Reviewed by Maureen Bennie
Director, Autism Awareness Centre Inc.
Music can be a powerful tool for helping children who are experiencing sensory integration dysfunction. It can help with self-regulation, body awareness, and alertness as well as relaxation. Its rhythms, melodies and harmonies can focus attention and calm the mind. Australian occupational therapist Genevieve Jereb has created two CD’s entitled Say G’Day and Cool Bananas that are favorites for young children…
Say G’Day (2003) is a collection of 20 songs beautifully sung and cleverly arranged by Jereb. The songs are grouped into four sensory sections – songs for enhancing attention, alertness and body awareness, respiration songs, rhythmic entertainment songs to regulate, calm, and organize the body, and calming/cool down songs. Simple actions written beside each line of lyrics highlight the song’s text. Say G’Day is ideal for circle time for both inclusive and specialized classroom settings, one on one therapy sessions, transitions, and body breaks. The final two cool down songs can be used at the end of an activity or at bedtime. All children will be delighted and entertained by this CD.
Cool Bananas (2004) is a collection of favorite children’s songs sung at a slower pace (50 to 70 beats per minute). These songs support the disregulated child during playtime, bath time, car rides, quieter therapies, and bedtime. No actions accompany these songs. Because these songs are sung at a slower tempo, children with speech difficulties will find these songs easier to sing along with. Ms. Jereb has done another wonderful job here singing and orchestrating these perennial favorites.
Both of these CD’s can help a child’s performance in the school, home or community settings. One does not have to be a musician to incorporate great musical ideas to aid with sensory integration. In fact, no musical experience is necessary to use these toe-tapping, hand clapping songs which are well performed by Jereb and her musicians. These CD’s saved the day this summer for our two children with autism on our lengthy road trip. The only requirement for using these CD’s is to press “play” and have fun.
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