‘Arts for Healing’ shows the power of music

Mat Jacowleff, Staff Writer

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“Arts For Healing” works with children with autism who struggle to express themselves by offering music as a way to enhance cognitive functioning. On Monday, Oct. 21, Karen Nisenson, founder and director of “Arts For Healing”  visited the Westport Public Library to give a presentation on her program.

The information presented by Nisenson added to the knowledge of Staples students who have studied the brains of autistic children in Linda McClary’s Child Development course. A number of Staples students were in attendance because of interest in how music can be utilized in the growth of a child’s brain.

During her presentation, Nisenson called up a volunteer to play the piano with her at the same time, “to show how kids are able to connect and communicate through the music,” said Nisenson. Nisenson described her experiment as a way to show how, “the kids establish pure expression and communication by letting go of structure and playing abstractly.”

Nisenson has studied Stanley Greenspan, a Harvard University doctor, who led the studies of a child’s six stages of development. “Through arts, you can have explorations that replace stages,” said Nisenson.

Many autistic kids can go years still in the babbling phase, so Nisenson uses music to help kids struggling with forming words, phrases and sentences.

Nisenson stated that the integration of music into the lives of struggling kids, “allows the children to let go.”

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