Speaking Through Music

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(NBC NEWS) Lydia Jones plays her guitar for little brother Bo, who has Down syndrome.

At 2-years-old, he was still nonverbal, but when Lydia started singing “You Are My Sunshine” to him over and over again, something started to happen.

Bo started talking, repeating some of the song’s lyrics.

Experts say music “fires up” the brain.

“Music can oftentimes be one of the most powerful ways to connect with kids who have disabilities,” says Amanda Maestro-Scherer, a music therapist at Utah’s Primary Children’s Hospital.

“It can be used to help a child fall asleep, or help them through a pain crisis. It can also help a child work on speech function. It can help with motor function,” Maestro-Scherer adds.

She said music improves cognitive, motor, and speech skills. It’s also an emotional outlet for kids. Bo’s mother says it calms him and helps him focus.

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