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Successful Strategy for Developing Verbal Communication:  Let's talk Music (and rhythm)
by: Carol Jimenez
How can music help to develop communication?  Well, it's a neurological thing.  Recent studies indicate that music utilizes a more complex and far reaching neural network than previously thought, and goes deeper into the brain. Different aspects of music (tune, pitch, rhythm, lyrics) involve different areas of the brain in different combinations.  Just envision the brain lighting up like a Christmas tree with blinking light strands on it.  Now imagine that those same pathways are used not only for music, but for other functions as well, so that music can be used to optimize brain function by activating those pathways. An exceedingly simplistic description, given by "not a music therapist".

A music therapist however, knows which areas of the brain are activated by different types of music - happy, sad, with lyrics, with different rhythms, pitch, tone - the whole thing.  A therapist can assess your child to determine the most effective music therapy plan.  Sadly, most music therapy, unless prescribed by a neurologist and used for rehabilitation following a brain injury, or hospitalization, is not usually covered by insurance, and is 80% of the time, paid out of pocket by the parents of children with developmental disabilities.  There are a few states that do cover music therapy.  However, California is not one of them.  But, it doesn't hurt to ask, and therapies are handled on a case by case basis.  What can you do at home or school to integrate music into your child's therapy?
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Did you know that there is a whole lot you can do to help your child learn to communicate and develop speech?  Music, visuals, assistive communication...It's all in here. Explore redcirclerainbow.com and discover what every parent of a communicationally challenged child should know. Use the directory to the left to find information, strategies, free downloads and local resources. The article below on music and the brain is also a good place to start.
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