Local woman using music therapy to help people discover potentia - KPTV - FOX 12

Local woman using music therapy to help people discover potential beyond their diagnosis

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A Portland woman is using the power of music to help people discover their potential beyond a life changing medical diagnosis.

"It's amazing, I never thought this could happen. I mean there was a day and time where I didn't think he would talk it was that serious," said Melissa Weiss.

Weiss' son Jordan, 9, is autistic.

"He's very sensory disabled, he's sensitive to noise. So, in school he has a hard time in the cafeteria," said Weiss. "He didn't speak until he was 4 and it was very minimal, like parrot talking, he'd repeat after me, his dad or his sister."

Weiss tells FOX 12 they tried every conventional therapy out there to improve her son's speech and social skills. None of it worked.

Nothing, that is, until Jordan started working with Music Therapist Angie Kopshy at Portland Music Therapy.

"She's opened a whole new world for my baby," said Weiss.

Kopshy uses music to captivate Jordan's attention, she even sings instructions instead of speaking them.

"Music is intrinsically motivating, almost everyone loves music," said Music Therapist Angie Kopshy. "Jordan used to come in and cry and cover his ears, but as soon as we could address his anxiety, we were able to work on bigger goals."

Speech, articulation and sensory integration goals he's been given by others before, but never to the tune of music.

"You and I speaking, we're activating a part of the brain, but with music, because of the melody and harmonic structure and rhythms, we're lighting up the brain," said Kopshy.

Kopshy works with many kids like Jordan, but also uses music to help people with Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and traumatic brain injuries.

"A lot of times we can create stronger neuro pathways, the more we do, the more we reinforce that. We say neurons that fire together, wire together," Kopshy added.

Therapy she believes to be working with those patients too.

"Music may bring back associations so that you remember better. So, if I go in and see a patient with dementia and she's catatonic and we do a song like 'You are My Sunshine,' or a song from her wedding, all of a sudden she'll sit up and start singing," said Kopshy.

All the proof Weiss needs of music's magical powers she now sees in her outgoing son. Who is now not only talking, dancing and singing, but is also speaking in Spanish, too.

"Now you can't get him to stop singing, he sings in the car, the house, it's part of his everyday life," said Weiss.

Kopshy also makes videos and CD's so that the families can sing together outside of the clinic. For more information on Portland Music Therapy visit: https://portlandmusictherapy.com/

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