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Stories From Main Street: Rockland County Artist Uses Music To Reach Children With Autism

Stories from Main Street - Photo: Evan Bindelglass / WCBS 880

Stories from Main Street – Photo: Evan Bindelglass / WCBS 880

PIERMONT, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – When it comes to teaching children with autism, perhaps music can make a connection where words alone fail.

Tom Chapin, Grammy award-winning Rockland County singer/songwriter, has spent most of his career crafting meaningful songs for children. This is the first time he’s produced an album to accompany a book, WCBS 880’s Sean Adams reported.

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“It’s called ‘The Incredible Flexible You,’ and it’s based on the theories of Michelle Garcia Winner, which she created to help high functioning people on the autism spectrum,” Chapin said.

The Incredible Flexible You (credit: Sean Adams/WCBS 880)

The Incredible Flexible You (credit: Sean Adams/WCBS 880)

The Grammy award winner said the lessons are not just for autistic children and that we can all learn from the theory of ‘Social Thinking.’

“Social Thinking is when we interact with people,” he said. “I’m sitting here talking to you, you’re thinking, I’m thinking. What I say, you’re hearing, you react, I react. Well, folks on the spectrum sometimes have trouble learning how to do that.”

Each chapter of the book comes with a song.

“The music just carries you through, but the lesson is there so even if you don’t understand it the first times, as you know how it is with songs, you may hear it and you are sort of rockin’ along, and then all of a sudden, ‘Oh,’ it gets in there in a way- so that’s the joy of it,” Chapin said.

Chapin said the material is for parents, teachers, therapists and for young kids who are in preschool to early elementary school years.

“Our kids, and some of us even now, but especially our kids, have grown up playing face-to-screen, as opposed to face-to-face,” he said. “This is almost every kid at some time in their life. I’m hoping that it [the album] changes some worlds.”

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