By: Laura Petix, MS OTR/LEPISODE 79



Kindermusik is a purposefully created multisensory music and movement program for ages 0-7 that provides neurodivergent children the opportunity to improve in all learning areas by consciously stimulating the whole brain.

Kindermusik creates shared research-based curricula that:

Diana Cameron

Diana has been working with neurodivergent children for over 30 years using music as a vehicle for change. She has a background in music, early childhood, learning differences, and sound therapy. Her personal and professional life has always been involved with children and adults with additional needs.

For the past 25 years, Diana has taught the Kindermusik curricula. Diana has seen firsthand the profound impact carefully crafted music programs can have on children and the neurodivergent brain.

In this episode, we talked about:

Using music as a vehicle to support the neurodivergent brain, with Diana Cameron of Kindermusik
Diana, Kindermusik (00:00): We have 12 auditory skills that we need. They're essential. We need all 12 or there's going to be deficits in language. Now does that mean you have to be neurodivergent to have deficits in that? Absolutely not. And that's what happened with my son. They diagnosed him as autistic. He wasn't,...

Diana, Kindermusik (00:00): We have 12 auditory skills that we need. They’re essential. We need all 12 or there’s going to be deficits in language. Now does that mean you have to be neurodivergent to have deficits in that? Absolutely not. And that’s what happened with my son. They diagnosed him as autistic. He wasn’t, he had auditory processing disorder. I didn’t know the difference. I didn’t even know it existed back then. We’re talking 30 years ago, but that’s where I learned the difference. Laura (00:33): Welcome to the Sensory Wise Solutions podcast for parents where parents can get real actionable strategies to support kids with sensory processing disorder. I’m Laura, OT and mom To Liliana, a sensory sensitive kid who inherited my anxiety and my love for all things Disney. Consider me your new OT mom. Bestie. I know my stuff, but I also know what it’s really like in the trenches of parenting a child with sensory processing disorder. Speaker 3 (01:02): Okay, mom, enough about me. Let’s start the podcast. Laura (01:09): Hey everyone. Welcome back to the podcast. Today I am bringing to you an interview with Diana Cameron who is representing kinder music. If you have not heard of kinder music, kinder music is a purposefully created multisensory music and movement program for ages zero to seven. They provide neurodivergent children the opportunity to improve in all learning areas by consciously stimulating the whole brain. Kinder music creates shared research-based curricula that empowers educators, strengthens family and teacher child relationships, enhances community connections and builds a deep-rooted love for learning while providing early development strategies that are memorable, playful, and fun. I got to interview Diana Cameron, who was representing kinder music and she has been working with neurodivergent children for over 30 years using music as a vehicle for change. She has a background in music, early childhood learning differences and sound therapy, and her personal and professional life has always been involved with children and adults with additional needs. (02:12)For the past 25 years, Diana has taught the kinder music curricula. She has seen firsthand the profound impact carefully crafted music programs can have on children and the neurodivergent brain. So without further ado, here’s the interview. Please be really patient with us. The sound was a little bit off and in the middle of the interview one of our phones was buzzing and we didn’t realize it until it was too late. So I apologize, that is not your phone going off. That is ours. But the information is still very insightful. Just had to give you that little heads up. All right. Hello, Diana. It’s so good to have you here. I’m so excited to introduce my audience to the magic that is kinder music and hear directly from you to hear about how our kids can benefit from all things music. Welcome. Diana, Kindermusik (03:04): Thank you. Thank you for having me. Laura (03:06): I would love if you would give everybody a quick introduction to who you are specifically personally and how you have a link to both the neurodivergent community and kinder music. Diana, Kindermusik (03:20): Sure. So my background is in music and early childhood learning differences and sound therapy. So I have a Bachelor of Music in Arts from the Queensland Conservatorium of Music, and I have a graduates to preliminary in education and working with little so early childhood. So I have a brother who has a traumatic brain injury. I’ve got a sister who’s blind and mentally challenged and cannot walk, and I have a son who is diagnosed with autism now. He’s just turned 30 at the end of last year. Now that diagnosis was actually incorrect, and that’s what got me on the road to discovering sound and the importance of sound that it has on every facet of learning. So I’ve always been a musician. I started when I was four years old learning to play at piano. So music’s always been a big part of my life and I’ve understood the impact it can have, but I didn’t really understand until I became a certified practitioner of the listening program exactly the importance that it has in our lives for every person, but particularly for neurodivergent people. (04:34)That’s when that journey really started. I had been working with neurodivergent children before my son, but that’s when it just blew apart for me, and I truly understood the connection between how their brain works and how music can be a vehicle to make change for them. So learning differences has always been part of my life, whether it’s my personal life or my professional life, they’re the circles I’ve always swam in. It’s just been who we are as a family and as an individual, but also as a professional. I’ve just always ended up with lots of children who needed extra assistance in my classes. So I’ve worked now with neurodivergent children for over 30 years. So the last 25 years, oh, it’s a quarter of a decade now. I have been teaching kind music. So the kind music curricula is a program for children from zero to seven. (05:32)It’s very intentionally crafted for every child. It’s a multisensory experience, but particularly for neurodivergent children, there’s a lot in it that really speaks to their brain. I think for me, I’ve never ever seen a program that does more for children and does more for families, and I think that’s a big difference in kind music as I have with kinder music. It just gives so much to both the children and the families. So for me, kind music is one of the best things you can do for a child because it’s not just music and movement, it’s music and movement with a purpose. And the brain is that purpose. And we are looking at changing the brain. We’re looking at changing skills, we’re looking at changing behavior, and I think that’s the important part. And it’s, it’s a 45 minute lesson of an intense brain workout. That’s the entire brain that goes across all learning domains. (06:35)So kin music really understands the benefits in when music ignites the whole brain. You can work in all the sensors in that. It’s not just a movement exercise, but it’s also developing self-regulation and it’s developing inhibitory control and it’s developing sight and all these other sensors just, you can’t do them in isolation. So we do that through musical listening, dancing, instrument play, imaginative play, story time, lots of different ways. And I think the biggest difference is that it involves parents. So as the child is at that critical stage of learning, the parent’s right there. And so as the parent learns to self-regulate themselves, they then help their child to self-regulate, which they then take home. And that’s the whole point of using music. So you have these musical experiences and then you teach that child to be able to take that experience and put it into other areas of your life. Laura (07:40): I love all of that. I feel so personally connected with music as well. I grew up singing and playing instruments, but even just the most recently, I’ve just remembered how impactful music can be on specifically emotional regulation and mood. Absolutely. I think of so many, I actually talked about this with my therapist recently, how a certain sound or a certain song from a certain time in your life with a specific context, so instantly be triggered in so many memories and almost feeling like it’s transporting you back to a certain time of life. And that’s just absolutely in terms of memory. And then it can also bring back the feelings that you had when you first heard that song. So I believe when you say that music can be so influential in kids’ development, yeah, it’s something that I know and makes sense, but I don’t know enough of the mechanism behind that. (08:41)So I’m so excited to hear more. I already believe it, but I want to know how and why, which is greats. So I definitely want to go more into that. But a couple other questions that are related more to the kinder music itself and the curricula, just in case other parents want to know. So you mentioned it’s 45 minutes and parents are involved. I’m curious about the age, the zero to seven. Is this particular, does it stop at seven for a biological reason in terms of brain development or is just the curriculum is just really geared towards children in terms of the genre of music and their motivation to be involved in that kind of stuff? What, what’s the reasoning behind it stopping at age seven? Diana, Kindermusik (09:22): It’s an early childhood program. It’s an early childhood, pretty much takes us to seven. And so once they go to school then and just prior to that, then they will take off with doing their musical thing. And so we find that because these kids experience music from the inside out, they’re doing it with their bodies. They’re not just listening. They’re not just learning to play an instrument. It is a whole body experience and a whole brain experience in every class. And when your child does that for several years, it’s so ingrained in them that learning becomes easy no matter what you do. I have school teachers who say to me all the time, or the families, is your child a kind music kid? They can tell because they learn more easily. They’re reading more easily. They pick up maths and science easily because we’ve done those things for so long in patterns in music that it translate to other areas as well. Laura (10:23): So it really is related to the pattern piece of music. One of my questions that I had just hearing you talk was, I noticed at the beginning you kind of said either sound therapy or how sound impacts the brain. Is there a particular difference in using the word in using sound versus music program? That’s Diana, Kindermusik (10:45): A big question with a lot of answers. Can the music uses music as the vehicle? So the music is specifically chosen. We choose specific music for a specific purpose for that activity. Sound therapy is a little bit different. It’s what we call psycho acoustically changed and in a very specific way. And it’s usually it’s for an individual, not a group. And it’s changing the brain at a brain level through headphones. So that’s a very different thing. But kinder music is a group experience where you don’t have to be individualized. And music, the power of music I think is the same. Two children can be in a class with very different needs, but that both those needs are met. And that’s just the power of musical. Laura (11:35): I love that brain. Diana, Kindermusik (11:37): I love that. And so you can have a neurodivergent child who’s terrible with emotion and social skills and terrible, and a child who’s really good with those things but has other deficits in other areas because the development of a child does not go in a straight lineup. So you can have a child who’s really developmentally quick in the movement side of things, and parents often say to me, but they’re doing really well. We need to put them up a level. But that doesn’t mean that their emotional state and their social skills match that motor. The brain goes up and down all over the place and it will develop one area, but another area will lag and then that area will catch up. And that’s how it works. So in our classes, it doesn’t matter where you are, every parent’s working with their own child to make it comfortable for them in their own way, but the experiences are so well thought out and crafted that every child gets a benefit no matter where you are in your development. Laura (12:41): And so I heard you mention earlier that it’s a multisensory experience of course, but the most obvious one is that it is an auditory experience. And I’m curious hearing you talk about how this can benefit both neurotypical and neuro divergent brains no matter where, how your learning and behavior profile is. But the first thing that stands out for me are the kids who are sound sensitive. And I’m thinking of a traditional, not kinder music program, but just even music class, like the ones that my daughter has at school that just sounds like a cacophony of just different music sounds. And the clients that I’ve worked fr with who are sound sensitive and auditory sensitive, have the hardest time regulating through those music classes where they’re just all banging a bunch of instruments. So how does that differ kinder music and how can you meet the needs of so many different sensory profiles particular to sound in this example, if you have that information? Yeah, Diana, Kindermusik (13:43): Let’s go back to why that’s happening in the first place. We have 12 auditory skills that we need. They’re essential. We need all 12 or there’s going to be deficits in language. Now does that mean you have to be neurodivergent to have deficits in that? Absolutely not. And that’s what happened with my son. They diagnosed him as autistic. He wasn’t, he had auditory processing disorder. I didn’t know the difference. I didn’t even know it existed back then. We’re talking 30 years ago. But that’s where I learned the difference. So what happens with them is we have filtration systems and we have filters in place. So I’ll give you an example. A mother goes to bed, there’s a dog barking up the street and she doesn’t wake up, but the minute her baby cries, she wakes, it doesn’t matter how tired she is. So her brain is telling her what to attend to and what’s not important. (14:41)So it just filters it out. If you’ve ever had the experience that you’ve been somewhere and somebody says, do you hear that? And you go, what? And they name it. And you go, I don’t hear that. And they go, listen. And then when you listen for it, you’re like, oh, I do hear that. That’s because your brains just said you don’t need to listen to that. If you think about all of the auditory information coming into our brains, we process sound in two ways. We process it through our ears, we call it air conduction, and we process it through our bodies called bone conduction. So our entire skeletal system is processing sound with our ears 24 7. So we have a saying in the sound therapy world that says, we have no ear lids. Oh, and just think about that. We can shut down our visual system by closing our eyes. (15:34)It’s done. Yeah, we can rest it. We can’t rest our auditory system. Right? Ever 24 7, our bodies and our ears and our brains are trying to make sense of sound. Now that sound, our brains are built to look for patterns. And in a divergent brain, they’re even more geared at looking for patterns. They’re great at analyzing patterns are comfort and predictability and routines to them. So their brains are looking for patterns even more. When you go on a flight and you’ve been sitting in a plane for hours and hours and hours, you’ve just been sitting there, but you walk on the other end and you’re exhausted, yet you haven’t been doing anything and you’ve been fed, you’ve had to sleep, but you, you’re absolutely exhausted. The reason for that is the same thing. One, you haven’t had any vestibular input and you haven’t been moving enough. (16:27)But two, it’s the sound of the engines. Now that sound of the engines going all the time has no pattern in it. And we can’t switch off our auditory system. So our brain is processing the sound the entire way, looking for patterns all the time and can’t find them. So you’re actually working the brain really hard. So if you’re on a plane and you put noise canceling headphones on, that’s why you are less tired when you get out the other end because you’re mitigating that sound and giving your brain a bit of a break. Now, if you play music and put those noise canceling headphones on, you’re giving your brain something to hang onto because music is filled with patterns. So you’ll often see neurodivergent kids in a meltdown or stressed and parents will put on noise canceling headphones and start to play music. That’s what it’s doing. (17:18)So it’s mitigating the sound coming in and it’s giving their brain something to hang onto by giving it a tool. So another example would be if a child’s sitting in school, you’ve got a dog barking up the street, you’ve got the band playing two blocks down, you’ve got Johnny behind you talking, you’ve got the teacher in front of you trying to get your attention because they don’t have good filtration systems, all of that sound comes in at the same level. So just think about that because for us it doesn’t. Yeah. So adults with good filtration systems, the dog is very faint. We might not even attend to that. The band is further away, and so that’s soft. The teachers, the loudest, Johnny might be annoying us, but it’s not as loud as the teach. But for a divergent brain that doesn’t happen. Their filtration systems don’t block it out. (18:11)So all of that comes in all the time, and then their body and brain has to process it. So by the end of a school day, they’re exhausted. They’re lying on the ground just ready to be done, or before they finish, by lunchtime, they’re absolutely done. So in a music class you were mentioning, there’s much more sound, there’s more things going on at the same time than you’ve got the children singing or talking than you’ve got instruments than you’ve got. Yeah, it’s just like into their brain and it’s too much. Their brains are just saying, stop, just, I can’t do it anymore. And so it’s too much information. And the volume of that is another issue too in a music class, volume goes up, and that’s another auditory skill that often some kids will find that they can’t get enough loud volume. They’re always saying, can you turn the TV up when it’s quite loud? Or it’ll be the opposite, right? You’ll be whispering and they’ll say, stop yelling at me. Yeah, because it, they’re just not regulating those sounds correctly. So in an environment like that, it can destroy a body. So sound has a huge impact on bodies in a lot of ways. If they’re not processing sound in the zero to 750 hertz, then they can have things like low muscle tone be picky, either be terrible with organizing themselves in space. It has consequences that people have no idea about with real body reactions. Laura (19:52): So how does a kinder music group led curriculum program mitigate for those differences for a child who can only tolerate a certain either decibel of sound or frequency or layers to sound than a different neurotypical brain or someone who doesn’t have as complicated of an auditory processing challenge? Diana, Kindermusik (20:20): Well, number one, I think we, every parent works with their child. So I’ve had neurodivergent kids who are very auditory sensitive and during class they’ve had to put on their noise counseling headphones. Just had to, some have come in with them and they’ve had them the entire class. So for very, very severe things, we just work with what they need and parents are the best resource for that because they work with it every day. So if I have a new child come in with who’s, I will always say to the parent, what are your challenges? How do you deal with that in the real world? What do we need to do in this class? So I have an idea before they even get there, okay, what I need to do, I had one who could not, she didn’t tell me this before she came, but I used to be in a building that was off an underground car park, and he had an aversion to car parks. (21:13)Oh, which we didn’t know. You came through the shopping center and then had to walk across the car park to get to me. So had I known that we would’ve mitigated it somehow, but we didn’t. So that took a few weeks of mitigating, but I had another one who could not stand red lipstick. So those sorts of questions you need to ask. And as a kinder music educator, we tend to talk to parents about their children and we get to know families really well. It’s something that even 20 years later, my families still sometimes ring me and just we’re friends because I love that we’ve had such an impact on their lives and their families. So if they have specific challenges, we can mitigate that by using techniques that work for them in the classroom specifically. In general, we teach things in a way that just works. (22:06)So we don’t give a bar. For instance, we might be teaching around and rounds are great because they have one layer at a time. So you have just the class working with one layer, single set of information. Then when they’re comfortable with that, we add two layers and then we might add three layers. So you’re getting skills built to be able to cope with more than one layer, but because it’s in a musical context, you’re accessing all areas of the brain, which means that when those other areas are shut off, they’re not able to process that sound as easily Laura (22:45): Very commonly. And I know a lot of parents who struggle with this, myself included, it’s more of the complex, layered like background sounds when there’s too many different sounds. Maybe it’s frequencies, I don’t know if that’s the right word, but when the heat the fan on when I’m cooking and the oven fan exhaust is on, and then the water’s running cause I’m heating up the water and then my husband asks a question and then my daughter’s like, TV is on, none of this sound is necessarily too loud, but it just makes me want to scream. And there’s sometimes when I didn’t even realize the sound was bothering me until it turns off and I feel like, oh, I feel so much more clear minded and the Diana, Kindermusik (23:29): Funny just goes, Laura (23:31): And I didn’t even realize that that sound was bothering me. And then the other piece that I resonate so much with in terms of how we were talking about how it might cause fatigue for some people is I’m one of those people who when I’m driving in a new place, if I’m looking for an address or a name or something that I’m trying to read, I will turn down the volume of my radio so that I can focus. But even though it’s a visual thing, somehow the auditory feels like it needs to be turned off. So that was multiple questions in one. I just really wanted to get your take on the complex relationship between more different varying sound sources in one room and how that can lead to dysregulation. For some people, Diana, Kindermusik (24:16): It goes back to those 12 essential auditory skills. So each one of those does something different. So when it’s got background noise like that, and same thing in a school, you’ve got background noise, but you’re trying to pick out one thing, which is the teacher. That’s a different auditory skill again. And once again, you’re divergent kids. Usually that auditory skill is terrible. We actually do what we call a scan C when we work with kids individually. And in that you’ve got chatter in one ear and a person saying two words in another, and they have to tell me what those two words are. And so the way that you change that with sound therapy is different, but in a musical classroom, you have more opportunities to help them process a single sound. So going back to what those babies were doing, the more that we have practice in identifying those single sounds, when we put them in the context of the classroom and more sound, they’re better at focusing on the one and being able to process the one and the rest comes back into the background. (25:30)It’s just a matter of practicing and practicing and practicing. And I think that’s what makes skin and music unique as well because they have the kind music app. So at home they have exactly the same quality of tools that we’re using in the classroom. They have all the same music that we have. They know how to use the same activities that we do. So it’s not just a once a week thing. And the reason we see the gains that we do is we do these things in class. Parents go home and it just becomes a natural part of life. You do the same things at home, so it becomes a 24 7 education moment. And that repetition means that the neural connections that we have made in class are then made strong, and then the brain decides to keep it. So if you make the neural connection and nothing else is done, and we didn’t do that activity again for six months, the brain’s not going to keep that connection. (26:26)But because our program builds in a very purposeful way, so we do this activity in week one. In week two, we repeat the activity in week three, there may be an extension for the activity where we’re just pushing that auditory system a little bit more and teaching another level of skill. Then in week four or five, doing that again, but in a different way, maybe now instead of an instrument play, maybe we’re doing it with our entire bodies and maybe we are doing it as a dance. So it changes so that we can give as many different opportunities as we can to that child to process that in a different way. And then the repetition on top of that means that over time they develop that skill. Laura (27:10): I have to say that I really love hearing how you easily integrate and offer and accept that certain kids might need to use noise reducing headphones while in a music class. I often hear from a lot of parents and other educators who try to discourage use of it because they feel like the more a child uses it, the less the more sensitive they’ll be to sound. And without looking too far into the research of whether that’s even a direct link, I have spoken to enough actually autistic adults and divergent individuals who say they could not function if someone tried to absolutely take headphones away. And I actually had an interview with them, an autistic adult who said she finds that actually the more she uses her noise reducing headphones for the times when she can’t have them, she feels like she’s built up this, she’s conserved all the energy. (28:06)She’s like, I’m actually better when I don’t have them, if I use them more. So it’s not that I’m more sensitive without them, I actually strategically use them knowing that, oh, I won’t be able to use it in this environment, so I’m going to use it all day and all week to save up that energy I need for the auditory. And so I love sharing that because I think that’s one of those are, it’s one of the biggest tools I use for auditory sensitive kids. And a lot of, I think parents and some educators try to discourage it. And I just really, I love that you are honoring that within the context of even a music program. So I love that. Diana, Kindermusik (28:40): I think it’s because people don’t understand, they really don’t understand what’s happening in the brain. They don’t understand what’s happening with their auditory system and the impact that can have on a body and a brain. The auditory information goes to the auditory cortex. I’ll give you an example. When we take in sound, a lot happens. We do an exercise in kind music where we use our voices in a different way and we do gly sandos. So we might go, ooh and up and then, ooh, we’re down. Now that could be done with a parachute as well as our voices. It could be done with us making rainbows with our hands. We have a book where it talks about a lepcha and there’s rainbows, and we do the C sands with the rainbows and follow them with our fingers and all different sorts of things. But when we take in sound, it hits the cochlear and on the cochlear looks like a snail shell. (29:39)And it’s divided into tiny, tiny little segments. And each one attends to a certain pitch. So when it hits, say the 10 hertz pitch, then it goes to the auditor auditory cortex in the brain and the auditory cortex has a filing cabinet is the most simple way to explain it. And then it has to go into the 10 hertz file so that when you hear the dog barking up the street, the next time you hear the dog barking up the street, you know what it is because it’s in that particular file in the auditory cortex with a neurodivergent brain sound goes in and does not go in the little filing cabinet. It goes in and goes and breaks into a thousand pieces. And then the brain has to try and pick up, okay, where was that sound again? I know that I’ve heard that sound. (30:32)That sound is somewhere. And you can imagine with speech when that’s happening, yeah, they’ve gone, you’ve gone on three sentences, they’re still back at the first one trying to P piece together, all of those things. So when we hear sound, we have to be able to process every single pitch and hurts and duration, and it all goes into a separate thing. So when I go, there’s every single micro sound in between that has to be processed. It’s split second to put into the right filing cabinet in the auditory conte cortex. That does not happen with neurodivergent children. It goes in breaks apart and they’re left with the puzzle to try and pull together and then give you a response whether that’s a response with your body or response with words. And so that’s why it’s just all over the place. You can ask a question and get an answer back and go, how did you get that? (31:33)Of what I said? And it’s because that’s happening in the brain. The other thing that’s happening is because of different auditory skills, again, they don’t process language like we do. They get glitches. So it is doctors, doctor is he? That’s what they hear. So they then have to try and they’re pretty smart stick about it. They have to work out what they think the gap said, put it all together and then respond to you. And it’s like, well, sometimes I said, Brett, but you said black. And it is just like, how did you get that out? That’s what it is. So that’s why neurodivergent children do not do very well with multi-layered instructions because they need to process one thing. You’ve already given them 10 and they’re the puzzle’s just too big. They can’t do it in their brain. And I think kinder music does that very, very well. It presents information in a way that it’s one thing at a time and layering specifically in a way that the brain can cope and that skills can be made. And I think that’s the important way we do present it, but we’re busy building those skills underneath so that it gets easier and easier with time. And those connections are made. Laura (32:53): I wonder how many kids have been mis, I don’t want to say misdiagnosed, but how many of their challenges have been mislabeled as executive functioning challenges rather than auditory process? And this is something obviously in the classroom that I hear a lot and why, how you talk about kinder music being multisensory, but when I talk about a child who having a hard time following an instruction, it’s like, okay, there’s so many things going on there. There’s executive function, yes, but of course there’s auditory. But one of the accommodations, a top-down approach to supporting that I help parents with is making those instructions as multi-sensory as possible. So making sure they visually can see you. Maybe you have a visual demonstration of what you expect them to do. You write down what they’re expected to do, you give them a tactile cue. So what you were kind of explaining of how when you were copying the pitch of that tone and you were drawing a rainbow arc and you’re tracing that maybe there’s also colors they’re following, maybe there’s like a bead that they’re also tracing it. Like all of those multiple layers can help compensate for a sense, or one of the domains, a sensory systems that needs support. So if the auditory system is unrefined or needs help in some way, we can bring some buddies around at the visual sense, the tactile sense, proprioception, vestibular and see if we could help it grow in the same way. Is that kind of the how absolutely Diana, Kindermusik (34:22): Approach hit the nail on the head? Yeah. And that’s a really important part of kind music, that visual element. Because even if you neurotypical, you have some children who still are visual learners. And I think that’s one of the things I love about kinder music is as educators, we get to see it, but we teach the parents how their child learns. Yeah, I love that. So you get, even in baby’s class, I can tell by six months whether they’re a visual learner, whether they’re an auditory learner, whether they’re a kinesthetic kid. And that’s so important because when that child goes to school, if you’ve got a teacher who just speaks all the time and never writes anything on the board, can you imagine for a neurotypical child, but neuro divergent child, that’s just, that doesn’t work. You need that visual. So Kim music does that in several different ways. (35:13)As I said, with books, sometimes even in the baby’s books, there’s one we have with a B, and the B has this dotted line and it goes from page to page. So we get to follow that and we can do it with our voices as well, which really helps all of that auditory that I was telling you about. So it’s just so really using the voices and even with an older child, when you’ve got a baby in kind music, but an old one who’s been in kind music, then they can start reading the book for the child, the babies, you’re getting that whole family experience. Another way that we do it, and I love this particularly for Virgin kids, we have one of our units in the two to three year olds, we work with emotions. So as you know, a challenge because they often don’t pick up facial cues and that then extends to social situations because they just don’t read well and they miss simple cues like a grimace or a wink or a smile, or it just doesn’t compute. (36:20)We have a unit where we work on emotions. So we have visuals of children making faces. So we start to label the face, what does an angry face look like? What does a happy face look like? What does this is their favorite a surprised face look like? Everybody loves that one. And then once they learn to label those and they’re all in the context of songs, and we have a book where there’s all these different children doing different things in the book, then they have to make, we give them mirrors, they have to make the face so it’s not just out here and external, they’re then making the face. So being able to see what it looks like, being able to feel what that looks like and labeling it correctly, and this happens over weeks and weeks and weeks, then that can really help with interception because that can be extended into what does that feel like on the inside? (37:16)I love that. So yeah, so it’s a really great way of doing it because you have to start with the visual, especially for neurodivergent kids, because it doesn’t mean anything to them, it’s just a visual. But to be able to bring that to making it still doesn’t mean a lot at the start. But then they get very good at labeling, oh, you’re surprised because we’ll make a face. What am I feeling? And they get very good at going surprised. And then we talk about how’s that feel on the inside. So making those links over time really helps with social situations because at least they can identify it and start to e explore what that feels like inside. So as I said, carefully crafted and just present it in a way that just works. Laura (38:07): I really, really love how you bring all of the senses into what most people would pick up this episode and just think it’s going to be all about the auditory. But in interception, I feel like can be so linked to music because I was just sharing in the beginning when I hear a song and music has the capability to make you have certain internal sensations. Your heart beat faster a little bit, you’re thinking about things. And then like I said, the emotional piece, which is so important. As we’re nearing the end here, I would love if you have any top tips for parents, both if they want to get involved and find kinder music near them if possible, and just other general top tips to help their child to use music as a developmental toolbox for them at home. Diana, Kindermusik (39:02): Sure. One thing I would say is the best thing you can do for your child is once a day, and it’s the consistency that works with this, is just to stop and put on one song that you find relaxing and just stop. Just either lie down, you might want to tickle them. If they’re touch sensitive, don’t tickle them. They might want to lie down with a bear themselves. They might want, you might want to rock with them, which for kids who are sensory seeking, that really works well. Cause they need that movement. One thing I will say most people don’t know is that sitting still takes the highest form of balance and most people don’t know that. So the highest form of balance. So think of riding a bike when you’re going slowly, it’s really hard to balance. Oh yeah. When you’re going fast, it’s really easy to balance. (39:56)So when you’re asking and you’re a divergent child to sit still in school and they have a vestibular system that is not working very well, good luck. They have to move. They have to jig and tap their fingers and move their head and tap their leg. And because that’s how they balance. And so being able to move in akin of music class helps with all of that. So the other thing that’s really helpful is to just stop and do that one thing every day. One song, it brings the central nervous system down and it trains it how to come down. So our central nervous system does not come down automatically. It is not a skill we’re born with. And you’ll see adults like that who do not know how to stop. They just can’t. And for a divergent child in a world where sensory input is a lot more work for them than a normal child, a typical child, being able to teach them that skill of stop, let’s just come and listen to a piece of music rocking if they need to move, even spinning slowly spinning in a room is fine. And just doing that once a day every day, you will find that they will learn to bring their own central nervous system down in time. Really helps with executive function as well. Laura (41:19): Would you say, sorry, Diana, would you say that there’s a particular tempo or genre of music if parents don’t know anything about where to start it for they’re picking one song, is it something that should have lyrics to it should not have lyrics to it should be fast, upbeat or be lower than this beats per minute type. Slower is calmer. Is there a kind of rule of thumb to follow if they’re picking this one step to start with? Diana, Kindermusik (41:46): Things that are slower and more coming, things that are faster will gear up the system. But I would just say pick something that feels calm to you, that’s different for every person. So don’t make it complex. Just something that just makes you feel calm. There’s music that you think, oh, I really like that. And others that think that doesn’t sit very well with me. So that’ll be different for every person. Laura (42:11): Would you pick the same song every day or a different song, or does it not matter? You Diana, Kindermusik (42:15): Could. And for a divergent child, that might work well. Yeah, if there’s something they really like that the routine of that when we hear this song, this is what our body does, depends on the child. But that could be a really good way to get started because they know the routine and once you put on that song, we relax. That’s what we do. So that could work very well. I would probably start like that. If you find one, they really stick with it for a while because it will teach them faster because that’s just how the brand works. Yeah. Laura (42:48): Okay. And then other tips that you had. Diana, Kindermusik (42:50): I think if you’re looking for something that’s going to be an atmosphere where your child is really wanted a kid, music class is great for that. And I’ll tell you why. You don’t find many places where people want you to be there. And that’s been the one comment from my parents, we feel wanted here. We feel included because they’re the ones that adhere to routines. And in my older classes, they’re my gems in class because they’re the ones who keep everybody in line because they know the routine, but we should be doing this and you should be sitting. And so when they’re not there, it’s a little more chaotic. So I really miss them and they’re not there. So I think to feel accepted in a place like that is rare in a world where people are looking more to include neurotypical because they don’t understand it and it’s a little more difficult and the behavior’s different. (43:48)And so to be in a place that is built for you, yeah, I think is life changing. It teaches you to bond with your child if you want them to have better auditory skills, better motor skills, better vestibular skills, better sensory integration, better executive function, better impulse control, all of that is taken care of without you having to go and get a degree, you can just come with your child and just have fun and bond with them. And then be taught what you can do at home to have a toolkit that’s going to make your life easier each week. So I think it gives a lot to parents if you want. So it’s neurodiverse friendly, I think you would put to music as that. In my own classes, I have found that things that improve our speech movement, coordination, social skills, flexible thinking is a big one. (44:47)Like flexible thinking can be life, life-changing when they’re so rigid and cannot break out of that to improve. That can be life-changing for families. So finding a kidney music class near you some, there may not be one near people. I teach virtually. I have clients all over the world. So there are others who teach virtually too. So if there’s no class near them, virtual teachers will come up. Yeah, it’s a lot of fun. And that could be for children who are really challenged. It could be good because it’s in their own environment at home. If the social aspect is going to be too difficult in person, I would recommend first. But if there’s not one near you, certainly a good option. And if they’re wanting a good read to just know more about their child, then my book can give them that. So that would be my tips to stop once a day, enjoy your child and just teach them to calm down. If you want to do something together as an activity, find a in music class. If you just want, I Laura (45:47): Beautiful. I love all those resources. I will add links to those, to anyone listening in the show notes so that you could find all of those easily. So it’s you. Hopefully there’s one near you. But again, the fact that there’s virtual options for this. Yeah, it’s very, it’s great. It’s Diana, Kindermusik (46:02): Fun having people all over the world. We have different accents. Laura (46:07): I love that. I love that. Well, Diana, I learned a lot from you today. Thank you so much for sharing all of the insights about auditory processing. It’s, it all makes sense. It’s one of those things where I’m like, I like it. It totally makes sense. I just didn’t know that actual fact. So I hope everyone else listened, who’s listening also found interest in this. I know I have speech therapists who listen, I know I have OTs, but I know I have a lot of parents who are probably having a lot of light bulb moments and correct, hopefully are feeling inspired to get started with that very actionable step of picking at least one calming song to try every day. I love building in tiny little additions to routines to see how it can help. Absolutely. One that feels very actionable. So thank you for giving that to us today. Thank you for being here, Diana, I’m so, so honored to have had you on and I will be sharing all of the resources that you shared with us today. Diana, Kindermusik (47:00): Thank you for having me. Laura (47:05): If you enjoyed this podcast, please consider rating it and leaving a review, which helps other parents find me as well. Want to learn more from me. I share tons more over on Instagram at the OT Butterfly. See you next time.




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Laura Petix, MS OTR/L

I’m an enneagram 6, so my brain is constantly moving. My OT lenses never turn off and I can’t “un-see” the sensory and other developmental skills that go in to literally every activity. I love taking what I see and breaking it down into simple terms so parents can understand what goes into their child’s behavior and skills.

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