What Do Felix Baumgartner's Historic Jump and Music Therapy Have in Common?

What do music therapy and a world record breaking skydive have in common?  Sounds like the set up for a bad joke.  Good news: I don't have a punch line.  But I do have an answer to that question!

On Sunday, Felix Baumgartner lept into history books when he successfully completed the world's highest free fall, leaping out of a balloon at 128,097 feet!  Baumgartner reached a speed of 833.9mph, thus making him the first human to break the sound barrier without vehicular power.  Needless to say, Felix Baumgartner is a sensory seeker.

 

So how does that relate to music therapy?  Well, I can't say that music therapy with The George Center is quite as thrilling as free falling at 834 miles per hour, but it does relate to one of my favorite aspects of music therapy.  Some people, like Baumgartner, are sensory seekers.  In particular, we see this frequently with individuals on the autism spectrum.  One of the symptoms of autism is either a hypersensitivity to sensory stimulations (smells, sounds, touch, etc.) or they could be under-reactive to these stimuli.  For many of our clients who are under-reactive, they frequently seek out sensory input in the form of sounds, movement (jumping, craving pressure, etc.), or touching specific objects with unique textures.

Music engages us with multiple sensory inputs.  Striking a large drum provides a sensation in our hands, the loud sound of the drum, and the booming feeling in our chest that follows.  Dancing to music provides proprioceptive, vestibular, and auditory inputs.  For individuals on the autism spectrum who are sensory seekers, music therapy allows them to experience those sensations they seek in a constructive and positive way.

It might not be super-sonic skydiving, but it sure is less risky!  And our new clinic location is a whole lot easier to get to than the stratosphere!