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Social skills and communication skills can be hard for any child to master. Children with special needs especially struggle in these areas. Recently I was looking on Amazon for CDs that address these skills that Ezra could enjoy listening to.
I contacted the producers of these CDs, and they have so very graciously sent me review copies to listen to and review here on my blog!
The first is called Autism Sing-Along. While my son does not have autism, I still felt it would be a great fit for him. Written by Ruth Jurey, this is an entire social skills curriculum that focus on daily routines, transitions, and activities of daily living. Each track on the CD has an accompanying visual support social story book that you can use to assist your child in his or her social skills. You can preview all of the CD tracks on the Autism Sing-Along site.
When I first listened to the CD, I found the instrumentation to be a bit loud and overwhelming, and I was afraid that Ezra would too. He often throws a fit about music in the car because of his sensory overload. Instead, Ezra loves this CD and asks to listen to it all the time!
The CD also has instrumental-only tracks so that children can sing along, hence “Sing-Along.” I was concerned about this as well because Ezra doesn’t normally like to listen to music “without words.” Again, I was pleasantly surprised at his reaction. He takes it on as a personal challenge to sing along with the instrumental tracks and remember all of the words to the songs!!
My personal favorite track on the CD is “Ask For Help.”
Teacher says, “Do you need help?”
“Yes, yes, I’m frustrated!
Help me please.”
Teacher tugs and pulls and wiggles,
“Try it now!” she says.
Then I pull the zipper up,
Badaboom badaboom badaboom!
The third verse echoes the first, but this time it’s Dad, (who has lost his keys), who is frustrated and needs help. Then the kid gets to be the helper!
I love this song because both of these situations happen ALL THE TIME in our house. Both Ezra and my husband get frustrated easily due to their mental health challenges and need help (from each other) to problem solve and work through those moments! (And yes, those stubborn zippers and missing keys do it every time!)
I believe this would be a PERFECT CD for any child on the spectrum. It utilizes known therapeutic techniques such as “first-then” communication. If you have a child who needs help with daily routines, transitions, and ADLs, it would definitely be great supplemental material for ABA or other behavioral therapy.
Overall, I highly recommend it! Although I find it slightly annoying at times because it’s so bombastic, Ezra gives it a 5-star rating!
My Turn, Your Turn: Songs for Building Social Skills
My Turn, Your Turn complements Autism Sing-Along so well! While the Autism CD focuses on ADLs and routines, this CD focuses on verbal social skills. It addresses how to communicate needs, desires, and emotions to adults and peers kindly and respectfully. Every single song on this CD addressed a social skill that Ezra struggles with.
Included are the following social skills:
- how to initiate play and conversation with friends
- taking turns
- saying “Excuse me” and waiting to be addressed by adults instead of interrupting
- helping others
- asking for help
- letting adults know when you are confused or need instructions repeated
- talking about interests in a balanced way (track 8 is great for kids on the spectrum who struggle with perseveration)
- eye contact
- communicating anger and frustration
- saying “Please” and “Thank You”
- being proud your strengths as a child.
I also love this CD because it goes beyond just instructing about social skills through the lyrics. At the end of each song, children model the appropriate communication behaviors with each other while the music plays in the background! There are also two tracks where the child listening is given time to practice the skills himself!
I feel that this CD would be incredibly beneficial to typically developing children and higher functioning special needs children. It might be a little bit overwhelming for children on the spectrum who are non-verbal or cognitively delayed, but as that is not my area of expertise as a parent, I cannot say for certain.
Ezra has always had verbal skills that surpass his age, but he struggles with communicating kindly and appropriately in the moment because of his lack of impulse control. So this CD was a perfect fit for him. My Turn, Your Turn is still quite lively, but slightly less bombastic and more calming than Autism Sing-Along, so I prefer it for those long trips home from OT!
My Turn, Your Turn has a companion social skills book with visuals for learning, and there is a free download of the first track on the website!
Something else you might be interested in: