Autism Light: Susan Levine
Susan LevineSusan Levine is from Newburyport, Massachusetts. Besides being the mother of two neurotypical young boys, she is a music therapist and a musician. Susan Levine is an Autism Light because of how she helps children with autism through music therapy and continues to bless autism through her Musicians for a Cause song called So It Goes.
Musician: Susan Levine’s biography on YouTube says, “Susan Levine has been many things — a graduate of Harvard, a waitress, an actress, a mother, and a music therapist — but she has always been a musician (Source).”
Eric Gerber, Singer-Songwriter from Kerrville, Texas said, “Susan writes compelling songs. She writes with a sense of honesty, humor and playfulness that is just infectious, and sings in a voice that will have you begging for more (Source).”
Susan Levine has published two albums: Scatter (2001) and Atlas (2007). Susan Levine’s autism song So It Goes was a single written at the request of Dave Bastien the head of the Musicians for a Cause project of Songs4Autism.org. The lyrics are available at www.m4ac.org/autism/SoItGoes.pdf. Here is a video of Susan Levine’s autism awareness song called So It Goes.
Susan Levine spent time listening to a group of parents from the Autism Society of New Hampshire in order to obtain ideas for writing this song. Susan drew upon the perspective of parents and experiences from her work with children with autism in her music therapy to write this song. Susan Levine described her song this way to Autism Light.
I think we all have kids and have these dreams and goals and plans for everything they might be and what their life will be like. We want our kids to succeed, be free of pain, be happy. We dream of this idyllic world for us and them. The reality is, however, that things get hard, “nothing’s perfect”, and sometimes it’s just putting one foot in front of the other. For parents of kids on the spectrum, there are of course the additional challenges. Trying to see things through your child’s eyes; trying to gauge what they are thinking, feeling, wanting; wanting desperately to know and to understand. What I loved about parents I met at the autism sessions was how much they appreciated their children, and the way they saw their children’s way of thinking/seeing things as amazing and interesting and even funny (Susan Levine).Music Therapist: Susan Levine is also a music therapist and a developmental specialist. She works at Pentucket Area Early Intervention in West Newbury, Massachusetts. Susan Levine says her organization offers “home-based early intervention services for children birth to 3 and their families in 9 different towns on the North Shore of Massachusetts.” Susan Levine works with children who have a variety of special needs but the majority of her clients have a history with the autism spectrum.
Susan Levine explained music therapy in an email to Autism Light on 12/13/2011 in this way.
Music therapy is extremely effective with many people on the autism spectrum. It seems to be a form of communication and expression that many people on the spectrum intuitively understand….music therapy is a whole-brain/whole sensory/whole person approach to therapy. Neurologically, the different elements of music (rhythm, tempo, pitch, melody) are processed in different locations in the brain. During music play, neurons are constantly activating and building connnections (Susan Levine).Susan Levine’s music therapy style includes involving the parents in sessions with their children. For more information on music therapy, Susan Levine recommends the following website links.
- American Music Therapy Association
- Massachusetts Music Therapy Alliance
- New England Region of American Music Therapy Association
To learn more about Susan Levine visit her website at www.susanjlevine.com. Special thanks to Susan Levine for sharing her wonderful voice through a song that will make a difference for autism awareness. Susan’s song is bringing awareness to autism every time it is played.
Autism Light honors diverse heroes to the world of autism.
Photo: The photo in this post was used with the permission of Susan Levine.