Teaching Social Skills Through Music

27 Jul

I get some interesting request and press releases in my inbox each morning. Some have no relevance to that of my family or readers, others have me sat up taking note excited about what I’m reading.

Recently I received a lovely email from Cathy Bollinger, a music therapist and children’s song writer. Cathy is from Charlottesville, Virginia so being in the UK I was yet to discover her work.

Cathy informed me in her email that my blog was recommended to her via her daughter in law who has recently moved from England to Virginia! I’m unsure who this was but want to slip in a quick thank you to them for spreading the word. About ‘A boy with Aspergers’. When your a parent to a child on the autism spectrum who uses her voice to try and create awareness through her writing using the platform of her blog, it really is encouraging to know that it is found and followed by many people all over the world. The web still amazes me, I can do so much from this South London living room of mine.

Cathy has developed 10 children’s CD’s, one of which was created in the hope of helping kids on the autism spectrum. It’s fair to say that lots of children on the spectrum have a special connection with music hence the reason music therapy is growing in popularity. Many special schools who educate children with autism and other social communication and interaction difficulties are now using such therapies as part of their learning programme. Little man loves music and is able to process and then store lyrics really quickly. Admittedly some of the music we hear today makes this a bit of a worrying prospect as well as a good one! Obviously Carol isn’t rapping her heart out about gangs, pimps or anything else remotely inappropriate. Cathy Bollinger is using the beauty of music to build social skills. However it should be noted that she hasn’t done this alone! Through the making of her latest CD (which Cathy kindly air mailed me) she found her future business partner Elly Tucker and her son Josh, who has Aspergers Syndrome. Cathy met with them once a week while creating the social skills CD and quotes “They honestly critiqued the songs as I wrote them, Josh even ended up singing on the CD with me”

To know the songs included on the CD which is titled “My turn your turn songs for building social skills” has been written with such inspiration, made me even more excited to discover more and actually listen to.

Cathy has a desire to create music that is positive, upbeat and fun while ensuring lyrics give a direct message, one that is non ambiguous and therefore provides a good, clear example of the different social skills appropriate in different social situations. Music allows children to absorb these social clues and learn from them .

My Turn Your Turn is one of a number of CDs from award winning singer/songwriter Cathy Bollinger. I found that all the tunes were very catchy and easy to sing along too (my toddler is proof of this). Each song manages to address the various social skills difficulties the child on the autism spectrum may experience with the use of social story like phrases while remaining upbeat and fun to listen to. Cathy has got it all covered and seems to have written each song based around some of the most challenging social situations for children on the autism spectrum.

There are 14 tracks in total covering everything from empathy, self regulating ones emotions, asking for help and more.

I especially liked the last track “Everyone has strengths to be proud of” oh how I wished I could have played this to little man a few years back when he had no self confidence and struggled to understand that everybody is different regardless of his diagnosis. He would of learnt much earlier on how not everybody is good at the things he is and vise versa.

I also like the track “Sometimes I feel angry” another that little man can really relate to and learn from.

Little man is now in a special school for children on the autism spectrum, social skills training is obviously a huge part of his education time table with a whole period given just for social skills training a number of times a week. Little man has said he will be taking the CD into school so the teacher can have a listen and use it in her lesson. I think thats a brilliant idea and thank Cathy for giving Little man and his fellow pupils here in the UK the opportunity to do so.


You can learn more about this fabulous social skills training CD by visiting Rivanna Music on line. Here you can even play a sound clip of one of the tracks on the CD. Don’t forget there are many other Educational music CD that teach including titles such as Alphabet Jam, Toddlin Tunes, Singing words and many more.

Thanks Cathy for sending Little Man a couple of “Your Turn My Turn” we loved it and would happily recommend it to both parents and educators.

Disclaimer: This is a review post. I was not paid to write this but I did receive a sample of the CD (there was no obligation to write about it). I chose to share my honest views and opinions as I feel the CD is worth mentioning to my readers.

One Response to “Teaching Social Skills Through Music”

  1. Tom July 29, 2012 at 12:21 pm #

    I look forward to listening to that, by the way, i am one of G’s classmate’s, Tom.

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