Elijah’s mom told us he loves music so much that the only gift he requested for his birthday (besides junk food!) was a piano keyboard. “He is very bright academically,” his mom said, “but struggles with communication and social skills.” Elijah can listen and understand what others are saying, but when he speaks, people have trouble understanding his vocalizations. This makes it hard for Elijah to make friends, she said. “He wants to engage with peers,” his mom said, “But he doesn’t’ know how. We’ve been practicing verbalizing ‘hi’ and ‘bye’, but he needs lots of help asking questions and responding appropriately.” His mom hopes that Elijah can use his time at camp to practice greeting peers, asking them questions and practice taking turns.
This was the third year Elijah was able to participate in camp, thanks to a generous scholarship. His social skills and ability to participate have improved each year that he has attended camp. This year he had the continuity of his classroom music therapist Elaine Ramage and the extra attention of Xavier University occupational therapy students who were with him all week.
Once he became familiar with the schedule, he participated almost fully, even participating in art, which he had avoided in past years. The most notable change in Elijah was during free time. He ran right to the “kid city” play area and spent the whole time climbing, running and playing with new friends in unstructured play.
Being able to continue the music interventions he receives year-round in the classroom made a big difference for Elijah, and for his mom. “Elijah had a great week,” his mom said. “He was excited to get dressed every day. The hardest part by far was getting him to leave at the end of the day!”