A few weeks ago I sent out a survey to my newsletter list and to readers of the blog to find out what topics they would most like to see covered in upcoming blog posts.

The top responses were:

#1 – session ideas for working with teens
#2 – session ideas for working with children
#3 – tips for working with individuals with autism spectrum disorder

I’ve been posting quite a bit lately about my work with teens, so I decided for the next few weeks I’m going to post on my work with children and in particular my work with children with autism spectrum disorder.

Today I’m going to share why I count to five over and over in my head during my sessions.

See if you can you relate to this scenario from a music therapy session:

You’re facilitating a musical experience that you’re super pumped about. You’ve checked out a great book from the library that you just know this client is going to love.

“Ok, now we’re going to sing a new book called My First Book of the Body. Say ‘open the book’…say ‘open the book’…’open the book!’ Sing with me: Body parts, body parts we’ve all got body parts. What part of your body do you see with? What part of your body helps you see? What part?”

We mean well but sometimes we get excited or really into our session and forget to stop….take a breath…and let our clients have time to answer.

I, for one, was definitely guilty of this until I brought my awareness to it.

Then I realized, I need to allow time for processing. That means: time for the child to hear my question, time for them to process what I’m asking, time for them to formulate a response, and time for them to communicate that response.

Was I giving enough time for that? Probably not.

So here’s what I do now:

I ask my question and then pause and count to five. Slowly.

One one thousand, two one thousand, three one thousand. You get the idea.

I’ve found that allowing that time and space for processing has helped my clients reach more goals. Oftentimes they know the answer they just need to be given the time to process and give their response.

Now I’d love to hear from you!

What strategies do you use to allow time for your clients to process?

Leave a comment below ~