Neurologic Music Therapy Workshop Results

On October 14th we had a Neurologic Music Therapy event that was amazing. Cutting edge work by Casey DePriest and Eric Lund from Access Academy and Optimal Rhythms in Evansville, Indiana was shared with us. We got some video that we’ll post to the website. Casey and Eric shared how they had kids doing trigonometry within two weeks when the kids were only doing Life Skills before that. There is a new role for the music therapist who learns their strategies and combines it with Supported Typing training from Syracuse University. Parents are best included in this, because NMT protocols were best applied twice per day in their school, plus at times of upset. The music therapist won’t always be there, but can become a much more critical part of a team. What was immediately obvious to Denise and I were the smiles broadening on the faces of every child as he/she was body mapped. The room went from noisy to calm in less than 5 minutes, and stayed calm until lunch time. That’s over 1 1/2 hours. If you work with this population, you know that is off-the-charts exceptional.

Download “Waking Up Your Body” here: Waking Up Your Body


Karyn (Casey) DePriest, Certified Neurologic Music Therapist

Karyn (Casey) DePriest,
Certified Neurologic Music Therapist

After lunch, a few kids shared their comments. Casey started explaining more about how the music therapy works and the discoveries and accomplishments of their kids in Evansville. Then 16 year old Julian from Ft Wayne who had been quietly listening but had never been to one of our events, ran up on stage and started jumping up and down and clapping his hands. We thought he was telling us to stop and let him try. So that’s what happened, and he typed with Laura Poorman to his Dad. First ever typing initiated conversation. Another nonverbal came and visited. Casey approached him and offered to help. She asked for his arm and he gave it to her. She started a little NMT singing and deep pressing the way they showed us how to do it. Casey and Conner go to the other room and soon Conner is typing. All along, Kelsey Krause, who got her voice in April, and Josh Berkau were encouraging. “Tru st yourself,” Kelsey typed. John Smyth was just smiling. Such a proud moment for everyone.

I had an update from Poorman. She’s working with 7 new kids, including Julius in Fishers and Maddy and Kevin in Carmel. She just did a training of staff supporting Kelsey at North Central High School. And she’s preparing to do a training at Broad Ripple High. The only problem seems to be school systems and professionals filled with themselves, teachings akin to “the world is flat,” and budgets that use money for the kids to fight them (and maybe divert it to sports?). The idea that the LEAST harmful assumption to the child is of his/her competence, deserving inclusion, seems not to be part of their ethics. How did we get here? John Smyth has asked that one, and learned in his social studies last year. Read the history of the American Psychological Association, a guy named Henry Goddard, the development of IQ tests as something that made Goddard very wealthy contrary to the test intent of its developer- Alfred Binet, and how this hijacking created jobs and credibility for the new “pseudoscientist” psychologists. See where the industry got its roots developing categories of incompetence.

On Oct 4, Kevin and Lydia typed for the first time. More kids will get a voice. Our work is only beginning. So what do you do when you have a child like this and the school isn’t cooperating? Here are my thoughts and observations:

That the kids have been and are treated as stupid doesn’t mean they ever were. As a rule, they learn better and faster than their peers. They can usually skip grade school and middle school and probably even high school and get by academically because they absorb information so well. Most parents who haven’t yet communicated with them have no clue and are living in a bubble created by other experts.

Music TherapyThey can destroy the curve of any class within the limits and parameters that their bodies are able to express.

They want to be educated and learn so they can contribute, BUT MOST OF ALL, they crave to be known as smart and to be able to fit in and accepted socially with their peers.
Today, with technology and cheap books and periodicals, parents can fill in the gaps for educational material. What the Schools are really stealing is their opportunity to fit in and have a socially healthy experience in school. One can’t have a socially healthy experience when someone can’t help the typer communicate with others in class or social situations. They feel stupid, nervous and deceived when schools so regularly provide untrained or poorly trained support to them. They have already taken enough social hits to their egos. These typical tricks completely demoralize them.

God has been merciful to each of us. He will measure the mercy we share or don’t share with this population that is in our lives. John Smyth has typed Oliver Twist’s keepers should not be in charge of kids. He also typed that the same people who deny potential typers a chance for a normal education are the children of those who denied African Americans these same rights with presumptions of incompetence. Let’s share the wealth of love He gave us first.