Eight-year-old Mikey Paul has Down syndrome and many features of autism. He doesn't speak. Every Wednesday he gets off the school bus at home in Plainview and signs to his mother that it is time to get in the car. Wednesday is his music therapy day at the Rebecca Center at Molloy College in Rockville Centre.
"He's got a lot of emotion that we never saw," said Michel Paul, his mother. "Who would have thought music therapy would open the door for him? It's been amazing."
She says he is now using sounds approaching words. And he's noticing other people, which she said he never did before. She has also learned many things about her son, that he loves the Ramones and Louis Prima. His music therapist, John Carpente, writes songs for Mikey and weaves the types of music he likes into the melodies. They produce sounds together.
A year into Mikey's weekly treatment, Michel Paul noticed the first signs of independent and imaginative play. "He took a can and turned it into a drum," she said. "It was the first time I saw him playing with a toy like a typical kid."