My House: An Interactive Songbook

Songs to Grow On - My House

It’s been awhile since I’ve been this excited about a music therapy resource. When Lisa Barnett of Songs to Grow On first contacted me about her new songbook, I was intrigued…but it wasn’t until I received my copy in the mail that I realized just how useful it would be in my practice.

My House is an interactive songbook designed for children with autism which lets them share their stories about where they live, who they live with and the special things and people that are important in their lives. The book has spaces on each page to add a photo and corresponding label, giving children and their families the creative license to choose which elements of “their house” will be featured.

I didn’t waste any time putting the songbook to use, and I had just the student in mind to try it out with for the first time. Knowing that I have a super busy schedule between taking care of my baby and working full time, Lisa generously sent me an already assembled version of the book — all I had to do was add photos provided by my student’s family.

My student, her mom and I had so much fun singing about “her house” for the first time last week! Each page allowed an opportunity for her to name the person/room/item in the photo, and then find the word to match. After we labeled each photo with the correct word, we went back through and sang the song together.

The song itself, which Lisa wrote and recorded professionally, is singable and super catchy — my client was still singing it after we were finished. You can listen to it here.

Again, I have to tell you just how impressed I am with this new resource. The book is beautifully designed in a sturdy binder, the pages are in protective plastic sleeves, and the word menu comes laminated with plenty of velcro to attach word labels. My students have a tendency to be hard on my materials, but I don’t have to worry about them damaging this one!

I’ll be writing more about my experiences with using My House in my music therapy sessions, but I wanted to share it with you right away so that you can check it out for yourselves.

Time for a Haircut

Certain situations can bring on anxiety to children, especially those with autism or any other disability. Among those situations are visiting the doctor or dentist, venturing into a large public place, and our focus today: haircuts.

The song I wrote for this occasion tells the story, step-by-step, so that children know exactly what to expect on their trip to the barber or salon. It goes like this:

My hair is getting too long,
And that’s why I’m singing this song.
So after a while, when I need a new style,
I’ll tell you what I do:

I get a haircut, haircut.
First comes the shampoo.
Then sit in the chair, where they’ll cut my hair,
And when the trimming’s through,

Time to blow dry and brush my hair,
Say thank you and goodbye.
It’s easy and fun, and now that it’s done,
I have a ‘do that looks brand new!

Your hair is getting too long,
And that’s why I’m singing this song.
It’s been a while, time for a new style,
Now you know just what to do!