Autism Awareness: Letter from a Mother and a Teacher

Dear Social Workers,

My name is Niki Schomas, and I am a special education teacher and parent of a child with autism.  I recently released a 27-song social skills album titled “Beautiful You”, and although it is applicable for all children, it is specifically appropriate for children that are affected by autism related disorders.  I worked very closely with different school social workers to identify the needs of the children they served, and created music that could be utilized by children, both during social work sessions, and outside of those sessions to provide them with support when a social worker was unavailable.  I thought that given that April is National Autism Awareness Month, I would share this resource with you, given that, according to the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, a recent study shows that children with autism are more than four times as likely to be the victims of bullying.

Autism FacebookTom McIntyre, a former teacher of students with behavior disorders and learning disabilities, currently a Professor of Special Education and Coordinator of the Graduate Program in Behavior Disorders at Hunter College of the City University of New York, recently stated this about the music:  “An absolutely wonderful cornucopia of music (you’ll be able to listen to a great deal of it for FREE) that is not only beautifully composed, arranged, played and sung, but also teaches social skills and cognitive processing of events and feelings to youngsters with autism (and other mental health and behavioral issues).  I was floored when I first listened to this CD.   It is nourishment to the ear, the soul, and the cerebral cortex.

My ultimate goal for the music is to provide children, families, and therapists with an inexpensive therapeutic tool that can be enjoyed and utilized to help teach children necessary social skills to help them succeed in life.  I have piloted this music with my son, special education students, and some general education students as well, and the results are all consistent.  When children learn new coping strategies through music, they are able to recall the strategies they have been taught when their behavior is escalating, and consequently learn how to independently manage their own behavior.  The beauty of the music is that it is fun, and it doesn’t require any “work” on the part of the parents and children.  It requires a cd player and perhaps a car ride of listening to enjoyable, contemporary music.

My website address is nikischomasmusic.com, where you will find free excerpts of the music, and be provided with the ability to download or purchase the music from amazon or cdbaby.com.  My contact information is nikischomasmusic@gmail.com, and I would love your feedback in terms of the music I have written, as well as ideas for future songs that will help all children learn to grow socially and emotionally.

Thank you so much for everything you dedicate your lives to helping children succeed.

Have a blessed day!

Niki

p.s. The sales of the cd will be utilized to help create a private school for kids whose academic and behavioral needs are not being met in public education settings.  The irony of my life is that because there is no appropriate placement for my son with autism, he is being privately homeschooled by a certified teacher, while I continue my career as a special education teacher.  There are too many children like my son, and my goal is to reach out to them and provide a safe, educational environment where they will thrive academically, be celebrated for their individuality, and encouraged to overcome challenges.

Photo Credit: https://www.facebook.com/AutismAwarenessPage

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SWHELPER is a news, information, resources, and entertainment website related to social good, social work, and social justice. To submit news and press releases email contact@swhelper.org View all posts by SWHELPER

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