WOODBURY, Minn. (FOX 9) - This winter a program for children with special needs is getting a lot of credit for helping them develop new skills. Organizers have welcomed children as young as three years old, and as old as 16 years old, from in and around Woodbury.
"Classes like this are vital for kids like Cooper," parent Kate Swenson told FOX 9 on Monday. Her 12-year-old son Cooper has finally found a place to be himself. The 6th grader has autism and is non-verbal, so while Kate says his three siblings have kept busy with sports, playdates, and birthday parties; she felt her fourth child was a little left out, at least until now.
"This has been just so fun, we’re with his peers, he is engaging… he’s growing up next to his typically developing peers, just in his own way," Kate said. "Watching him blossom with his peers is amazing."
At the third of four music therapy sessions in January, Cooper and 14 other young children were able to shine in their own way. They had fun -- while working hard -- to improve skills relied on each day.
"Each week we seem to build on his skills," Kate said.
"Working on fine motor, gross motor skills, interaction, imitation," Ericha Rupp continued. Rupp’s company Notable Music Therapy has partnered with Woodbury Parks and Rec.
Now when the set of four January music therapy sessions ends, another set is planned for February.
"I encourage families, even if you’re scared, get out and try a class like this," Kate finished.