The passion that certified music therapist Jenn Pacht-Goodman demonstrates for her work with autistic children is evident.
Educated at the Boston Conservatory of Music and Master of Music Therapy graduate from New York University, Pacht-Goodman—or Jammin Jenn—seeks to enhance the lives of these children using music as a tool to help them find their own voice.
As owner of Jammin Jenn: Music Therapy for Children LLC, Jammin Jenn uses music as a healing modality to connect with children with autism—from those with severe nonverbal cases to the highest functioning cases.
Music therapy is an interpersonal approach that uses the emotions, spirituality, and cognitive benefits of music to improve the health of a patient (from cancer patients to people with ADD). Music therapy promotes developmental work through communication and fine motor skills. It is also effective in reinforcing orientation or attention-building skills. Music therapy is a highly relaxing form of healing, and is excellent for people with behavioral-emotional issues.
For children with autism—a developmental disorder with a wide variety of characteristics ranging from communication impairment to emotional detachment—this creative form of therapy is a highly effective healing treatment.
Communicating with Universal Language
Using music as therapy embraces a nonverbal communication rehabilitation technique that helps individuals who have difficulties expressing themselves using words discover self expression. The therapeutic results of the sessions are immediate, and it provides a base for improving on non-musical communication skills.
The relaxed, fun atmosphere that an autistic children experiences in a music therapy session helps them develop social engagement skills. Singing is often an alternative form of communication for some autistic children who may not be able to speak. Vocal music activities assist with the development of an autistic child’s communication skills through repetitive phrases and words presented in conjunction with visual or textural cues.
Engaging the Social Side
Music therapy sessions involve a wide variety of instruments, offering the children exposure to the different sounds and textures of each one. The therapist encourages rhythm, movement, and free expression.
In addition to its usefulness with speech and communication development, this form of therapy is highly effective with social engagement and attention building. Music therapy sessions can be a one-on-one interaction between the therapist and the child, encouraging relationship building and attention direction. The sessions can also involve a group of children to reinforce social engagement experiences.
Support for Creative Self Expression
Autistic children may have difficulties forming emotional connections with surroundings, objects, and people. During a session a child is encouraged to express themselves as they feel—through banging, clapping, shouting, signing. This creative self expression is vital to every person’s emotional health.
Jammin Jenn has been praised for her unbridled enthusiasm, voice, and passion for the kids. Her musical sessions are designed to teach valuable speech skills and coordination, and promote life-long learning skills.
Jammin Jenn also strives to influence the kids’ musical skills, and further develop their communication abilities.