At the Inspire School of Music and the Arts in Pasco County, FL, music is more than an academic afterthought. The school teaches music and art in a way that encourages children to explore their own innate artistic gifts. For pre-school ages, the school prepares children to enter kindergarten with skills to help them excel.
So it was a no-brainer for Renee and Len Trinca, owners of Schoenhut Piano Company, to supply the organization with whatever musical instruments they needed.
And that’s what they did.
Several Schoenhut instruments are rated by Able Play, a company that researches, rates, and reviews play products for children with special needs. When the Trinca’s received a letter from Jason Rhodes about the needs of the Inspire School, it was a privilege for them to be able to supply tunable drums, melodicas, and pianos to the school.
The school provides an innovative program designed specifically for special needs children called Autism Sings. The program introduces children with autism and other pervasive developmental disorders to the basics of music. Their motto: Through music and the arts, every child has a voice.
Autism Sings focuses on communication skills through music. Cristine Rhodes, founder and primary teacher at the school, says that the most profound success story for her has been her own son.
Just before her son, Jacob, turned 2, he stopped talking. Without the aid of spoken language to communicate, Cristine and her son communicated through music – using sounds, melodies, and rhythms to express emotion, needs, and desires.
Now, at the age of 11, through music, his love of animals, and home schooling, Cristine’s son is ‘fully verbal’ and able to communicate using many different modalities. Although there is no way to tell what might have happened for her son without music, Cristine is sure that his access to and freedom to express through music is a major factor in his current abilities to communicate.
All photos by Donna Green Israel.