Using music to help an autistic child—and others with autism

Posted on: June 20, 2019

New York Philharmonic Music Director Jaap van Zweden and his wife, Aaltje, “are parents to four—now adult—children and their third child, Benjamin, 29, is autistic,” reports Magalie Laguerre-Wilkinson on Sunday (6/16) at CBS 60 Minutes. “When Benjamin was little, he was uncommunicative…. But then a breakthrough—with music. ‘We would always sing for him children’s songs,’ Jaap says, ‘and by accident we forgot one word and he got all excited. And we thought “oh, maybe he’s understanding actually what we are saying.” ’The van Zwedens started leaving more words out their songs, telling Benjamin they’d only finish singing if he tried saying those missing words himself. Now, Benjamin not only speaks Dutch, he’s also taught himself to speak some English…. In 1997 … the van Zwedens … started The Papageno Foundation, offering arts and music therapy projects for children and young adults with autism. As their son Benjamin was getting older, the next step for the foundation was to create a permanent living space…. The Papageno House opened [in the Netherlands] in 2016. It has 12 boarders at a time—Benjamin being its first tenant…. For the van Zwedens, the Papageno House is one of their proudest achievements.”

Posted June 20, 2019