Music can often be a great source of comfort for anyone, but for kids its even better. According to CTV News, the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra has launched a new class aimed specifically at kids with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Angela Elster, the Vice President of the VSO School of Music, calls it the school's first "no barriers" program. Unlike stricter, more structured classes, participants will be able to learn about music in a free-flowing, no judgement zone. There's something for everyone, from headphones and tablets to real instruments.
As well as dance floors for kids to boogie on down, the classes will comprise of fidget toys. Whatever the kids feel they want to do, they can, whether that's play an instrument, listen or simply talk to each other. The VSO hope that this class will encourage parents and kids to feel more comfortable around music. In a lot of cases, families may shy away from classical music concerts because they worry their ASD kids might cause a disruption, explains Adrian Fung, a member of the Afiara Quartet. In these classes, kids have free reign over what they do. The more noise, the better, according to organizers. What doesn't sound great about that?
These exciting new classes will start in the fall, ready for the new year. One mother, Zelda Samwell, said that she often finds it incredibly difficult to find activities to do with her son, Joshua. Since he has autism, it can feel very isolating. When she found music therapy, she was amazed with how well Joshua responded to it. Not only is it something she can do with her entire family, but her son is entertained and even calmed by it. According to her, Joshua becomes an entirely different person when he's in music class. Zelda isn't the first person to notice music therapy has a great effect on kids with ASD either. It's previously been noted that the treatment can help with everything from communication to social skills and self-reliance.
If you live in the area and this sounds like something you would be interested in, you can book your place on the course for $350.