Music Benefits My Angel and Me in Multiple Ways
It's a powerful source of stress relief and positive energy for this family
When you are raising a child with Angelman syndrome, stress becomes a natural part of life. As a caregiver, I keep an open mind and remember that stress relief may come from unexpected sources. I recently began to notice that music has proven to be a constant consolation and stress reliever for my 12-year-old Angel, Juliana, and me.
First and foremost, music can serve as a therapeutic process for Angels to learn speech, movement, and communication skills. Beyond the clinical benefits, music just makes us feel better. I love having music in the background as I’m doing things around the house. My mood and the moment usually determine the genre.
Juliana has some of this discernment, too. She can select music on her iPad and she typically changes tunes every few minutes. Some of this is just her being hyperactive. But I can also tell when she’s looking for the right beat to move to. I don’t know what it is about Juliana and music. Her ability to sway and get lost in a sound is about as mysterious as her love of water play.
She likes to move it
Most people wouldn’t believe you can rock out to a symphony, but Juliana managed to pull it off when we attended a “Polar Express” symphony in November to kick off our Christmas holiday. It was her first time going to such a big event and I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. She was excited to see a movie that she knew and loved on the big screen, but I know it was the music that cast its calming spell over her.
Angels might become irritable in new circumstances or when there’s a change in their routine. When Juliana is fussy, I’ll put on a show with singing or music she can bounce to. This was a great strategy when she got her COVID-19 vaccine. Moments after getting her shot, the ache was temporarily forgotten as she bopped to the music on her iPad.
Perhaps my favorite use of music is during our dance parties. I simply yell, “Dance party, Jules!” Then, she and I let loose and dance right where we are. Sometimes the dance party breaks the monotony of our routine or serves as a break from screen time for Juliana.
Last week, it was music that lifted my spirits as I grieved the loss of my niece. Nothing can really replace the stages of grief that we experience. However, putting on some upbeat music gave me something else to focus on.
From its therapeutic benefits to its calming properties, music packs a powerful punch. In my life, it’s the backdrop for serenity and positive energy. As I’m living with the ups and downs of Angelman syndrome, it’s smart to have a tool that not only helps me but also works wonders for making my Angel happier, too.
Note: Angelman Syndrome News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Angelman Syndrome News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Angelman syndrome.