Once Then Stop

Music Therapy perseveration song for special needs individuals.
Goal: Client will make a verbal request, listen to the response, and discontinue making the same request.
Domains: Behavior, Social, Language

Perseverate (verb) to repeat something insistently or redundantly

Many people perseverate on topics that interest them: sports, cars, TV shows, food, politics, music, etc. This is natural and can lead to deep conversations between friends or small talk with strangers at social gatherings. Some individuals, however, tend to repeat the exact same phrase (verbatim) usually to make a request without listening to the response. Neurotypical children tend to do this around their birthdays and Christmas. Some children with autism will to do this year-round. This behavior can drive parents and teachers a little bit crazy.

This song was written with a particular client in mind. His requests were usually directed towards his parents (not me) and consisted of places he wanted to go, activities he wanted to do, and objects he wanted Mom & Dad to buy for him. His requests would change week-to-week, but within each week they were repeated verbatim and were very disruptive to our sessions. This song was created to make sessions run more smoothly and to maintain Mom & Dad’s sanity.

Lyric: If you want to get something.
Example: He wanted a VCR and VHS tapes. (He later got this for his birthday)

Lyric: If you want to go somewhere.
Example: He loves going to McDonald’s. (He gets to go at least once per week)

Lyric: If you want to do something.
Example: He likes to ride elevators. (Mom & Dad let him on the weekends)

A teacher version (that I sing to him) was created and, because he his a very good reader, a student version was created that he could sing:

If I want to get something

If I want to go somewhere

If I want to do something

He loves recording his voice with a microphone, so a personalized version with him singing was created in GarageBand. There is an instrumental version and student lyrics included in the download for the student you are working with to do the same.

In sessions I will sing the teacher version and then he will sing the student version. If there is any further perseverating (which there has been less and less of) I will play Once Then Stop (phrase), which is just the final line of the song, as an auditory reminder.

Just say it once then stop

Download includes:

  • 4 songs [mp3 audio files]
    • Once Then Stop (teacher)
    • Once Then Stop (student)
    • Once Then Stop (instrumental)
    • Once Then Stop (phrase)
  • 2 lyrics [PDF]
    • Once Then Stop (teacher)
    • Once Then Stop (student)
  • 2 lyrics & chords [PDF]
    • Once Then Stop (teacher)
    • Once Then Stop (student)


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