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Speaking Musically - Goes without Saying!

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A music group called the Bliss i-Band has been formed in Toronto, Canada, to provide an ongoing music experience for AAC users, including 6 Bliss users and alumni, playing virtual instruments along with other 8 speaking adults with disabilities and their helpers. The outcomes, as observed in Year Three, will be described by the Founding Music Director, the current Music Director and the i-Band Co-Founder.

The two primary objectives were: (1) to provide the opportunity to learn and to play music using the GarageBand app on the i-Pad, to persons who had never previously been able to play a musical instrument. The goal was to enable them to enjoy this leisure activity as a member of an ensemble, whose members had a range of abilities. (2) to support social learning within an inclusive group. The goal was for those who could speak, those who used AAC, those with physical limitations and those who were physically able, to all participate, contribute and benefit.

In addition to positive outcomes musically and socially, there were other benefits: (1) increased confidence by i-Band members, (2) pride in their accomplishments by family and friends, (3) increased awareness and respect in the broader community for the abilities of AAC users, (4) carry-over from music activities to communication skills, such as listening to and being considerate of others, improved turn-taking, and greater confidence in sharing one’s ideas.
Planned outings to musical events and invited guests enriched the learning by group members.


Shirley McNaughton    
Blissymbolics Communication Institute-Canada

Aaron Lightstone    
Music Therapist Toronto

Audrey King    
retired psychologist


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