April was Autism Awareness Month and I had the opportunity to do something I LOVE to do: travel to different library branches throughout Miami-Dade county and lead Rockin’ and Readin’ music therapy sessions.

Rockin’ and Readin’ is a program I created to bring music therapy sessions to the libraries in our area.

Our focus in April was on toddlers and young children with autism and other special needs and for this round of sessions, all my activities were spring related. I incorporated a butterfly movement song, a musical egg hunt, a spring-themed instrument playing activity, and of course a singable spring story.

I chose the book “Five Little Ducks” because many children and adults are familiar with this song and can sing along (which helps them feel successful!)

I’ve used this singable story before, but this time I decided to incorporate one thing that made it stand out from all the other times I’ve done it. One thing that grabbed the attention of the children who were distracted and reengaged them in our activity.

What was that one thing you ask?


The duck quacker!

If you are not familiar with the duck quacker, I highly recommend you check it out.

This silly sounding instruments sounds JUST LIKE A DUCK. The toddlers and children I work with absolutely love it. Every time we got to the part in the song where the mother duck says “quack quack quack quack,” I played that quacker as loud as I could. The group erupted in laughter because I had hidden it behind the book and they couldn’t see what was making that noise.

Was it a real duck?!

The key takeaway here is this: think about what you can incorporate into your sessions that will grab the attention of your clients and refocus their attention back on you. If you work with toddlers and young children like I do, you know we need to have an endless amount of reengagement strategies in our back pocket.

Maybe it’s the duck quacker, maybe it’s the thunder tube, maybe it’s the castanet. Leave a comment below to let me know what’s worked for you and your clients!