Observations placeholder

Alonzo

Identifier

021837

Type of Spiritual Experience

Background

A description of the experience

As quoted in The Singing Neanderthals – Dr Steven Mithen

The music therapist Dorita S Berger provides a striking account of Alonzo, an eight-year-old autistic non-verbal boy:

Music Therapy, Sensory Integration and the Autistic Child – Dorita S Berger

[Alonzo] ran around the music therapy classroom aimlessly while the piano played and I sang a song describing and reflecting his behaviour back to him.

Alonzo remained at the far end of the large classroom and did not approach the piano. Occasionally, he would stop and cast glances across the room toward the piano, but his physical behaviour remained chaotic, distant, out of control.

Abandoning the piano and song, I opted instead for the simplicity of pure rhythm played on the conga drum. No singing; no melody; nothing but rhythm. In an instant, Alonzo's running halted, his body and mind frozen in a state of attention. He looked across the room at me and the drum. As suddenly as he had stopped he began moving in an organised rhythmic stepping demeanour, toward the sound. His steps accented the pulse of the conga’s beat as he neared the drum.

The source of the experience

Other ill or disabled person

Concepts, symbols and science items

Concepts

Symbols

Science Items

Activities and commonsteps

Commonsteps

Music therapy

References