Joe's Story

Joe is a four-year-old boy who was diagnosed with autism at the age of 26 months. However, over time he has grown to love music and his family is so appreciative that Variety, the Children’s Charity of Manitoba has funded Joe for this past year so he could participate in weekly Music therapy classes with Erin Koop. This pertinent extracurricular program has benefitted Joe in so many ways. His parents stated that since he began lessons, he has grown to love music and there has been noticeable growth in his development.

At an early age Joe demonstrated a strong desire to participate in music. The musical toys that he plays with fascinate him and bring forth lots of happiness for him. He listens attentively to nursery rhymes, popular and classical music. Joe’s family wanted him to benefit from his love for music so they enrolled him in music therapy. Joe’s teacher, Erin Koop of Music Café, worked relentlessly with him and provided unstructured lessons so he could adapt easily. Erin’s cheerful and loving personality was an amazing fit for Joe. These music lessons provided familiar nursery rhymes that generated loads of laughter and play and after a period of time, Joe became comfortable attending the weekly lessons.

Joe experienced some difficulty in December while at Music Therapy however, through perseverance Joe continued his lessons and he regained confidence to attend these weekly classes. He has learned to drum with his hands and keeps a steady beat and this is a major milestone for Joe. Also, he loves strumming the guitar, playing the piano, and participating in games. He has grown to love action songs.

Joe’s family is grateful for the financial support from Variety Manitoba and as a result, their son Joe has demonstrated growth in his development for the love of music. He shows a positive interest in music and even hums some familiar songs that he has learned over time at Music therapy classes. Lately, his family is working on ways to improve their son’s speech which communication is an important goal for them. When Joe requires something he can now sign, “PLEASE.” Even though Joe is mostly non-verbal, his communication skills have improved and the family hopes that Variety Manitoba will continue to provide financial support for Joe’s Music and Speech therapy lessons so that one day he will be able to interact and communicate with others with ease.

Written by: Margaret Murray

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