It’s hard to believe The Musical Autist will be 5 years old in April. It’s also hard to believe this will be my 5th year writing #mtadvocacy posts! You can read my past journeys in music therapy advocacy HERE.
It’s pretty amazing for me to think about how much I’ve grown personally and professionally in the past 5 years. Starting out as a second-career music therapy college student blogger/former music educator and wanna be performing artist, to executive director of a nonprofit and owner of a successful and growing private practice, my journey in the music therapy field just keeps evolving. But the common thread throughout my new career in music therapy (and far prior) has always been my interest in autism. Well to be more specific, my interest in autistic rights activism through community music therapy initiatives.
But more on that later. Right now, let’s get to the exciting news.
The latest stage of professional growth for me has been starting a college internship program. Last year I was approached by two, very brilliant and non-typical college students, each with great passion and a sure knowledge that my practice would be the perfect fit for them to complete their 1000 hours of internship. I was sold! So 2016 I’ve jumped in headfirst by starting TWO interns, Jan-Aug 2016 (university affiliates through Slippery Rock and Immaculata Universities). Both Rachel and Janice will be working with me and my employees, seeing clients at our clinic and out in the community, as well as other projects connected with my private practice (Annapolis Music Therapy Services) and nonprofit (The Musical Autist).
One of these projects will be monthly blog posts! (whew, what a relief, as you can see by all the tumbleweed around here, I totally neglected blogging much on either site in 2015).
Before turning it over to Rachel in the next post, first let’s take a look at the topic for #mtadvocacy this year, right here at the Music Therapy State Recognition site. It has to do with what type of advocate you are, or at least most closely identify with. A Connector, Reflector, or Director?
Whether you’re an advocate for music therapy or disability rights (or both, like me) these descriptions are pretty helpful in assessing your strengths. I definitely see elements of myself in all three.
CONNECTORS – Building Bridges
“Connectors” are people who are gifted at building bridges by bringing others together and recognizing complimentary skill sets in those that they know. Connectors enjoy creating opportunities for people from diverse background and experiences to meet and interact. The role of the Connector in advocacy is to maximize the human resources available to them and to increase the network for their cause by helping interested parties get to know one another and discuss common interests. It is often the Connectors who are able to establish relationships with legislators or other decision makers that develops them into incredible advocates.
REFLECTORS – Holding Up the Mirror
“Reflectors” are gifted at taking in information, experiences, and perceptions and—as the name implies—reflecting back the most salient points to those around them. Reflectors often have a knack for diffusing situations by indicating an understanding and empathy for someone else’s position. Reflectors also make great advocates because of their fierce loyalty to their cause. Their ability to see issues from multiple perspectives and then to communicate that to multiple audiences brings all sides of an issue to the foreground for discussion. Reflectors unite various individuals and guide the group to a vision that recognizes the complexity of all issues.
DIRECTORS – Consulting the Compass
“Directors” are the ones who are able to see the big picture of possibilities that exist beyond the current situation. They are able to assimilate the work of the “Reflectors” and the “Connectors” and navigate a course of next steps based on that information. Directors also gather additional relevant information as they move forward and constantly attend to what course corrections are necessary to get to their end goal. Those who are most successful in this role demonstrate flexibility in their thinking and actions, which allows them to accommodate to various situations that are presented and that often change without prior notice. Directors take a broad view of an issue, projecting out beyond it’s current status or challenge and using an ideal vision or end goal to guide the day-to-day steps necessary to get there.