Natasha Thomas, Grand Forks, letter: ‘People First Language’ preferredIt was my pleasure to be part of a wonderful Herald story that well described my role as a music therapist and the services I provide. But I wish to clarify two things mentioned in the story.
By: Natasha Thomas,
GRAND FORKS — It was my pleasure to be part of a wonderful Herald story that well described my role as a music therapist and the services I provide (“Teaching with music,” Page B1, March 17).
But I wish to clarify two things mentioned in the story: First, the “sing-along” mentioned in the photo’s caption was only part of what I do at the LISTEN Center under the grant funds provided through the city of Grand Forks by the Northern Valley Arts Council.
While singing is most definitely a part of the sessions I lead, so are activities involving movement, sensory integration and social skills. Throughout our interaction, the use of music to address goals across a variety of areas within the aforementioned categories is applied, so rarely do we ever focus on just one skill or technique.
Second, I am a major advocate of “People First Language,” and the story’s labeling of my cousin as “autistic” was unfortunate. Referring to individuals such as my cousin as “persons with autism” is preferred to such labels.
Music therapists work alongside educators, families and other professionals for whom this distinction is important as well.
Again, my thanks for a wonderful story on the valuable tool that is music therapy as it grows and spreads across North Dakota.
Thomas is a 2008 music therapy graduate of UND.