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Music as a Therapy for Autism, ADHD and All of Us—the Healing Musical Gifting of Theresa Griffith

Aimee Herd : Mar 21, 2012  AutismMusic-more.com

"We have had a 3-year-old from an abusive family situation staying with us this past week. This little one had intense anger and defiance issues when she arrived last Friday and her mother said she has nightmares every night and throws up often. Every night we put her to bed with the same routine: stories, pray God's blessing while playing one of your CDs. She falls asleep peacefully with your music and hasn't had one nightmare and only one slight throw-up incident all week. Besides that, the level of peace and restfulness in her behavior has increased."

How many of us are affected by a particular melody or a song that touches the heart deep down? I would imagine if a poll were taken, it would be the majority of people who say music can move them unlike any other medium.

Its importance is highlighted time and again in the Bible. King Saul had David come and play his harp to relieve his troubled spirit, and the prophet Elisha called for a musician before he would prophesy to the kings of Israel, Judah and Edom.

And the Lord, Himself is described in Zephaniah 3:17 as rejoicing over us "with singing."

As mysterious as this wonderful God-originated invention is, the effects of music are often plain to see. And, more and more, the idea of using music to bring healing in various ways, is gaining in interest.

A lover of all kinds of music myself, and one who readily accepts the evidence that music can be (excuse the pun) "instrumental" in healing the mind and soul; I have been exploring the fairly recently documented ground of Music Therapy.

Some of this exploration has brought me full circle to a sister-in-the-Lord, whose melodious gifting and talent reminds me of both of the aforementioned Biblical examples of using music to touch another.

Bliss coverTheresa Griffith has been using such abilities for some time?her primary instrument being flute?and has recently focused in on helping those affected by disorders like Autism, ADD and ADHD. I caught up with her via email and she shared candidly on using music to heal, and some of the remarkable results and feedback she's received. That interview follows...

How did you first become interested in music as a therapy, and then in connection to autism?

I was ill for over 10 years, and during that time I could not handle noise, yet I needed soothing music. The only thing that I could handle was harp, but I still had trouble finding something that was soothing enough for my fragile state. So I determined that when I produced music that I would do so to bring relief to peoples' pain in whatever area that might be. I was healed in 1998, and immediately recorded the Utopia CD, which has now gone all over the world and is being used for everything from Insomnia, to pain and stress management, autism, ADHD, birthing and Hospice. It is also used in many Healing Rooms all over the world. I now have five different titles that are geared for different aspects of healing: Utopia, Spirit Dance, Bliss, Pure Light and My Peaceful Place.

What is the connection between God and music therapy?

I ask God for the concept of how to go about it, and then I go into the studio with no music and ask Him to play through me. I actually feel His wind blowing through me. At times I feel like I am being propelled forward by the force of it. It's the highest high imaginable.

What seem to be the most effective elements in your music therapy CDs in bringing healing and calm to someone who is autistic?

When I first began with "Utopia," the Lord directed me to record at 60 beats per minute. This is scientifically proven to lower the heart rate and blood pressure, which causes deeper breathing and a reduction in pain. It has been used for many autistic people but I knew it wasn't exactly what they needed, so I worked with parents of autistic children as well as experts in the field in order to come up with what I believed would touch them most effectively.

The result was the human voice using edifying words, humming and the bass flute, all played at 55 beats per minute. The healing words were chosen to renew their minds in who they are in Christ, as well as what He thinks of them. They are reprimanded on a regular basis in school so they think they are always a "problem." "My Peaceful Place" teaches them that they are loved and accepted by Jesus and in the Personalized Version, I actually sing about all their beautiful qualities and use each family member's name as I tell them who loves them.

Can you share a rewarding experience or two of when you've seen a real breakthrough for someone who has used your CDs as therapy? (Below are examples of some feedback that Theresa has received so far)

My peaceful placeAutism

One child, upon hearing his Personalized Version for the first time said, "Mom! I'm famous!"

Another child sat on his bed with his eyes wide as tears rolled down his face.

"We just received the special Autism CD you did for our daughter Joy. I put it into her CD player in her bedroom; she started to sing to it then signed for me to leave her alone. She calmly sat on her bed and peacefully rocked to the heavenly sounds. I watched her via the key hole in her door and she absolutely loves it! Thank you for sharing your beautiful gift Theresa!"

Use for Normal Healthy Children (This Mother just wanted to build her children's awareness of who they are in Christ)

"Oh, my gosh! These songs are amazing! I had tears streaming down my eyes as I listened to them. What an unbelievable gift! The girls are so excited. It was so much fun watching their faces as they listened the first time. They kept saying 'that's my song!' What a powerful tool to strengthen self-esteem in children's hearts!" - D.O. from Denver

Teacher from Oklahoma

"I play your music every day at nap time and music / self-expression times. The other day one of my students, a very bright, three year old boy said 'Teacher, will you tell that flute lady on that CD, I love her playing? It makes me feel better.' He gets upset if I forget your 'Bliss' CD. I was out sick this past Monday And he was in tears saying 'They forgot to play the CD for us!'" -R. D

Child's Emotional State

"Just wanted to add my comments on the 'therapeutic effects' of your music. We have had a 3-year-old from an abusive family situation staying with us this past week. This little one had intense anger and defiance issues when she arrived last Friday and her mother said she has nightmares every night and throws up often. Every night we put her to bed with the same routine: stories, pray God's blessing while playing one of your CDs. She falls asleep peacefully with your music and hasn't had one nightmare and only one slight throw-up incident all week. Besides that the level of peace and restfulness in her behavior has increased." -Bob in MA

Among some of the other feedback stories, one girl who struggled with anxiety while taking tests decided to ask permission to listen to Theresa's music on her portable CD player during the quiz. After she was given permission, she began doing just that. She reports that she went from nearly "failing every quiz/test to getting 90-100 percent."

I asked Theresa if Music Therapy should be more widely considered as a treatment for not just Autism patients, but also ADD and ADHD patients. Theresa answered...

I have researched the internet and there is no one else doing what God gave me on this. I believe it's a huge breakthrough. What I am hearing from parents is that they are taking their autistic children out of school and working with the child's style of learning instead of trying to force them into the mold of the "system." Here's a quote from one mother [who has been using the CD].

"We went to my son's yearly Pediatrician appointment today. Last year he trashed her office, bolted down the hall twice, and busted into some individual offices. It was a nightmare. Today he smiled at her, calmly played, and gave huge eye contact. She began to tear up and was stunned. 'What are you doing differently?' I said, 'I'm learning that it's not about checking off boxes, it's about connecting by having no judgments about him, just acceptance for wherever he is at any given moment.'"

I believe my new Autism CD continues in this same idea and the two together can totally change the child's life forever. Yesterday I heard from the same mother and she said her son is now making full sentences. The improvement is so drastic they are working on a movie of the story.

How can people get your CDs and learn more about this kind of therapy for autism?

People can call on our Toll Free number at 866.4UTOPIA (866.488.6782) to order either the Basic Autism CD, called "My Peaceful Place" or the "Personalized Version," which is named after the child and has their photo on the cover and CD.

Theresa notes that while her CDs are proving effective in helping those who suffer from Autism, ADD and ADHD; they are also wonderful for children who are considered to be normal and healthy.

Theresa also has an adult version of the therapy CD which is filled with healing Scriptures that can be used for Insomnia, other illnesses or just renewal of the mind.

To learn more about Theresa's Healing Music you can go to autismmusic-more.com. Theresa also has a ministry website at SomebodyCaresMinistries.org, or call: 866.488.6782.







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