Using Music in Everyday Life

Musical Notes from Stacie Carroll

Stacie Carroll is an acclaimed Toronto-based teacher of autistic children and co-creator of Sing to Say. She joined us to share some tips and hints about using Sing to Say and music in everyday life.

What can parents do with their child at home that incorporates music?

Music can be used to structure your routine and provide predictability. It can be the cornerstone and foundation of your routines. Pairing events, activities and locations with a tune can help kids orient themselves and know what to expect next.

Even as an adult, I sing “mask, wallet, keys and phone,” (to the tune of “Head and Shoulders, Knees and Toes”) as I leave my house. It’s my own little checklist as I go out the door.

As my kids were growing up, we had a transition song and tidying up song. The tune stayed same, but the words changed. My kids knew the song signified the transitions.  It can be as simple as “tidy up, it’s time to go for dinner,” or “pack up your dollies, we’re going to the car.”

What do you think the most useful part of Sing to Say is, from an educator’s point of view?

From a teacher’s point of view, the best part of Sing to Say is the “Learn It” area with the “Check It” feature that ensures the student understands what each symbol represents. Even if they don’t know what it means functionally, they can understand that the word or song means that picture. It’s super-important that built-in direction and instruction is happening.

Another thing I really like is the data tracking. In the past, I would have papers and clicks and you name it to try to focus on, while I was working with a student and trying to keep them engaged and on track. To know the app takes care of all of that is great. I can just be there to teach and be responsive.

Anything you’d like to tell the users of Sing to Say?

Sing, sing, sing! Model putting phrases together and using words. Model making connections. For instance, bring the iPad into the living room and model playing with a toy, and then use the words in Sing to Say to connect the app to the real world.

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