I am frequently asked if I have played for children with autism or if I have any experience with them. As of last week, I can now say, “Yes!”
I had the privilege of playing in an inner city school for seven kindergartners who have autism. And their response … in the beginning, they were fascinated by the instrument. “What’s that?” “Can I touch it?”
After I played for 10 minutes, one of the teachers commented how the two noisy boys were quieter and more subdued than usual. (The teachers seemed very appreciative of this response.) Then one by one, each of them had an opportunity to run their fingers up and down the strings. It was magical to watch their faces connect with the music they were making!
After each child had their “go” at the harp, I played another 10 minutes – one of the boys put his head down on the desk; a little girl shut her eyes … the harp brought peace to these autistic kindergartners and their teachers.