much your job (sorry me, my english is worest)
    I want to know what do you use with children for their answer yes or no?

  24. Hi Ryan, I am running a Midbrain Activation Centre at, Silchar, Assam in India. Now some people coming with new proposal that starting a Autism Music therapy Centre. Will you help me?

  25. Being a SLP-CCC and Music Major : Love what you're sharing and demonstrating to us alll! Music is an international language that can be calming, educational and is simply enjoyable and fun! Thanks!! Elizabeth Feuerstein-Seale

  26. This is awesome!! I'm an RBT and I work with children with autism too! It's amazing. This motivates me to want to learn an instrument for my clients!


  28. Thanks for sharing your experience, Ryan! so much work to do with this kids in many countries. Here in Panama we are still learning and trying what works best for them. It is important to have a good academic education but mainly, we need more LOVE for special needs people, because it is still very hard to make teachers and society understand they have the right to get an adapted pedagogy too. I specially liked your empathy towards the kid

  29. I’m going into college my freshman year! I absolutely love music. Music has been my life ever since I’ve been little. I’m a jazz/pop/broadway music performer myself. I’ve been commercially voiced trained for many years. I don’t know piano yet but I look forward to learning it well in college. I have a heart for kids of all kind, especially a heart for the disabled. My question is, would this be a career that would suit me with my training over the years? Where do I get started?

  30. Hi Ryan, seems like he was trying to say no at 3:14 before you touch-pointed him, and then repeatedly placed his hand on yes sign. Do you also teach a child to be able to say no, when something disturbs them, is uncomfortable or simply they want to discontinue the 'game', or do you not tolerate a no from a child?

  31. Great Techniques Ryan, I Found The Activity Help full to Bond With Special Need Students (Students With Autism), In The Center That I Volunteer. We Work Having A Vision To Eliminating Marginalization Of Autistic population From The Rest Society And, In The School That I Volunteer We Put A Regular Students With Special Need Students (Students With Autism) To Play This Activity And It Helps Our Vision So Well. Thanks!

  32. I am trying to teach my kiddos guitar, practice can be aversive since it requires finger stretching and pressure tends to hurt my kiddos fingers. Kiddo understands music theory automatically but is discourage by the feeling. Any tips other than positive reinforcement?

  33. Mr. Judd, you are a treasure! This world needs more men like you! These children deserve so much and you really have the power to change something. I had the oportunity to work with special children and i can tell that the feeling that you managed to change something in that child's world, to understand him and enter his world and make him smile is the best feeling ever!

  34. Hi Ryan, I am a homeschool mom. I just discovered you and am so grateful to have found you and your tips and strategies. Thank you! I will give these a try.

Leave a Reply

(*) Required, Your email will not be published