by Sunny Layne
CEDAR FALLS (KWWL) -- Autism is often isolating for both the people who have the disorder, and their loved ones.
But parents who are joining with music therapists from West Music stores to unlock the door to speaking, learning and life.
Learning the alphabet, it's a traditional first step for toddlers.
But for 3-year-old Memphis Hueneke, music is a magic key.
"When he was a young age, he didn't make any noise, any vocal noise, even a humming sound in his throat," mother Jessy Hueneke said.
At two-years-old, Memphis was diagnosed with autism.
"It's frustrating for Memphis not to be able to tell us his needs and wants. Sign language has been a lot of help," Jessy Hueneke said.
She says her two-year-old Hudson also has some autistic characteristics.
Her discovery of autism music classes at West Music stores throughout eastern Iowa has helped make breakthroughs.
These therapists say that when it seems nothing will unlock the hold of autism, music can.
"We found music is very influential for anyone with autism and very captivating for anyone with autism," music therapist Lucy Schipper said. "And using that tool to engage them and that way they can interact with their peers and in a very socially appropriate way."
Schipper says she teaches academics skills like the alphabet in a music context, and will eventually fade music out.
"They then will be able to interact with their peers comfortably, not needing music," she said.
"Music class is a blessing," Jessy Hueneke said. "I see all those worries on his face, he carries so much stress and worry, but when he's here, he let's back and smiles."
His parents say Memphis' vocabulary has expanded and he's making great progress, proving music really can be magic.
"You remembered! fist bump! good job," Schipper said to Memphis.
Area Education Agency 267 in Cedar Falls has been instrumental in aiding parents with children with autism, helping provide in-home care and support for children and parents.
West Music stores offer these Autism music classes at several locations in eastern Iowa.
Online Anchor: Sunny Layne
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