ERIC Number: EJ837212
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Mar
Reference Count: 0
Soaking in the Music
Lenhoff, Howard M.
Exceptional Parent, v39 n3 p40-41, 44-45 Mar 2009
Scientists admit that they do not understand yet how infants acquire their abilities and love of music. What they do know, however, is that much of the brain development in the first six years of a child's life is devoted to the learning and retaining of music and language. It appears that children have an open window, which allows them to effortlessly soak in music and language. That window appears programmed to close at age six, and the brain then shifts to developing new mental tasks, new windows, such as for logical and mathematical thinking. Individuals having Williams syndrome, a rare genetic condition which occurs in 1 in 7,500 births, exhibit an array of physical and behavioral impairments. Although their mean IQ is 55, they have unusual abilities in language and music. In this article, the author describes his daughter Gloria, who was diagnosed with Williams syndrome, and her accomplishments. Gloria is a music savant, that is, a person with a serious intellectual disability who exhibits spectacular abilities in music. In that capacity, she serves as a peer model for others with intellectual disabilities and has stimulated hundreds of exceptional parents to provide an advanced music education for their children. The author also provides tips on what parents who have children with Williams syndrome can do to nurture their children's musical abilities.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A