T had his first music therapy appointment today! This is something I've been drawn to for him for years, and today it began. His therapist, Anne, let him explore during this first session. The room was filled with rhythm instruments, a few keyboards, bells and noisemakers. He went to the keyboard right away and found his "A" (an octave up from the lowest note on the piano). He always must find this particular note whenever he sees a piano anywhere and today was no exception. Anne observed and attempted to play what he was playing, but was playfully rebuffed: "No sing", "Green sing", or my favorite new one: "Stop it." There was never an angry moment – insistent perhaps, but never angry - which is good! He also played the bells (nine of them, all different colors, with a button on the top that you press like the "service please" bell you see in stores), the rainstick, maracas, rhythm "eggs", and a new favorite: the big drum.
I stayed in the room the whole time – 45 minutes!!! – so I could observe and translate (green is a negative adjective, "no-okay" means no, etc.) Both Anne and I tried to get T to sing, but he was a little on edge today – but again, he was in good spirits the whole time. We were hoping for a good 30 minutes – Anne said that many times, her new clients are looking longingly at the door after a few minutes, but not this little guy! He said "stay here" when given the option to go in the car or stay. So 45 minutes it was – and Anne was so pleased (as was I).
While the session went on, I realized my long term goal for him: to be able to share music. Right now, he is very territorial and protective of the music he makes. He can sing, but does not want others to join him. When he plays piano, no one is to try to play at the same time. Unexpected singing is very, very aversive. My theory is that he has such wonderful music going through his head continually that any other music disrupts it. This could also explain the aversion to phones ringing, inventory chimes going off in fitting rooms, electronically generated doorbell chimes, etc. (in addition to the auditory sensitivity). When I told Anne this goal, she smiled and said that it was a good goal, and if that is what he gets out of music therapy, then what a gift it will be. Agreed! Next appointment in two weeks. Can't wait!