Regular Fun For Special Needs Kids
Hillsborough musician entertains — and teaches — special needs children and others at Bernards Township Library.
Hillsborough resident Ann Wild, a mother who also is a folk singer, said that special needs children and their parents often have few opportunities to just relax and have fun between the many "therapy" activities that are part of their weekly routine.
But Wild's interactive musical performance and games with special needs children, scheduled on a regular basis at the Bernards Township Library, straddle the magical bridge between entertainment and learning skills ( she also regularly performs at the Hillsborough Public Library).
"Music is Magic!" again was presented this past Saturday afternoon at the library with about a half-dozen children who were quiet and fairly serious when they arrived — and far more relaxed and smiling when they had completed the program about 45 minutes later.
Along with singing and dancing and keeping the beat, the children played games, shook musical "shaky eggs" and helped Wild strum her guitar.
By the end of the program, one little girl sat right in front of Wild, fascinated by the guitar and the way the strings produced music. Some of the parents were discussing how they would like their children to have more exposure to instruments.
"Music is powerful for any child," Wild said beforehand. Special needs children — along with enjoying the sounds and activities — also benefit from music that can help comfort them, teach new skills, smooth over stressful situations, aid in speech development and more, Wild said.
"The multi-sensory approach does so much" for the children, said Library Director Ruth Lufkin. Lufkin said that Wild has been a regular at the library for a number of years, whether presenting the program for special needs children or a separate weekday class for newborns through age three library patrons.
Wild said infants are capable of making "ahs" that grab the notes of the music.
She added that even special needs children who have limited mobility shake their heads, sing along or otherwise join in with musical classes.
Wild said she has been bringing her programs to libraries throughout the area, including the Long Hill Township Library and libraries in Warren, Hillsborough, Watchung, Bridgewater and others.
Wild can be reached through Onewildann@aol.com.