The heat is on in the desert southwest! Arizona has already passed the 100 degree point for a full week now. The school year will be ending soon and we are making plans for summer programs. Here’s a fun video of Ann Miller’s “Too Darn Hot” from “Kiss Me Kate”
One of my college students asked how the groups that I provide during the summer differ from the fall. The groups that I do for developmentally delayed/autism kids are mostly the same because we are continuing to address the non-musical goals and support neurologic development. I use a child centered approach in my private sessions and groups year round so the kids are already used to communicating their choices, taking turns, choosing instruments, songs and books and sharing within the group so learning to “go with the flow” is an important social skill that is addressed at each session.
That being said, the atmosphere is a little more flexible and relaxed during the summer. It is HOT and we all tend to go a little bit “stir crazy” from being inside too much. The answer to that in the music therapy group is that we do lots of instrument playing, dancing and of course, group drumming. Another summer issue is that the heat makes all of us tire more easily and when the monsoon season starts, kids with neurologic processing disorders tend to be affected by the barometric changes and electrical energy in the atmosphere. It is always important to address those physiological issues and I have been known to give up the plans that I have made for the group and spend a whole session singing books and/or relaxing with the ocean drum and recorder.
The other difference is attendance, as families take vacations and may be gone for extended periods of time. Again, I give the families as much flexibility as I can; I keep the spot open for that child and welcome him or her when they return.
What are your summers like? Do you work, travel or do some of each. Let me know in the comments below so I can live vicariously. Whatever you do, have fun and stay cool!