Thursday, January 31, 2013

Book Review - Different Dream Parenting

Recently I have had the pleasure of discovering two beautiful books about parenting children with special needs.  These two books, Different Dream Parenting and A Different Dream for My Child, offer reassurance, comfort, and practical information. The author, Jolene Philo, utilized her experiences as a special needs teacher, as a parent caring for a child with special healthcare needs, and as a person filled with faith to create two powerful guides. 

In creating my own book, Uncommon Beauty:  Crisis Parenting From Day One, I focused on the first year of dealing with a healthcare crisis.  However Philo’s books take the reader from unexpected complications at birth all the way to addressing issues of adult independence.  Throughout the journey Philo encourages parents to rely on their faith, offering inspirational quotes and reflections.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Calming Rhythms

We rely on music to soothe our family’s souls.  I guess that's only natural considering we're musicians.

From making music to listening to music, we fill our house with great tunes.

Upbeat music stirs us into a joyous celebration (think Salsa).  Soft classical music comforts Evan after surgery.  Kenny Logins sings the children to sleep.  Relaxing Greek Isles (an easy listening/relaxing CD) can settle an agitated atmosphere in the house faster than anything else.  

My single most treasured album that inspires me to move into action when I don’t have an ounce of ambition is Acoustic Garden featuring Tingstad and Rumbel.  This upbeat yet comforting soundtrack always resets my energy.

Recently I have added a new genre of music to our repertoire:  Music Entrainment Therapy.  I discovered the Strong Institute website, a company formed out of research, which creates musical soundtracks called Rhythmic Entrainment Intervention (REI).  This has been a significant find for me.

The idea behind Music Entrainment Therapy is to take the listener from one energy level or emotional state to another, using gradually changing music (rhythms, tempos, volume, timber).  An interesting description of music therapy can be found at the Free  Especially interesting is the description of the effects music has on the human body, including:  brain function, breathing, heart, blood pressure, muscle tension, endorphins, and stress hormones.

While I found the Strong Institute and REI hoping it would help my kids, I am surprised to be relying on it for myself.  If I am having a moment when I just have had too much, I’m overwhelmed or just can’t find my inner place of calm, I play the Calming Rhythms CD and without fail, I feel calmer.

The only endorsement I can share is my own experience.  I can say that in atleast one instance, it helped one of my kids recover from an emotional melt down.  Putting this therapy into action daily for the kids or just figuring out how to use it with them regularly, is still a work in progress.

I would love to hear comments from anyone else who has tried REI.  You can download a free sample to experience REI it for yourself at the Strong Institute website homepage.  Please note that the Strong Institute advises that these soundtracks are played softly, just loud enough to first hear it.  The brain is able to take in the sound and benefit from it at these low volumes.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Parenting Lessons Lived and Learned

You are invited to join the discussion Saturday, January 19th.

Parenting Lessons Lived and Learned:  A Program for Parents/Caregivers of Children with Special Needs